Was Michelle Pfeiffer Really the Inspiration for Don Henley’s “The Last Worthless Evening”?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about music and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MUSIC URBAN LEGEND: Don Henley wrote “The Last Worthless Evening” about Michelle Pfeiffer.

In 1989, Don Henley had himself one heck of a career boost with his third solo album, End of the Innocence, which contained three Top 40 singles.

endofinnocence

The title track, “End of the Innocence,” plus “The Heart of the Matter” and “The Last Worthless Evening” (it also had a fourth single nearly make the top 40, “New York Minute”)…

The song is about Henley telling a woman that she should be with him and if she does, she will no longer spend any more “worthless evenings”. Here is the first verse:

I know you broke up with him
And your heart’s still on the shelf
It’s been over two years for me
And I’m still not quite myself

You can’t be with someone new
And you can’t go back to him
You’re beginning to realize
That it’s sink or swim

I see you around sometimes
And my heart just melts
You’re lookin’ like if you had your wish
You’d be somewhere else

And it just breaks my heart
To see you here this way
Someday I’ll get the nerve
To walk up to you and say

This is the last worthless evening
That you’ll have to spend
Just gimme a chance
To show you how to love again

The longtime rumor is that the song is about famed movie star Michelle Pfeiffer. Is that true?
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September 9th, 2016 | Posted in Music Urban Legends Revealed | No Comments

Did Mister Ed Receive Electric Shocks to Make the Horse Look Like He Was Talking?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about TV and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the TV urban legends featured so far.

TV URBAN LEGEND: Mister Ed was given small electric shocks to make him move his mouth to make it look like he was talking.

There’s little doubt that special effects have come a long way in the world of television. In just fifty years, we’ve gone from Star Trek using salt shakers for Dr. McCoy’s medical equipment to a TV show using computer-generated imagery to add an actor into a TV show without people even noticing! The early days of television special effects played a major role in one of TV’s most beloved early sitcoms, Mister Ed. Mister Ed was a television sitcom about a man, Wilbur (played by Alan Young, who we sadly just lost this week) and his horse, Ed. The twist was that Ed could TALK, a skill he kept hidden from everyone else but Wilbur.

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The show ran for six seasons from 1961-1966, first as a syndicated show for a season and then for five seasons on CBS (one of the very rare shows to go from syndication to a network. I did a legend once about how the move from syndication to network made things awkward for the show’s sponsor, leading to some creative financial thinking).

Uncredited old cowboy actor Allan “Rocky” Lane provided Ed’s voice (when the show became a hit, Lane objected to the “uncredited” part, but he never did get credit while the show was originally airing). But for decades, people have wondered how exactly, did the show get the horse (Bamboo Harvester) to moves its lips when Ed talked? The mystery has led to some interesting rumors over the years, including that the show would give the horse mild electric shocks to make him move his lips!

Is that true?
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September 6th, 2016 | Posted in TV Urban Legends Revealed | No Comments

Comic Book Legends Revealed #591

Welcome to the five hundred and ninety-first in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. This week, learn about the amazing GOLDEN AGE superhero who used webshooters! Discover how one of the most famous Peter Parker/Mary Jane scenes almost never happened! And learn whether Superboy Prime was always introduced as a way to say goodbye to Superboy before John Byrne’s Man of Steel reboot erased him from history!

Click here to read this week’s legends.

If you really don’t want to post comments on Facebook, you can comment on the article here, if you’d like.

Movie Legends Addendum: The REAL Origin of the Ghostface Mask From Scream?

A while back, I wrote a Movie Legends Revealed about the amazing story of how the makers of the movie Scream discovered the Ghostface mask they used in the film.

scream

Among the people who read that initial article was a man named Loren Gitthens, who had a fascinating story to tell about the Ghostface mask that I figured it would be worth running as an addendum to that original piece.

Read on to learn his story!
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August 31st, 2016 | Posted in Movie Urban Legends Revealed | No Comments

How Did Jon Polito Getting Angry Get His Character Killed on Homicide: Life on the Street?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about TV and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the TV urban legends featured so far.

TV URBAN LEGEND: Jon Polito’s public complaints about the direction of Homicide: Life on the Street got his character killed off in an ignominious manner.

Homicide: Life on the Street debuted in 1993. Based on David Simon’s non-fiction book of roughly the same name (Simon’s book was called Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets, as he followed the Baltimore Homicide Department around for a year), the series was a critical smash hit. It is still remarkable the high level of quality that the show (particularly writers Tom Fontana and James Yoshimura and producer Barry Levinson in those early days) were able to achieve with Homicide on network television in the mid-1990s. Homicide would not look out of place on HBO in 2016, that’s how ahead of its time was (okay, the 1990s fashion would probably need to be updated a bit).

homicide

One area where the show was very faithful initially was in the cops who worked in Homicide. In real life, the mix tended to be older male white detectives and younger male black detectives. That’s what they did on the show, with Ned Beatty and Jon Polito playing two of the older cops on the show, Stan “Big Man” Bolander (based on one of the major characters in the Simon book) and Steve Crosetti, respectively…

bolandercrosetti

The problem, however, was that NBC was not exactly a fan of this approach…
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August 30th, 2016 | Posted in TV Urban Legends Revealed | No Comments

Did George Lucas Initially Plan on Killing Darth Vader off in the First Star Wars Sequel?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the Movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: George Lucas initially planned on killing Darth Vader off in the first sequel to Star Wars.

