This is the thirty-seventh in a series of examinations of legends about television and the people involved in TV and whether they are true or false. This week, TWO legends about R-Rated goings-on on children’s television shows, specifically was there a special R-Rated Dextor’s Laboratory and did a stripper appear on Soupy Sales’ show? Also, did a producer of Buck Rogers, angry that the show was canceled, let an intern direct the finale, leading to that intern having a long career directing TV shows?
Click here to view an archive of the previous TV urban legends.
TV LEGEND: There is a special R-rated version of Dexter’s Labratory called “Dexter’s Rude Removal.”
Reader Stephen C wrote in to ask:
I was wondering if u could do a tv legend on this potential rumor on the internet. The rumor is that there is a never released Dexter’s laboratory episode called Dexter’ Rude Removal that was like a rated R episode. It seems true but it could be like the seinfeld has superman in every episode rumor that is widely believed to be true but isn’t. Thanks.
Dexter’s Laboratory, in case you don’t know, was an animated television series lasting four seasons of 78 episodes. It stars a boy genius (Dexter) who often gets into trouble when his inventions go haywire. He has a dim-witted older sister named Dee-Dee.
The show was created by Genndy Tartakovsky.
The show began in 1995 and ended in 2003 (the seasons were spread out – a pilot in 1995, then two seasons from 1996-1999 and two seasons from 2001-2003).
During the initial run of the series, there were rumors about a mysterious episode called “Dexter’s Rude Removal” that was only shown at conventions and/or festivals.
Interestingly enough, when asked about it by the Deseret News’ Scott D. Pierce, Genndy Tartakovsky actually confirmed the existence of the episode. “Dexter’s trying to get the rudeness out of Dee Dee and so he creates the rude removal system. But they kind of get stuck in it together, and they create clones of themselves, which are rude. And we had them swear, but we had beeps over the swearing. So I think that’s one that you can only catch at some festivals and stuff. But not on the air.”
Pierce also quotes Linda Semansky, vice president of original programs for the Cartoon Network. “I still think it’s very funny. It probably would air better late at night.”
There are also plenty of testimonies from people who have seen the show (without Tartakovsky’s confirmation, I guess I would trust them, as there’s been a bunch, but I’d still like to have had his confirmation to be sure). Here’s one from TV.com’s Dexter’s Laboratory page:
The panel for Dexter was with a special guest being Genndy who delighted us with some oncoming specials and such. He then hinted that he also wanted to show us something ‘truly special’ at the end.
Nearing the end, a girl from CN stood up and announced that everyone under 18 needed to stand up and would be given something special but had to leave. The kids filed out as the adults kind of looked at each other with a big ? over our heads. Genndy kept grinning.
After all the kids were shooed, Genndy looked at the remaining 20-30 of us and said “We made something special as an inhouse project to show only at CN parties and the like…I loved it soo much you guys are gonna get a treat…Dexter’s Rude Removal”
The girl then stood in front of us and warned us with bodily harm if she caught any of us taping anything or even remembering hard. She was pretty much imagining it getting out there and torpedoeing CN with lawsuits. “I want you people to know this will NEVER be made public…so count yourself extremely lucky”. Finally Genndy shooed her away.
Title screen: Dexter’s Rude Removal. Dexter is mooning us and Dee Dee is flipping us the bird. Oh boy!
Plot: Dexter has decided that rudeness is preventing him from becoming the perfect child and has constructed a ‘Rude Extractor’ to separate his bad mojo. Dee Dee of course shows up at the wrong possible time and wreaks havoc. Dexter manages to tackle her, directly into the Rude Beam…
Dee Dee and Dexter separate from each other, spawning a evil twin of themselves and knocking out their good halves. Both look at their good selves and immediately begin to curse each other, their surroundings and trash the place. ***k this ***k that…you are a ***king idiot…who the ***k you calling a ***king idiot, you ***king idiot?
Mom calls “Dexter…Dee Dee….LUNCH!
“AW ***t…I AM ***kING STARVED!” They tear out of the lab and blunder their way through the house, wrecking stuff and cursing up a blue streak.
Just within earshot of mom, they stop cursing as they drop into their seat, and start shoveling food noisily with belches and farts. Mom pauses and turns asking how their food is. Dexter belches and exclaims
“Aw ***king hell mom, this ***t is ***kin great!”
to which Dee Dee counters
“Shut the ***k up you ***thead…you can’t ***king curse in front of ***king Mom!”
and they both begin to literally curse the ***t out of each other. This exchange manages to make Mom faint and they really go at it (Seriously, Dee Dee called Dexter a Skull***king Douchebag one time).
Eventually, Dexter and DeeDee wake up and manage to trap the cursing twins back in the lab and eradicate them (To the scream of ***k OFF, YOU ***kIN NERD from the evil sides). They leave the lab as Dexter declares that ‘Lucky we got them in time…ah well no harm done’.
