Comic Book Legends Revealed #583

Welcome to the five hundred and eighty-third in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. This week, was Mary Jane and Peter’s baby originally going to live? Who was the visual inspiration for Wolverine? And who was DC’s recent Terra going to be originally?

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 Blowing on Nintendo Video Game Cartridges Help Them Work?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends related to video games and whether they are true or false.

VIDEO GAME URBAN LEGEND: If your Nintendo video game cartridge didn’t work, blowing on the contacts would help make it work.

In the latter half of the 20th Century, we as a society probably didn’t have what you would call “old wives tales,” but we had our own form of it, just conventional wisdom that was passed along between friends, or heck, perhaps just somehow ingrained in our minds like a piece of the public consciousness. One of those pieces of wisdom was what to do when your Nintendo video game cartridge was not working.

Nintendo video games came in these plastic cartridges that you would plug into your Nintendo video game system to play the games.

nes_super_mario_bros_2

As you can see from the cartridge, the bottom of the cartridge is sort of open…

nintendo-cartridge

Therfore, the belief was that if the game wasn’t working properly, there must be some sort of dust that got into the open cartridge that caused some interference and thus, blowing on it would clear the debris and allow the game to work. And anecdotally, it sure seemed to work for most kids. And if it didn’t work right away, you just kept on blowing and blowing until it DID work.

But, really, DID it work?
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July 8th, 2016 | Posted in Grab Bag Urban Legends, Video Game Urban Legends Revealed | 4 Comments

Did I Love Lucy Invent the Three-Camera Approach for TV Shows?

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: I Love Lucy invented the “three camera” approach for TV shows.

I Love Lucy was a highly influential television series.

i-love-lucy-season-1-pilot

The show particularly impressed with its avant garde filming techniques, which helped revolutionize television (particularly the world of syndication). That said, because they are SO famous for their filming techniques, they often get over-credited in certain areas. One such area is the idea of using three cameras to film the show.
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July 7th, 2016 | Posted in TV Urban Legends Revealed | 1 Comment

Did George Lucas Add a Scene to Empire Strikes Back to Address Mark Hamill’s Facial Injuries?

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 added a scene to Empire Strikes Back to address Mark Hamill’s facial injuries.

In the past, we’ve discussed the legend of whether the wampa attack in Empire Strikes Back was written into the script specifically to address the facial injuries that Mark Hamill had suffered in a car accident a couple of years earlier.

lukewampaattack

You can check that legend out for the details of the story, but the simplest answer is that no, there was going to be a wampa attack either way. However, a couple of fans wrote in saying that while that was true, they believed that Lucas had tried to address Hamill’s facial injuries in the film, it was just in a different scene. It appears as though that is correct, and amazingly enough, in the same additional scene, Lucas also further explored the Luke/Leia relationship that we had also discussed in a past legend, namely whether Luke and Leia were intended to be brothers and sisters at the time of Empire Strikes Back.

Read on to see how filmed (but then deleted) scenes addressed both of these notable issues from Star Wars history…
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July 7th, 2016 | Posted in Movie Urban Legends Revealed | No Comments

Comic Book Legends Revealed #582

Welcome to the five hundred and eighty-second in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. This week, learn the secret origin of Deadpool’s fascination with chimichangas, discover whether Grant Morrison forgot the ending of Son of Demon or not and learn if there was a Superman comic made just in Europe!

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.

Was the Mister Mister Song “Kyrie” Written About a Brutal Attack?

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: The Mister Mister song “Kyrie” was written in response to a brutal attack.

“Kyrie” was a hit song released by the band Mister Mister in 1985 off of their album, Welcome to the Real World, hitting number one on the Billboard charts for two weeks (another song off the album, “Broken Wings,” also hit #1 on the Billboard charts for two weeks).

The song, whose title is a reference to the Christian prayer, “Kýrie, eléison,” is one of the more misheard song lyrics of all-time, as people often have a hard time understanding that the band is singing “Kýrie, eléison.”

Mr-Mister-Kyrie

Here is a sample of the song’s lyrics:

The wind blows hard against this mountainside
Across the sea into my soul
It reaches into where I cannot hide
Setting my feet upon the road

My heart is old, it holds my memories
My body burns a gem-like flame
Somewhere between the soul and soft machine
Is where I find myself again

Kýrie, eléison
Down the road that I must travel
Kýrie, eléison
Through the darkness of the night

Kýrie, eléison
Where I’m going, will you follow?
Kýrie, eléison
On a highway in the light

I don’t know where you would get it from those lyrics, but a longstanding rumor has come about that says that the song was written by the songwriter in response to a brutal attack. Is that true?
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July 1st, 2016 | Posted in Music Urban Legends Revealed | No Comments

Was Hanna-Barbera’s Fonz and the Happy Days Gang Originally a Doctor Who Cartoon 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: Hanna-Barbera’s The Fonz and the Happy Gang began as a Doctor Who animated series.

It is remarkable how different many famous film and television projects looked like when their development began. What began as a horror film about aliens ended up becoming the heartwarming family film E.T.. What became Die Hard With a Vengeance was once both a Lethal Weapon film and a Brandon Lee starring vehicle! Most bizarrely, instead of making both a He-Man film and a Spider-Man film, Cannon Films combined the two and ended up with a surprising hit film.

