Did Timmy Ever Actually Fall Down a Well on Lassie?

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 LEGEND: Lassie frequently saved Timmy after the boy fell down a well.

After being the pet of a young boy named Jeff for the first four seasons of Lassie, Lassie settled in with a new owner named Timmy for the next seven seasons. Timmy (played by Jon Provost) is the most famous of Lassie’s owners, which also included some Park Rangers in later seasons and a children’s orphanage in the last two syndicated seasons.

There is a famous joke about the standard plot on an episode of Lassie. I don’t know exactly where it is from – it certainly could be Saturday Night Live, but I have an idea that it is likely older than that (as Lassie ran from 1954-1973, so you figure SOME comedian must have made fun of the show during those years), but it goes like this.

Lassie comes running in to Timmy’s mother and barks a couple of times. The mother (played most famously by June Lockhart, although Cloris Leachman originated the role) replies, “What’s that, Lassie? Timmy fell down a well?”

The joke mocks the way that Lassie was able to so accurately communicate with the adults on the show to let them know of the trouble Timmy got into, and boy did Timmy get into a lot of trouble!
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May 8th, 2022 | Posted in TV Legends Revealed | No Comments

Did Phil Rizzuto Not Realize What ‘Paradise By the Dashboard Lights’ Was About When He Did His Play-By-Play for the Song?

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 music urban legends featured so far.

MUSIC LEGEND: Phil Rizzuto didn’t realize that the play-by-play that he contributed to “Paradise by the Dashboard Lights” was about sex.

The hit song, “Paradise by the Dashboard Lights” by Meat Loaf (written by Jim Steinman) had a really cool bit in with Yankees announcer Phil Rizzuto doing play-by-play for nominally a baseball game, but really the teen guy in the song trying to have sex with his girlfriend.

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January 21st, 2022 | Posted in Music Legends Revealed | No Comments

Was Robin Almost In Tim Burton’s Batman?

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: Robin was originally going to appear in Tim Burton’s original Batman film.

Tim Burton’s classic Batman film was famous for just HOW many different iterations the script went through before they settled on the final film. All sorts of things were in play in the original story, including even the death of Vicki Vale (which I detailed in an old Movie Legends Revealed here).

The main issue behind the changes was a problem so common that there’s even an adage about it – “too many cooks in the kitchen.” There were so many competing interests over the Batman film that Burton was getting it from all angles, from the producer, Jon Peters, to Warner Bros. corporate to probably every third security guard in the Warners lot. Everyone had an opinion.

One particularly common opinion was that Batman HAD to have a Robin in the movie.

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January 8th, 2022 | Posted in Movie Legends Revealed | No Comments

Was Carol Hathaway Originally Going to Die in the ER Pilot?

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: Julianna Margulies’ character, Carol Hathaway, basically died in the first episode of ER.

TV shows have long had a tradition of writing characters off in early episodes and then quickly changing their minds when early audiences responded well to the character. Hill Street Blues famously re-shot two early episodes (including the pilot) when they decided to bring two characters back from the dead (Officer Renko in the pilot and Officer Coffey at the end of the first season). In the case of Julianna Marguelies’ Carol Hathaway on the plot of ER, though, the change amusingly happened after they left the first episode the same, meaning that they left the first episode as it was originally written, including the fact that Carol effectively died in the episode!

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December 1st, 2021 | Posted in TV Legends Revealed | No Comments

Did Tom Selleck Force Blue Bloods to Reverse a Character Being Written Off the Show?

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: Tom Selleck forced Blue Bloods to reverse a plotline involving a fired cop.

One of the longest running, most watched dramas on television is CBS’ Blue Bloods. The show stars Tom Selleck as Frank Reagan, the New York City Police Commissioner, along with his two sons, Detective Danny Reagan (Donnie Wahlberg) and Sergeant Jamie Reagan (Will Estes), and his daughter, Assistant District Attorney Erin Reagan (Bridget Moynahan), as well as his father, Henry Reagan (Len Cariou), who is the former New York City Police Commissioner. Jamie was a lawyer who had graduated from Harvard, but when the oldest Reagan son, Joe, was killed in the line of duty, Jamie quit his lawyer job to enter the police academy. He recently became a Sergeant and was married to his former partner, Edit “Eddie” Janko (Vanessa Ray).