Rounding the corner, they find Mom standing there menancingly with a big bar of soap as she screams “DEXTER AND DEE DEE…GET OVER HERE”. The black circle closes over Dexter as he looks at the audience and goes “Oh ***k!”
Needless to say, all of us were in complete hysterics. Both my friend and I were tearing up from laughing so hard. Just hearing Dee Dee’s high pitched voice sailor talking makes it proabably the most wanted cartoon to see.
Wow, pretty crazy!
Thanks to Stephen C for the suggestion and thanks to Scott D. Pierce & Genndy Tartakovsky for the information!
EDITED TO ADD on January 23, 2013:
This sure appears to be the official episode:
So I guess it is now definitely true!
TV LEGEND: A stripper appeared live on the Soupy Sales Show.
David Arroyo wrote in to tell me about this one, but the one he sent me was not even the “real” one, which is even crazier than what he sent me!
You see, Soupy Sales was a popular kids entertainer who had a television show in Detroit.
The show was not filmed in front of a studio audiences, so there was plenty of room for rather ribald practical jokes. The craziest one would have to involve one time in the 1950s when his crew pulled one of the most amazing pranks you’ll ever think of. I’ll let Ed Golick of the nifty Detroit Kid Shows website explain it for you:
There never was a written script for the show; Soupy and Clyde [puppeteer Clyde Adler, Soupy's straight man/sidekick] would just work out what they were going to do, giving the director a bare-bones outline for camera angles and sound cues. The bit was for the ET man to play a recording of a woman screaming. Soupy would then run to the door, open it, and look down to see a pair of women’s shoes being pulled by fishing line, running from a pair of men’s shoes. Blackout, cut to commercial.
The studio that day was filled with curious onlookers who were in on the joke. Soupy knew that something was up, but he wasn’t quite sure what. The show started precisely at noon, and ran smoothly. At about 12:27 Soupy, as rehearsed, heard a woman’s scream. He ran to the door, opened it, and instead of a pair of women’s shoes saw a nude woman wearing nothing but a smile. Soupy stole a quick glance at the master monitor, hoping that the curvaceous cutie’s image wasn’t being broadcast live over the airwaves. Sure enough, to his horror the monitor showed exactly what Soupy had feared- a smiling nude woman. The engineers were clever enough to patch a different camera angle into the monitor, making Soupy think that thousands of Detroit kiddies were at home eating their lunches in front of the TV while getting a lesson in female anatomy. In reality, what the kids saw was a speechless Soupy standing next to an open door, nothing more. Soupy saw what he thought was his career passing before his eyes.
Isn’t that amazingly messed up?
The show would later move to film in Los Angeles. These shows were taped (so the offending material could easily be edited out) The crew pulled the gag on Soupy again. We have footage of that prank (that’s what David sent me).
Now Soupy hears a woman screaming (a standard bit on the show, causing him to go open the door to see what’s up)…
He opens the door…
And there’s the stripper…
Soupy’s reaction is hilarious…
He plays it off very well, but again, he knows that it was not going out live, so he didn’t have to worry about anyone actually SEEING the stripper, like he had to worry about back in Detroit. You can go to the Detroit Kid Show website here if you want to see an uncensored clip of the bit.
Thanks to David Arroyo for the suggestion and thanks to Ed Golick for the information!
TV LEGEND: Angry about the cancellation of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, the producer of the show let an intern direct the last episode – and the intern went on to become a prolific TV director!
A common piece of trivia (I’ve seen it a bunch of places, but I presume it originated at the Internet Movie Database) about the late 1970s/early 1980s TV series, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
is the following:
The studio decided to cancel the series before the last episode was shot. The producer was evidently incensed that this happened, without his prior knowledge, and began to clear out his office immediately upon hearing the news. To exact a measure of revenge, however, he assigned an intern, Guy Magar, to direct the final episode. Magar had just happened to pop into the director’s office to see if he needed anything just after the producer got the call about the cancellation. The studio had no idea that Magar had never before directed a TV show (or anything beyond a student film). Magar went on to direct episodes of “Sliders” (1995), “La Femme Nikita” (1997) and other shows.
This just does not appear to be true.
You see, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century WAS Magar’s first TV directing work, but his first episode was in the first season of the show. The first of TWO seasons the show had! Heck, Magar’s episode was not even the finale of season one!
I thought perhaps they just got Magar’s name wrong, and the story is otherwise true, but nope, the directors of three of the last four episodes of the series were veteran TV directors. In fact, the finale was directed by legendary science fiction director Jack Arnold (It Came From Outer Space and The Creature From the Black Lagoon are just two of his many credits). The only non-veteran was David G. Phinney, who had directed two episodes in season one.
So I really don’t know where this story comes from.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org