Why the Heck Was There a Talking Robot in Rocky IV?

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: There was a talking robot in Rocky IV because Sylvester Stallone had been using the robot to work with his autistic child.

Very often, some of the more surprising legends involving Hollywood films come from the influence a film’s writer, director or star has on the film based on their outside interests. For instance, George Lucas’ interest in impressing his daughters nearly led to the band ‘N Sync appearing as Jedis in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Kirk Cameron’s refusal to kiss anyone but his wife led to a bizarre piece of movie magic in Fireproof. It was this same kind of situation that led to one of the strangest movie characters of the 1980s, the talking robot in 1985’s megahit film, Rocky IV.

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Comic Book Legends Revealed #571

Welcome to the five hundred and seventy-first in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. This week, did Batman first introduce the “What If?” comic? Was DC Comics almost re-named Dynamic Comics in the 1980s? And what’s the deal with the “missing” pilot episode of M.A.S.K.?

Click here for an archive of the first five hundred (I actually haven’t been able to access it to update it in a while).

Click here to read this week’s legends.

Did Jackie Mason Give Ed Sullivan “the Finger” on National Television?

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: Jackie Mason gave Ed Sullivan the “finger” on the Ed Sullivan Show.

Jackie Mason became a stand-up comedian in the late 1950s/early 1960s, after deciding to no longer be a rabbi.

He made a few notable appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show, likely THE biggest platform for up and coming performers at the time.

Mason was so popular that within the next year or so, Sullivan booked him to a five-year agreement that he would appear X amount of times on the program for $45,000.

In any event, in October of 1964, while making his twelfth appearance on the program, Mason and Sullivan’s relationship changed…for the worse.
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Did ASCAP Threaten to Sue the Girl Scouts Over Campfire Songs?

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: ASCAP tried to have the Girl Scouts pay for copyrighted songs performed around campfire.

Just last year, President Barack Obama, along with First Lady Michelle Obama, hosted 50 Girl Scouts to a mock campfire on the White House lawn…

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Singing songs around a campfire is a longtime Girl Scout tradition.

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However, did you know that at one point in 1996, ASCAP threatened to sue the Girl Scouts if they didn’t pay for the right to perform said songs at the campfire? Read on to see what happened!
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Did a Countess Once Famously Insult Jean Harlow?

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: Countess Margot Asquith insulted Jean Harlow by calling her a harlot.

As I’ve discussed in past legends like Julie Newmar supposedly insulting actor Michael Dunn, George Bernard Shaw reportedly brutally insulting Isadora Duncan and W.C. Fields allegedly mocking Philadelphis on his tombstone, most famous stories involving clever insults are not true. Most people, after all, even clever ones, tend not to be that clever in real life.

However, when it comes to Margot Asquith, Countess of Oxford and Asquith, she seems to actually BE that clever (and perhaps, one might say, that mean), when it came to a comment she made to actress Jean Harlow.

jeanharlow

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Comic Book Legends Revealed #570

Welcome to the five hundred and seventieth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. This week, how close did we come to seeing the Black Panther debut in his own solo series FIFTY years ago? Did Nightwing almost get his own movie in the late 1990s? And did DC Comics prevent James Robinson from fulfilling the Hawkman prophecy in Starman?

Click here for an archive of the first five hundred (I actually haven’t been able to access it to update it in a while).

Click here to read this week’s legends.

Which Simpsons Character Nearly Got a LIVE-ACTION Spin-Off Series?

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: There was nearly a live-action spin-off of The Simpsons.

In 1997, during the eighth season of the long-running cartoon series, The Simpsons, there was an episode called “The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase.” The episode made fun of the way that popular shows would often go out of their way to come up with spin-offs from their show, whether they made sense or not (like how Empty Nest spun out of The Golden Girls despite no one from Empty Nest ever actually appearing on The Golden Girls prior to the spin-off). Chief Wiggum, Principal Skinner and Grandpa Simpson each get a shot at their own shows, as well as a Simpsons Variety Hour.

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What’s interesting is that despite the show making fun of the concept, The Simpsons actually DID try to spin-off a character from the series. Furthermore, the spin-off would have been a LIVE ACTION series! Which character was it? Why did it fall through? Read on to find out!
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April 8th, 2016 | Posted in TV Urban Legends Revealed | No Comments

Was Furby a Spy?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about toys and whether they are true or false.

TOY URBAN LEGEND: The National Security Agency banned furbies from their offices for fear of the toys recording confidential information.

Back in 2015, Samsung’s Smart TV caused a bit of a stir when it was revealed that the voice activation feature, which allowed users to control the television through their voice (you know, like, “raise the volume,” “put on AMC,” etc.). The issue was that the company itself gave users the following warning:

“Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition.”

It really wasn’t much of a big deal, as it wasn’t like the television was just listening in. It was more a case of Samsung just being overly cautious with their warnings.

However, this reminds me of a hilarious piece of information from the late 1990s, when the National Security Agency (NSA) banned Furbies from their offices for similar fears of being secretly recorded!

furby

Read on to see whether furbies were really spies…
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Did the Original Lead Actresses of Carrie and Star Wars Swap Roles Over a Nudity Clause?

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 and Brian De Palma swapped lead actresses for Carrie and Star Wars.

The original Star Wars has had one of the most legendary casting processes in film history. In a past Movie Legend, we talked about how Harrison Ford was cast as Han Solo despite not actually being technically up for the role. However, perhaps even more interesting is how the overall casting process was managed. You see, before George Lucas and Steven Spielberg became movie superstars, the duo were part of a small close-knit group of young directors that included John Milius, Martin Scorsese and Brian De Palma (plus Francis Ford Coppola to a certain extent). They helped one another with each other’s films, even betting with each other on how well their respective films would do (always in a “your film is going to do better than my film” way – the most famous example is Spielberg ending up with a cut of Star Wars based on a bet he and Lucas made). That sense of cooperation led to a fascinating joint casting call for Lucas’ Star Wars and De Palma’s Carrie, where the outgoing De Palma ran the actual casting call and then they would pick from the actors together.

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carrie

This has led to the famous, much-repeated story that

originally Sissy Spacek was cast as Princess Leia in Star Wars and Carrie Fisher in the film Carrie. however, Fisher was not willing to do nude scenes and Spacek had no problem with this, so the two switched parts.

Is that true?
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April 8th, 2016 | Posted in Movie Urban Legends Revealed | No Comments

Comic Book Legends Revealed #569

Welcome to the five hundred and sixty-ninth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. This week, was Mary Jane Watson almost UGLY? Was Peter Parker from the 1990s Spider-Man animated series based on Nicholas Hammond from the 1970s Spider-Man TV series? And how did the “Marvel Method” lead to Marvel having multi-part stories?

Click here for an archive of the first five hundred (I actually haven’t been able to access it to update it in a while).

Click here to read this week’s legends.