A while back, I talked about how in 1976 George Lucas had Alan Dean Foster write a screenplay for possible sequel to the first Star Wars film. This was when Lucas wasn’t sure what kind of box office numbers the film would do. There was a chance that the film could bomb, but there was also a chance that the film might do just “okay” business. Good enough to merit a sequel, but not good enough to merit a big budget sequel. So Foster worked out a screenplay for a low-budget sequel to the film. Obviously, the film became a big hit, so Foster’s screenplay was not necessary, and it instead became his Star Wars novel, Splinter of the Mind’s Eye.

Splinter-of-the-Minds-Eye

One of the fascinating things that we’ve seen come up in a number of Star Wars legends over the years (like whether Darth Vader was always going to be Luke’s father or whether Luke and Leia were always going to be siblings) is that George Lucas was a lot looser with the Star Wars canon at the time. That was quite logical, of course, as he did not yet know that he had created a blockbuster film franchise. He just knew that he had made a film that he was hoping would be a hit but was fully prepared for it to not be a hit (he had even made a bet with Steven Spielberg that the film would not be as successful as Spielberg’s next film!). One of the great pieces of historical Star Wars information are the story conferences that Lucas, Foster and Lucasfilm Vice President Charles Lippincott had back in 1976. The great Star Wars historian J W Rinzler transcribed the conference and they revealed a great many things – including Lucas’ desire to move on from Darth Vader as soon as he could!

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Read on to see what Lucas’ problem was with Vader and why he wanted to kill him off!
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August 30th, 2016 | Posted in Movie Urban Legends Revealed | 2 Comments

Comic Book Legends Revealed #590

Welcome to the five hundred and ninetieth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. This week, learn the hilarious origins of Deadpool’s evil emblem logo! Discover which two Avengers teammates almost got married! And find out whether Spider-Woman owed her creation at all to a Native American feminist theater group!

Click here to read this week’s legends.

If you really don’t want to post comments on Facebook, you can comment on the article here, if you’d like.

Were the Rights to the Board Game Operation Sold for Just $500?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends related to board games and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of all board game urban legends so far.

BOARD GAME URBAN LEGEND: The board game Operation was sold for just $500.

For over fifty years, fans of all ages have enjoyed the board game Operation, in which players have to test their precision skills by trying to lift items from small holes in a board (the board is of a man and the items are in parts of his body, like removing an apple from where his Adam’s apple would be – stuff like that) using a metal tweezers. If the tweezers hit the metal sides of the holes, then an electrical current is connected and a buzzer goes off and the patient’s nose lights up.

operation_game

As the story goes, the whole rights to the game were sold for $500 and a job – and only one of those two things ever actually happened!

Is it true?
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August 26th, 2016 | Posted in Board Game Urban Legends Revealed, Grab Bag Urban Legends | No Comments

Did Joss Whedon Nearly Have a Bleak Rape Plot on Firefly?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about TV and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the TV urban legends featured so far.

TV URBAN LEGEND: Inara on Firefly had a syringe that was originally going to tie into a very dark rape plot on the series.

Very often, what TV shows have originally planned for their characters does not necessarily end up being what happens on the screen. Sometimes plots go off in different directions on their own and sometimes outside forces step in. Ally McBeal was about to get married until her would-be husband was abruptly written off the show due to Robert Downey Jr. getting arrested again over drugs. The West Wing writers were close to having Arnold Vinick win the Presidency before the death of John Spencer solidified the show’s original plan to have Matt Santos win the job. All My Children had a bomb storyline that had to be cut short due to the Oklahoma City bombing. So there’s all sorts of reasons why planned plots do not actually become reality. Sometimes, though, it is more natural reason, like the show simply deciding to go in a different direction. That was the case on Joss Whedon’s classic TV series, Firefly, which had a very dark storyline planned for Inara (Morena Baccarin) that never came to fruition.

cryinginara

Read on to see what Whedon originally had planned.
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August 24th, 2016 | Posted in TV Urban Legends Revealed | 6 Comments

Did MGM Give Up Their Rights to Lassie Just to Avoid Paying Lassie’s Trainer Backpay They Owed Him?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the Movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE/TV URBAN LEGEND: MGM gave up the rights to Lassie in exchange for not paying $40,000 in back pay to owner/trainer Rudd Weatherwax.

(NOTE: This is also pretty much a TV Legend, as well, so I’ll include it in both archives)

Rudd Weatherwax and his brother Frank trained the dog Pal who starred in the hit 1943 film, Lassie Come Home (co-starring a young Roddy McDowell), which was adapted from the Eric Knight novel of the same name.

The movie was popular enough to spin off a series of sequels, including, among others, one film featuring a young Elizabeth Taylor…

In 1951, the film series was dried up and MGM was looking for a way to get out of their contract with Weatherwax. They still owed him another $40,000, which certainly was not chump change in 1951. What they decided to do next changed, well, Lassie’s history, at least, forever.
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August 24th, 2016 | Posted in Movie Urban Legends Revealed, TV Urban Legends Revealed | No Comments