So I keep an open mind when it comes to legends about the origins of projects, even if they initially seem hard to believe, like this legend sent to me by reader Chris, asking:

There is a TV legend I have heard a few times but I have never discovered how true it was. That in the early 1980s Hanna-Barbera wanted to make a cartoon version of Doctor Who but couldn’t get the rights so instead made one about the time-travelling adventures of the characters from Happy Days

The show Chris is referring to is Hanna-Barbera’s 1980-1982 series, The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang, about a girl from the future (voiced by Didi Cohn, from Grease) showing up in 1957 Milwaukee in a time machine and accidentally getting Richie Cunningham, Ralph Malph, Fonzie and (of course) Fonzie’s anthropomorphic dog, Mr. Cool, trapped in her time machine and subsequently lost in time (Ron Howard, Donny Most and Henry Winkler all did their own voices!)!

fonzhdgang3

It is not that difficult to imagine such a show being instead about Doctor Who traveling through time in his TARDIS. Doctor Who was popular in the United States at the time. Marvel even put out a comic starring the Doctor in 1980 (after Marvel UK acquired the rights to the Doctor in England a year earlier).

doctorwho

So it certainly wouldn’t be that shocking to imagine Hanna-Barbera wanting to license the character, or even that they did a work-up for a proposed show and after it fell through, then used the basic concept for another licensed property, namely the Happy Days characters (Hanna-Barbera had a deal with Paramount for all of their Garry Marshall television characters, as they put out a Laverne and Shirley animated series at the same time, as well as later a Mork and Mindy/Fonzie/Laverne and Shirley show). After all, the popular Hanna-Barbera TV series Wacky Races was originally developed to be part of a live action game show, so it is not like Hanna-Barbera were strangers to the concept of “pivoting.”

But is is true?
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June 30th, 2016 | Posted in TV Urban Legends Revealed | No Comments

How Did Katharine Hepburn’s Temperance Nearly Kill Her?

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: Katharine Hepburn’s temperance nearly killed her during the filming of The African Queen.

The African Queen is a wonderful adventure film starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn, written by James Agee (adapted from the C. S. Forester novel of the same name) and directed by John Huston.

It involves a missionary (Hepburn) caught up in an adventure with a river boat captain (Bogart) in Africa during World War I.

The film was made on location in Uganda and the Congo.

During the filming, Hepburn came down with a severe case of dysentery. She ended up losing nearly 20 pounds! It got to the point where she would do a scene and then have to go vomit (or the other variety of expulsion) right afterwards. She actually ended up suffering from the disease for months AFTER the filming ended! She did a whole other movie, the romantic comedy, Pat and Mike, while still suffering from the disease!

What was particularly amazing, though, was HOW she caught it.
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June 28th, 2016 | Posted in Movie Urban Legends Revealed | No Comments

Comic Book Legends Revealed #581

Welcome to the five hundred and eighty-first in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. This week, were Cyclops and Madelyne Pryor really going to live happily ever after? How did Neal Adams change the ending of the famous Green Arrow/Speedy drug storyline? Finally, was Bruce the Gargoyle on the Spider-Man Animated Series a Batman reference?

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.

Were TV Dinners Invented Due to Swanson Having Too Many Thanksgiving Turkeys Left Over?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends related to cuisine (chefs, dishes, etc.) and whether they are true or false.

CUISINE URBAN LEGEND: Swanson’s TV Dinners were invented due to them trying to come up with a way to get rid of the large supply of Thanksgiving turkeys they got stuck with one year.

There is a famous quote that is most commonly attributed to Plato that states, “Those who tell the stories rule society.” This is a similar thought to the idea that the winners write the history books. In other words, whoever has the control of the historical narrative is the one who is going to get their version of events into the hands of the everyday person. That was definitely the case with Gerry Thomas, a former employee for Swanson who, when he passed away about a decade ago, had obituaries all over the world that said some version of his New York Times’ obituary headline, “Gerry Thomas, Who Thought Up the TV Dinner, Is Dead at 83″ Perhaps Thomas WAS the guy who coined the term “TV dinner.” Perhaps Thomas DID come up with the idea for Swanson (a food processing company that began at the end of the 19th century) to get into the world of frozen dinners. Those things MIGHT be true. But what is definitely true is that Thomas got credit for these things primarily due to his ability to put his story out there constantly over the past thirty years of his life, continually telling the story of the creation of the TV dinner. Since he was really the only one talking (and he DID work at Swanson when they began producing TV dinners), his version of events has been accepted as gospel in a variety of major publications, including Time magazine.

tv-dinner-1954-swanson

His story of how Swanson got into the TV dinner business had a great hook, one that commenter Gavin thought would make for a good legend, namely:

TV Dinners were created because the company had a huge supply of leftover turkeys from Thanksgiving that were traveling around the country in railroad freezer containers. They were losing money on the storage so they had to come up with a way to sell them.

That’s precisely the story that has been told on many sites, magazines and newspapers over the years.

Here’s one take on the story from Smithsonian.com (but really, TONS of people have the same story):

In 1953, someone at Swanson colossally miscalculated the level of the American appetite for Thanksgiving turkey, leaving the company with some 260 tons of frozen birds sitting in ten refrigerated railroad cars. Enter the father of invention, Swanson salesman Gerry Thomas, a visionary inspired by the trays of pre-prepared food served on airlines. Ordering 5,000 aluminum trays, concocting a straightforward meal of turkey with corn-bread dressing and gravy, peas and sweet potatoes (both topped with a pat of butter), and recruiting an assembly line of women with spatulas and ice-cream scoops, Thomas and Swanson launched the TV dinner at a price of 98 cents (those are Eisenhower-era cents, of course). The company’s grave doubts that the initial order would sell proved to be another miscalculation, though a much happier one for Swanson; in the first full year of production, 1954, ten million turkey dinners were sold.

Is it TRUE, though?
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June 24th, 2016 | Posted in Cuisine Urban Legends Revealed, Grab Bag Urban Legends | No Comments