Did J. Edgar Hoover Have Casting Control Over the Film The FBI Story?

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: J. Edgar Hoover had casting say over the film The FBI Story.

The FBI Story was a 1956 history of the Federal Bureau of Investigation written by Don Whitehead, the Washington DC bureau chief of the New York Herald Tribune. Whitehead was carefully picked out before the FBI would allow him to write the authorized history of the FBI, although it should be noted that Whitehead did not (officially, at least) provide the text of the book to the FBI for approval before publication. Still, just knowing that the FBI would be willing to approve his book as the “official” history of the FBI was likely incentive enough for Whitehead to keep his book complimentary of the Bureau and its famous head, J. Edgar Hoover.

The book was a massive smash, not only becoming one of the highest-selling books of 1956, but of 1957, as well!

In 1959, a film version was made, starring Jimmy Stewart.

This time around, the film was not just APPROVED by the FBI, it was practically contolled/sanitized by Hoover, who overaw the film personally at times, but always had at least two FBI men with director Mervyn LeRoy.

Read on for more!

Continue reading “Did J. Edgar Hoover Have Casting Control Over the Film The FBI Story?”

Was George Reeves’ Role Reduced in From Here to Eternity Because Audiences Couldn’t Handle Seeing Superman in the Film?

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 Reeves had a number of scenes cut out of From Here to Eternity because test audiences were too jarred at seeing TV’s Superman in the film.

George Reeves was already appearing as Superman in The Adventures of Superman when he appeared in the 1953 film, From Here to Eternity, as the character of Sergeant Maylon Stark.

In the 1952 James Jones novel that the film was based on, depicting the various troubles of servicemen stationed in Pearl Harbor in the months leading up to the sneak attack by the Japanese in December of 1941, Stark had a fairly sizable supporting role (below is the famous scene on the beach with leads Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr).

In the film, however, he is a very minor character.

As many people know by now, George Reeves suffered great difficulties dealing with being typecast as Superman after the show ended, ultimately leading to his alleged suicide in 1959.

Now, a legend sprung up regarding From Here to Eternity and the relatively small role of Reeves in the picture.

In his discussion of the film on the All Movie Guide, Hal Erickson pretty concisely describes the legend…

If you’re able to take your eyes off the principals for a moment or two, keep an eye out for George Reeves; his supporting role was shaved down when, during previews, audiences yelled “There’s Superman!” and began to laugh.

Read on to learn the truth…

Continue reading “Was George Reeves’ Role Reduced in From Here to Eternity Because Audiences Couldn’t Handle Seeing Superman in the Film?”

Were the Facial Features of the Little Mermaid Based on Alyssa Milano?

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: Ariel from the Little Mermaid was based on the facial features of Alyssa Milano.

The Little Mermaid was, in a lot of ways, a return to the past successes of Disney animated films such as Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella.

For one, it was the first Disney fairy tale in decades and for another, it was animated with artists watching actors act out the scenes, so that the animators could see how various scenes would really look like (the way that Ariel’s hair floats underwater was supposedly based on videos of Sally Ride in outer space…

if anyone knows otherwise regarding this Ride bit, let me know, that could be a future legend right there!).

Broadway actress Jodi Benson provided Ariel’s speaking and singing voice, but it was local comedy actress Sherri Lynn Stoner who was the basis for the animation of Ariel during the movie.

Stoner later was the model for Belle in Beauty and the Beast.

So where does Alyssa Milano fit in?

Continue reading “Were the Facial Features of the Little Mermaid Based on Alyssa Milano?”