While perhaps not necessarily what you would deem a “Conservative” TV series, it is fair to say that Blue Bloods is certainly MORE conservative than most other TV shows out there and its star, Tom Selleck, is one of the more prominent conservative actors around. He has been a member of the National Rifle Association for decades and was a board member of the NRA for over a decade. Similarly, Frank Reagan is one of the more conservative characters on the show, which sets up a conflict between Frank and his somewhat liberal son, Jamie, his much more liberal daughter, Erin, and his even more liberal granddaughter, Nicky Reagan-Boyle (Sami Gayle). In general, though, the show tends to side with Frank in the end of most episodes. This is especially shown in interactions between Frank and Garrett Moore, the NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Public Information (played by Gregory Jbara), who often tells Frank the most politically motivated thing to do in a situation and Frank, of course, usually takes a more principled stand. Robert Clohessy, meanwhile, plays another assistant to the Commissioner, Sid Gormley, who often takes more conservative positions and so Gormley and Moore will often be the dueling angles on Commissioner Reagan’s shoulders on issues. The show even pokes some fun at the idea of “Saint Frank” on the show, as he is almost never is shown as being wrong on the series.

One notable example, though, was actually driven by Selleck behind the scenes.
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November 22nd, 2021 | Posted in TV Legends Revealed | No Comments

Did Clark Kent Ever Turn Into Superman in a Phone Booth on 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: Clark Kent never turned into Superman in a phone booth on television.

Something that we’ve discussed a number of times in Legends Revealed is the idea that the public’s collective memory is not always accurate, as they’ll conflate two different things into one, like remembering Mr. T’s famous “I pity the fool” line from Rocky III (and seemingly every other project he’s ever done) and presuming that he used the same line as B.A. Baracus on The A-Team (as it turned out, he did not
) or they will remember lines in a tidier fashion than they actually existed (like Gracie Allen’s famous “Say good night, Gracie!” “Good night, Gracie!”, which she never actually said).

As it turns out, one of these examples of the public’s collective memory failing is Superman and his use of phone booths to transform from Clark Kent into Superman. As we detailed in a Comic Book Legends Revealed a number of years ago, it turns out that it was simply a matter of him doing so in one of the most popular Superman projects of all-time, the early 1940s Fleischer cartoons

that locked that image into our collective memory, so that the idea of Clark Kent transforming into Superman is just taken for granted, despite him rarely actually doing so.

Recently, though, reader Gerald P. wrote in to ask about that old Comic Book Legends Revealed. He noted that I mentioned that Clark never changed into Superman in a phone booth in any of the 104 episodes of The Adventures of Superman, so he wanted to know if it was true that Clark never actually changed into Superman at all on any of his live action television series.

Let’s find out!
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July 14th, 2021 | Posted in TV Legends Revealed | No Comments

Just What IS the Lyric in ELO’s “Don’t Bring Me Down” That Sounds Like “Bruce”?

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 music urban legends featured so far.

MUSIC LEGEND: The lyric in Electric Light Orchestra’s “Don’t Bring Me Down” that sounds like “Bruce” is just a nonsense word.

In terms of misheard lyrics, one of the most famous ones is the 1979 hit single by Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), “Don’t Bring Me Down,” the highest-charting single in the history of the Jeff Lynne-led group (it peaked at #4 on the United States Billboard charts).

ELO's song, "Don't Bring Me Down"

The song has the lyrics:

You wanna stay out with your fancy friends
I’m tellin’ you, it’s got to be the end
Don’t bring me down
No, no, no, no, no
Ooh-ooh-hoo
I’ll tell you once more before I get off the floor
Don’t bring me down

and then the chorus:

Don’t bring me down, groos
Don’t bring me down, groos
Don’t bring me down, groos
Don’t bring me down

Obviously, over the years, fans have said, “Bruce” instead of “Groos,” to the point where Jeff Lynne finally gave up and now he sings “Bruce” when he performs the song live. So, what’s the deal with that line? What is “groos”?
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July 8th, 2021 | Posted in Music Legends Revealed | No Comments

Did Zootopia Originally NOT Star Judy Hopps?

