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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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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Was George Clooney Cropped Out of the Photo That Became the Famous Barack Obama ‘Hope’ Poster?

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

PHOTOGRAPHY URBAN LEGEND: George Clooney was originally in the photo that was used as he basis for the famous Barack Obama “Hope” poster.

During the 2008 campaign, a poster featuring Barack Obama created by Shepard Fairey began to appear. While it had a few different words under it, the most famous one included the word “Hope.”

It became one of the most iconic political posters of all-time and certainly the most iconic one in the 21st Century.

However, the origins of the poster have been the source of some wild intrigue and criminal charges, if you can believe it.

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Did Quaker Oats Experiment On Children With Radioactive Cereal?

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: Quaker Oats ran experiments on children using radioactive cereal.

In 1877, Henry D. Seymour and William Heston formed what would become the Quaker Oats Company, which was famous for its oatmeal (it is STILL famous for its oatmeal, but nowadays there are a lot more breakfast options being mass-produced. Back in the turn of the 20th Century, the pickings were a good deal less robust, so Quaker Oats was a HUGE deal).

In the 1890s, their biggest competitor, the breakfast porridge known as Cream of Wheat, debuted.

The two companies fought tooth and nail as the two major mass produced breakfast meals of the early 20th Century and when World War II ended and the boom in both suburban living and kids being born in general made breakfast an even bigger deal. Quaker Oats’ sales reached almost $300 million after the War. One of their biggest sales pitches was how healthy oatmeal was, as this was around the time that dietary guidelines were actually pushed by the government for the first time.

Thus, it was a big blow when a study announced that high levels of phytate (which would be found in oats) could interfere with the absorption of iron in the body, something that was not the case with wheat. So suddenly Cream of Wheat had a big feather in its health cap that it could use against Quaker Oats.

So Quaker Oats decided to fund an experiment to prove that oatmeal delivered iron to the body fine, while also showing that oatmeal did similar things for calcium. HOW they went about it was very, very messed up and eventually cost the company over a million dollars due to a lawsuit.
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Was Dancing Star Juliet Prowse Really Mauled By the Same Jaguar Twice?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends related to dancing and dancers and whether they are true or false. Click here to see all of the dancing urban legends featured so far.

DANCING URBAN LEGEND: Juliet Prowse was mauled by the same jaguar twice.

Juliet Prowse was born in India to a British father and a South African mother. After her father died when she was just a toddler, she moved with her mother to South Africa and soon began studying dance at a young age. She was discovered as a dancer in Paris in her twenties and she was soon a key player in the 1960 film, Can-Can…

Prowse starred in her own sitcom a few years later after some more film roles, where she plays an actress who marries a guy in the Air Force and they try to live on his salary while she continues working as an actress.


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Was Cap’n Crunch the Character Introduced Before Cap’n Crunch the Cereal?

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: Cap’n Crunch the character predated Cap’n Crunch the cereal.

In 1961, Jay Ward and Bill Scott, the creators of The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends, were given an unusual offer from Quaker. The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends had been sponsored by General Mills cereals, but now a rival wanted Ward and Scott to create some new cartoon characters for them, only this time, the cartoon characters would be tied directly to cereals!

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How the French Navy Saved the Eiffel Tower From Destruction

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

ARCHITECTURE URBAN LEGEND: The French Navy saved the Eiffel Tower from being destroyed.

One of the most famous man-made structures in the world is the Eiffel Tower, the wrought iron tower in Paris, France, built over a period of 1887-1889 by the firm of Gustave Eiffel, who designed the tower and whose name is now attached to the structure.

It was highly controversial at the time, since, for many years, it was the tallest man-made structure in the world and, well, a lot of French artists weren’t thrilled with its design, so imagine not liking a design and seeing it as THE TALLEST STRUCTURE in the world? That would drive you nuts, right? But anyhow, people got on board fairly soon and its fame was fairly cemented.

However, what was NOT cemented was the tower itself. Learn about how it was saved from destruction in the early 20th Century!
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Was Moby-Dick’s First Edition Printed Without the Ending?

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

NOVEL URBAN LEGEND: Moby-Dick was printed in England without the Epilogue.

As I noted in a legend years ago (about how the “piracy” in Pirates of Penzance was a reference to COPYRIGHT piracy), in the 19th Century, copyright piracy was rampant. Something would be printed in England and then people would rush it over to the United States, which did not recognize British copyrights, and then print up copies here and be legally allowed to do so.

So while people continued to always publish in England first, what authors began to do was to publish essentially simultaneously in both England and the United States, to gain copyrights in both places at the same time.

That is what happened with Herman Melville’s classic novel, Moby-Dick, about an ill-fated whaling crew hunting down a great white whale. However, in the process, there was a major chunk of the book actually left out of its initial printing!

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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.

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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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.

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

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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