This is the twenty-seventh in a series of examinations of legends about television and the people involved in TV and whether they are true or false.
Click here to view an archive of the previous TV urban legends.
TV LEGEND: Seaquest correctly predicted the Florida Marlins’ 2003 World Series victory.
Reader Paul asked:
I was hoping you could help me with this one. A friend of mine told me that the TV Show Seaquest DSV correctly predicted the World Series, 10 years before it happened. In the first episode he said one of the actors was wearing a Marlins Jersey, and on the back it said World Series Champion, 2003. So not sure if this is true, or if the guy was just wearing a Marlins Jersey. Was hoping you knew the answer.
Sure thing, Paul!
Seaquest DSV was about submarine, appropriately named seaQuest DSV 4600, in the year 2018, where the world has wasted almost all of its resources on land, and thereby is forced to colonize under the sea, with Seaquest being there to protect the colonists (and also do some exploring, of course).
Jonathan Brandis played Lucas Wolenczak, a teenaged genius who invented a device that allowed humans to communicate with dolphins.
In any event, Lucas was, indeed, a fan of the National League baseball team, the Florida Marlins, which was likely:
A. A cute reference to how the show was in the future and the Marlins (who were an expansion team that began playing baseball in 1993, the same year Seaquest debuted) were now a veteran team
B. Logical, as the show was based near Florida
C. Perhaps a fish joke, seeing as how the show was about underwater exploration, and the character’s favorite team is named after fish.
Here Lucas is wearing his jersey…
So Paul’s friend is correct, Lucas DID wear a Marlins jersey. But is it like Paul said – it was just a Marlins jersey and nothing more?
Well, no, interestingly enough, the jersey DID mention that the Marlins were World Series Champions. And it even added a date!!
But WHAT date?
So no, they did not correctly predict that the Marlins would win the 2003 World Series, but there’s still a whole season to go to see if the Marlins can make their prediction come true (and the Marlins aren’t so bad that it would be impossible – especially if they keep Josh Johnson and Scott Olsen comes back healthy)!!
Thanks to Paul for the question!
TV LEGEND: Studebaker came up with an interesting way to sponsor Mister Ed.
Studebaker was one of the very earliest car manufacturers in the world, turning their wagon manufacturing company into a car company in the very early 20th Century.
Well, by the 1950s, things were looking pretty bleak for Studebaker.
They had been eclipsed by a number of more modern car companies, particularly when it came to the production of newer vehicles.
Studebaker basically had one last shot at sticking around – they (effectively) introduced the compact car in 1960 with the Studebaker Lark.
To promote the Lark, Studebaker became the sponsor for a new syndicated television program that would soon become quite popular – Mister Ed, the show about a man and his talking horse!
Here Alan Young (playing the lead character of Wilbur Post) and Mister Ed shill for Studebaker during an early episode of Mister Ed…
Wilbur and his wife, by the way, drove a Lark on the show in the first season.
This is all fairly typical stuff, but there’s a significant twist.
You see, like I mentioned, Studebaker was not doing so well, financially. So as it turned out, they really could not AFFORD to sponsor a television show, at least not with company money.
So Studebaker came up with a fairly ingenious plan – they would pay for HALF of the sponsorship fee for the program. The OTHER half would be paid for by Studebaker dealers themselves! So, basically, every time you purchased a Studebaker, you were directly funding the production of Mister Ed, as roughly $50 of every sale went to the parent company to pay for Mister Ed!
This is why in the introduction to the show in the first season, the sponsors were…
Lark sales did very well in 1960 and 1961, giving the company a chance. However, quickly, all the other car companies put out their own versions of the compact car, only, well, better.
Mister Ed was such a big hit in syndication that CBS decided to pick it up. Studebaker had difficulty staying on now that it was on a national network, but they hung on until 1963.
In 1965, Studebaker ceased their auto manufacturing (with their last cars produced in the Spring of 1966).
Ford took over the auto needs of Mister Ed.
While it did not end up working out, it was still an impressive plan, I think!
TV LEGEND: Larry David based the “George quitting his job and then coming back to work on Monday pretending not to have quit” on a real life experience he had while working at Saturday Night Live.
When he was working on Sienfeld, Larry David would often contribute plot ideas based on real incidents in his life.
One of the more bizarre incidents was the basis for the second season episode, “The Revenge,” where George (played by Jason Alexander) quits his job on Friday, only to realize that he has no other job prospects, so he decides to come back to work on Monday and pretend like nothing happened.
Larry David amazingly enough actually did that same trick…when he was working at Saturday Night Live!
David (seen here in a small role from Woody Allen’s 1989 film, New York Stories) was a writer for the series during their star-studded 1984-85 season (the last season before Lorne Michaels returned to the show) that featured Billy Crystal, Martin Short and Eddie Murphy (and yes, in a smaller role, Julia Louis-Dreyfus).
David was pretty miserable on the show, as while the other writers all regarded him as quite talented, it seemed like none of his material could ever get on to the show. I believe he had something like one skit make it on to the show all season.
So halfway through the season, after one of his skits got cut during dress rehearsals, David just quit the show. By the time he made his way back to his apartment, he was already regretting his decision. After talking it over with his neighbor, Kenny Kramer (yes, that Kramer), they decided that he should return to work on Monday as if nothing had happened or it was just a joke on his part.
That’s just what he did, and he remained on the show for the rest of the season (he was let go after that season, but so were many other writers, as Michaels was back).
Okay, that’s it for this week!
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is email@example.com