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: “Zootopia” originally starred a different character other than Judy Hopps.

Sometimes, it seems as though these movie legends that we feature give off the wrong impression about about how movies normally work. We’re always talking about how some movie was drastically changed at the last minute, but for the most part, that’s not how things go. Most of the time, movies follow the same basic script that they had from the beginning of the film process. This is especially true with animated films, as they take so much longer to make, so typically everything is settled with an animated film well before the film is actually set to be released. Of course, that means when there are exceptions to this typical process, they stand out more, especially with animated films, where dramatically altering a film late in the process is quite costly.

In the past, we’ve discussed how the original story for Toy Story was scrapped so late in the process that they almost had to cancel the film’s release period. We’ve seen how Beauty and the Beast scrapped its early work to revamp Belle and how “Frozen” had to throw out a bunch of animation when they decided that Elsa was no longer the villain of the film. Similarly, then, the recent Disney hit film, Zooptopia, had to get rid of a lot of finished work when they decided just a year before the film was set to be released, that the film was starring the wrong character.

Zootopia is about a young rabbit police officer named Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) who fights stereotypes in the anthropomoraphic world of Zooptia, as rabbits are not seen as the sort of animal that you would typically see working as a police officer. Her pluck and moxie carry her through, as well as her optimistic way of looking at life.

Zootopia star, Judy Hopps

Judy, though, was NOT originally the star of the film!
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July 7th, 2021 | Posted in Movie Legends Revealed | No Comments

Was He-Man Originally Intended as a Toy Tie-In for Film, Conan the Barbarian?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about toys and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of all toy urban legends featured so far! It is also really a Movie Legends Revealed, too, so it’ll be listed under both categories.

TOY/MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: He-Man began life as a toy tie-in for the Conan the Barbarian film.

One of the great movie toy tie-in legends involves He-Man and Conan the Barbarian. Namely, did He-Man originate as a tie-in to the Arnold Schwarzenegger film, Conan the Barbarian, and then Mattel decided, “Eh, let’s just keep this one for ourselves” and then took their Conan prototypes and turn them into the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe toy line.

The supporting evidence for this being the case is the fact that Mattel did, in fact, have a licensing agreement with Conan Properties International (CPI) to make Conan toys and then Mattel backed out. When He-Man came out, CPI sued Mattel for general copyright infringement claims (that He-Man was too similar to Conan as a toy) and, more specifically, that Mattel breached their contract with CPI to make the He-Man toys.

So is it true?
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July 3rd, 2021 | Posted in Movie Legends Revealed, Toy Legends Revealed | No Comments

Did The Bob and Ray Comedy Duo Get Their Start Due to Red Sox Game Rainouts?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends related to radio and the people “behind the microphone,” so to speak, and whether they are true or false.

RADIO URBAN LEGEND: Bob and Ray got started as a comedy duo due to Red Sox rainouts.

Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding, credited as Bob and Ray, were one of the top radio comedy duos of the 20th Century. Elliott’s comedy legacy continues to this day with his son, Chris Elliott, and his granddaughter, Abby Elliott, both being involved in comedy (Chris and Abby are the first and, so far, only father and daughter to both be cast members on Saturday Night Live).

Their official website (both men have since passed away) quotes the New Yorker on them, “Bob & Ray invented, dreamed up the lines for, and then played, mainly on radio and television, a surrealistic Dickensian repertory company, which chastens the fools of the world with hyperbole, slapstick, parody, verbal nonsense, non sequitur, and sheer wit, all of it clean, subtle and gentle… Bob & Ray’s humor turns on their faultless timing and on their infinite sense of the ridiculous. It is also framed by that special sly, dry, wasteless vision of life perfected during the last couple of centuries by middle-class New Englanders…”

But how did they get their start?
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July 2nd, 2021 | Posted in Radio Legends Revealed | No Comments