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

Was The Flash’s Harrison Wells Based On an Obscure DC Comics Character?

TV URBAN LEGEND: Doctor Harrison Wells was based on an obscure DC Comics character.

When the CW series of superhero shows started out, it was not always easy to get permission to use certain characters on TV series, not with all of the various licenses out there. Ray Palmer, for instance, was introduced in Arrow only after Warner Bros. nixed the first DC Comics character that they wanted to introduce to play Felicity’s new boss.

One interesting way that the producers on the various CW superhero TV series have gotten around any possible issues is to just take obscure DC characters and essentially just make them brand-new characters. The most famous example of this asw Arrow star Felicity Smoak, who was named after an obscure Firestorm character from the 1980s.

However, things are complicated by the fact that the shows also occasionally invent completely new characters that have no comic book counterparts, with the most famous example being John Diggle, one of the main characters on Arrow. Diggle has since been adapted into comics, but he was invented for the TV series.

Doctor Harrison Wells on Flash seemed to be another example of an original character, but reader Victor C. wrote in to ask if it was true that Wells was actually named after an obscure character from a 1991 Flash one-shot.

Let’s find out!
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June 30th, 2021 | Posted in TV Legends Revealed | No Comments

How Did Monica Potter Save the Counting Crows’ Song, “Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby”?

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: Monica Potter saved the Counting Crows’ song, “Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby” from never being released.

Adam Duritz, of the Counting Crows, is well known for writing songs about actual people and a great example of this is the song “Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby” on the band’s third album, This Desert Life.

The song is based on the actor Monica Potter, who Duritz had seen in a few then-recent films like Con Air and Patch Adams and so he had a dream about her that inspired the song. Amazingly enough, the REAL Mrs. Potter ended up saving the song from oblivion!
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June 28th, 2021 | Posted in Music Legends Revealed | No Comments

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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June 25th, 2021 | Posted in Photography Legends Revealed | No Comments

Did Deadpool Lose His Bag of Guns in the Taxi Because of Budget Cuts?


: Deadpool lost his gun bag in “Deadpool” because budget cuts forced the filmmakers to cut out the scene where the character used the guns.

As the famous saying goes, “necessity is the mother of invention.” This is very true when it comes to making films, as filmmakers are constrained by the budget of their film as to what they can actually do in their movies. You might want to have an epic battle sequence, but if you only have money in the budget for a small fight scene, you have to go with a small fight scene (or, of course, try to invent a new way to depict an epic battle sequence for less money). We’ve seen how budget concerns have dramatically affected the plotlines of films over the years, from the Ghostbusters going from a team of inter-dimensional time travelers to being “just” regular Ghostbusters to Marty McFly going from traveling to the future in an atomic bomb explosion to traveling to the future in a DeLorean. Budget had a similar impact on one of 2016’s biggest films, the surprise blockbuster, Deadpool, which saw major scenes and characters altered simply due to budget cutbacks, including one of the most memorable scenes in the film, when Deadpool loses his bag full of guns right before the climactic battle.

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June 23rd, 2021 | Posted in Movie Legends Revealed | No Comments

Did Tom Jones Really Faint While Hitting the Final Note on “Thunderball”?

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: Tom Jones fainted while hitting the final note on “Thunderball.”

The 1965 James Bond film, Thunderball, was a gigantic blockbuster, not only making the most money out of any James Bond film up until that point, but making more money than the next FIVE James Bond movies (and the next five all made fine money, just letting you know just HOW big of a hit Thunderball was).

The title theme was by Tom Jones and there is an interesting legend about it…
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June 21st, 2021 | Posted in Music Legends Revealed | No Comments

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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June 18th, 2021 | Posted in Cuisine Legends Revealed | No Comments

Did the Sopranos Almost Resolve the Mystery of the “Pine Barrens” In the Final Season?

TV URBAN LEGEND: “The Sopranos” almost revealed the mysterious final fate of the Russian gangster from the episode “Pine Barrens” in an episode in the final season of the series.

When long-running television series begin to reach the end of their runs, there is often an urge (very often driven by the fans of the show) to try to resolve any unresolved stories left over from past episodes, whether such an impulse really fits into the final plot of the series or not. “How I Met Your Mother”, for instance, tried valiantly to resolve their long-running pineapple mystery in their final episodes (they never found a way to make it work). “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”, on the other hand, seems to delight in defying fans’ desire to learn the true name of the Waitress before the series ends. When you take into account the famous final scene of the hit HBO drama “The Sopranos”, the show’s creator, David Chase, seems to pretty clearly lean towards the latter school of thought. The finale famously lacked a clear cut resolution to the life of New Jersey crime boss Tony Soprano.

There was another famous unresolved plot line on the Sopranos, though. In the acclaimed season three episode “Pine Barrens” (written by longtime “Sopranos” writer Terence Winter, who later created “Boardwalk Empire” and “Vinyl”, based on an idea by frequent “Sopranos” director, Tim Van Patten, who also worked on “Boardwalk Empire” with Winter), Soprano made men Christopher and Paulie were forced to fill in on a collection duty for another member of the crime family.

They were irritated at having to do collections and when one of the people they were collecting from, a Russian gangster named Valery, gave them attitude, Paulie snapped and killed the man. Or at least he believed he killed him.

When Paulie and Christopher drove to the Pine Barrens (a heavily forested area in New Jersey) to get rid of his body, they were shocked to discover that Valery was still alive. They then gave him a shovel and made him dig his own grave. However, Valery waited until their guard was down and then used the shovel to attack them and escape. Paulie then shot him in the head. Amazingly, Valery got back up and continued to run away. When the two men returned to Christopher’s car, they discover that it was stolen. So now the two men have to worry not just about the missing Russian but about surviving the night. They never found Valery, but they are eventually saved by Tony, who explained to them that if Valery shows up again and it causes any sort of problem with the Russian mob boss, Slava, then Tony would force Paulie to take responsibility for what happened. Valery was never seen or heard of again on “The Sopranos” (Slava was, though, so the presumption was that Valery never made it back to tell Slava about what happened).

Reader Matt G. wrote in to ask about a story he once read about Tony Sirico (who played Paulie) saying that they nearly addressed the Valery situation. Sirico, did, in fact, tell the New York Times soon after “The Sopranos” ended:

We had a scene this season when Chris and I are talking in the bar about whatever happened to that Russian guy. And in the script we were supposed to go outside and there he was standing on the corner. But when we went to shoot it, they took it out. I think David didn’t like it. He wanted the audience just to suffer.

Is that true?
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June 16th, 2021 | Posted in TV Legends Revealed | No Comments