Did Aaron Spelling Pay Luke Perry’s Salary Out of His Own Pocket on 90210?

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: Aaron Spelling paid Luke Perry’s salary himself for the first two seasons of 90210.

Beverly Hills 90210 was a big hit as soon as it debuted in October 1990, and it was practically a cultural zeitgeist of its own, leading in a wave of shows aimed at “Generation X” viewers.

It was yet another hit for famed TV producer Aaron Spelling.

One cast member missing in the first episode, though, was Luke Perry, whose portrayal of “bad boy” Dylan McKay soon became perhaps the most famous character on the show.

Spelling was quite taken with the actor, who he thought had a lot of appeal, but the network was less enthused.

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Was One of the Stunts in the Fall Guy Opening Not Even Performed by a Stuntman?

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: One of the stunt shots in the beginning of the Fall Guy was not even done by a stuntman.

The theme song to Lee Majors’ TV series, The Fall Guy, about a Hollywood stuntman, was titled “The Unknown Stuntman,” and had lyrics such as:

I might fall from a tall building,
I might roll a brand new car.
‘Cause I’m the unknown stuntman that made Redford such a star.

I never spend much time in school
But I taught ladies plenty.
It’s true I hire my body out for pay, Hey Hey.

and

I might jump an open drawbridge,
Or Tarzan from a vine.
‘Cause I’m the unknown stuntman that makes Eastwood look so fine.

The opening credits for the series always had a number of notable film and TV stunt shots.

Amazingly enough, one of the more prominent stunts (it appeared in the opening credits the whole run of the show, unlike most of the other stunts, which were cycled out over the years) was actually NOT performed by a stuntman, but by the actual actor from the film!!!

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Did One of TV’s Friends Have a Painting in the Metropolitan Museum of Art?

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: One of TV’s Friends had a painting in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Friends was one of TV’s most popular sitcoms, playing on Thursday nights for NBC from 1994 until 2003, for a total of ten seasons. The finale in 2003 was the fourth most-watched series finale in television history.

But was one of the actors who played the “friends” an artist?

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Did Spike Milligan Wear a Shirt That Said “Hashish” When He Was On the Muppet 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: Spike Milligan wore a shirt that said “Hashish” on it when he was on the Muppet Show.

Spike Milligan (1918-2002) was one of England’s leading comedians from his days with The Goon Show in the 1950s (along with Peter Sellers and Harry Secombe)

to his days with Q during the 1970s (and lots of projects in between over the many, many years he was a performer – he was performing and especially writing right up to his death in 2002).

In 1978, Milligan hosted the third season of The Muppet Show, for an episode about international good will, etc.

At one point during the show, Milligan is wearing a T-Shirt with Arabic lettering on it…

For years, it has been said that Milligan’s shirt translated to “hashish,” and this was a sly opportunity by Milligan to sneak a drug reference into the show (hashish is a preparation of cannabis). As the story goes, no one noticed what he was doing until the episode had already aired.

Is it true?

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Were There Really No Black People in Mayberry?

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 were no black people in Mayberry.

Let’s get it out of the way right off the bat. In the entire eight season run of The Andy Griffith Show, there was only one black character who ever had a speaking line.

That’s pretty weak.

That said, the oft-repeated claim that there are no black people in Mayberry is false on the face, not even counting the aforementioned Rockne Tarkington, who played Opie’s football coach, Flip Conway, in one of the later seasons of the show.

In addition, I am not counting Mayberry RFD, which was better with regards to black characters having speaking roles.

No, just counting regular episodes of The Andy Griffith Show, there were frequent usage of black extras on the show.

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Did Empty Nest Spin-Off From the Golden Girls Without Using Characters From the Golden Girls?

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: Empty Nest was a spin-off without actually spinning off the lead characters.

Empty Nest, the sitcom starring Richard Mulligan as a recent widower dealing with both the death of his wife and his two adult daughters moving back home, is already notable as one of the few spin-off TV series to ever spin its own series off (which Empty Nest did with Nurses in 1991).

The show ran from October 1988 to April 1995. Paired with The Golden Girls, it was a mighty ratings one-two punch in the late 80s/early 90s for NBC (and Mulligan even took home an Emmy for Best Lead Actor in a Comedy in 1989).

However, the show had a rather bizarre lineage from Golden Girls to Empty Nest. You see, the show was a spin-off of the Golden Girls without any of the lead characters actually ever appearing on an episode of The Golden Girls before the first episode of Empty Nest!

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Was Cheers a Fire Hazard?

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: Cheers was a fire hazard.

On November 28, 1942, the trendy Boston nightclub, the Cocoanut Grove, caught fire with a packed crowd inside of over 1,000 people (the club’s capacity was 460).

The club had recently expanded with an attached lounge (the Melody Lounge). The club was decked up in a Casablanca theme, so there were paper and cloth decorations hanging from the ceiling and paper palm trees everywhere. Around 10:30 PM, a busboy went to replace a missing/blown out light bulb and dropped the replacement. He lit a match to find the bulb on the dark floor, found the bulb, blew out the match and replaced the bulb. However, the match managed to set a nearby paper palm tree on fire. That lit up and quickly spread to the ceiling where it set other decorations on fire – soon the fire was feeding off of oxygen and spread through the club.

Decades later, a re-opened fire investigation determined that it was actually methyl chloride that had leaked from a faulty refrigerator in the Melody Lounge that had led to the fire spreading so quickly.

In any event, while the fire itself was deadly, easily HUNDREDS of lives could have been saved had it not been for the construction of the bar. The main entrance was a lone revolving door. As you might imagine, a lone revolving door is quickly rendered useless by hundreds of people charging at it. Other sidedoors were actually bolted shut to keep patrons from skipping out on their bill. A stained-glass window was boarded over. And the few doors that WERE open were doors that opened IN to the building, and again, when a large group of people are charging towards a door, a door that opens IN to a building is effectively useless.

The tragedy was horrific, and actually stole some headlines from World War II.

The owner of the bar was later arrested and convicted on 19 charges of involuntary manslaughter (19 random victims were chosen to represent the dead as a whole).

So what does this gruesome turn of events have to do with Cheers, you ask?

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