Was WKRP in Cincinnati’s Famous Turkey Drop Based in Reality?

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: The famous “WKRP in Cincinnati” turkey drop was based on an actual turkey drop.

Probably the most famous thanksgiving episode of any television sitcom is “Turkeys Away,” from the first season of “WKRP in Cincinnati.” The series was about a struggling radio station that changed formats from easy listening to rock and roll. The conflict (and thus, the comedy) came from the contrast between the people who worked for the station beforehand, bumbling but kindhearted station manager Arthur Carlson (Gordon Jump), sleazy ad salesman Herb Tarlek (Frank Bonner) and timid news reporter Les Nessman (Richard Sanders) and the new, young and hip hires, program director Andy Travis (Gary Sandy) and disc jockeys Dr. Johnny Fever (Howard Hesseman) and Venus Flytrap (Tim Reid).

The seventh episode of the series, “Turkeys Away” (which actually aired on October 30th, 1978, despite being the show’s Thanksgiving episode), showed Carlson trying to take on more of a hand’s on approach to prove that he still had what it took to run the station. He came up with a secret promotion for Thanksgiving. It was all hush hush until the end of the episode, where Nessman was on the street, reporting live when the event occurred.

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November 22nd, 2018 | Posted in TV Urban Legends Revealed | No Comments

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Did Frank Capra Accidentally Try to Accept an Oscar He Didn’t Win?

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 movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Frank Capra accidentally tried to accept an Oscar that he didn’t win.

In 1933, Frank Capra directed Lady for a Day, a touching story about an old woman whose friends conspire to trick her visiting daughter (who she sent away to Europe when she was an infant and with whom she has only communicated with through letters) into thinking that her mother is a wealthy member of society and not the street vendor that she actually is.

Here’s Capra on the right, screenwriter of the film, Robert Riskin, on the left and May Robson, who played the title role, in the midddle.

The film was the first Columbia Pictures film to be nominated for an Academy Award and was the first film that Frank Capra was nominated for Best Director for, as well. Made with a bunch of no-names because no studio would lend their top talent to Columbia, the film was a surprise hit and Capra felt that their odds were strong that they would sweep the Oscars.

His confidence, as it turned out, led to a shocking gaffe…
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April 13th, 2018 | Posted in Movie Urban Legends Revealed | No Comments

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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April 13th, 2018 | Posted in Amusement Park Urban Legends Revealed | No Comments

Was Jonathan Rollins on L.A. Law Based on Barack Obama?

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: Jonathan Rollins on L.A. Law was based, at least in part, on a young Barack Obama.

In 1987, the hit television series L.A. Law introduced a brand new character, a brilliant, young and charismatic African-American lawyer named Jonathan Rollins, played by Blair Underwood. The character was created by the show’s co-creator, Stephen Bochco.

The character would become a major part of the series, staying on the show for the rest of the series’ run (all the way to the finale in 1994) and the character would become more and more of a central figure as the show went on (as other stars, like Jimmy Smits and Harry Hamlin, left the series).

An interesting facet of Rollins’ back story on the show was that he was the first African-America President of the Harvard Law Review.

This has led people, looking back, to wonder if the character was based, even in part, on former United States President Barack Obama, who was the ACTUAL first African-American President of the Harvard Law Review.

After all, Obama’s history-making success at Harvard was big news at the time, with the “New York Times” even doing an article on the topic, “First Black Elected to Head Harvard’s Law Review.”

So it is certainly feasible that Bochko would hear about it. And it would be pretty cool if true, right? So IS it true?
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April 12th, 2018 | Posted in TV Urban Legends Revealed | No Comments

Did ABBA Really Turn Down a Billion Dollar Concert Offer?

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 movie urban legends featured so far.

MUSIC URBAN LEGEND: ABBA turned down a billion dollar concert tour.

Longtime reader Jumborg Ace wrote in to ask, “Is it true that a few (maybe a lot of) years ago that ABBA was offered 1 BILLION
dollars to do 1 concert AND they turned it down? I though I heard that but maybe it was just a radio joke.”

Well, the answer to your very specific question is no. They were never offered that much money for one single show.

However, the full answer is closer to true than you would expect!
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April 11th, 2018 | Posted in Music Urban Legends Revealed | 1 Comment

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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April 6th, 2018 | Posted in Grab Bag Urban Legends, Novel Urban Legends Revealed | No Comments

Was There a Scene Featuring Slimer Cut From the End of Ghostbusters II?

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 movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: A scene featuring Slimer at the end of “Ghostbusters II” was cut from the film.

An interesting phenomenon in the world of popular culture is when people’s collective memory convinces a bunch of people that they saw something that they did not actually see. We’ve addressed this a few times over the years, like whether there was an end scene cut from U.S. prints of “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, whether “Star Wars” was originally titled “Episode IV” in the opening scroll and whether “Back to the Future” originally ended with “To Be Continued…” People will swear that they saw something in a film that they never actually saw. However, sometimes films really do cut scenes from the original print of a film (a famous example is “The Program” cutting a sequence because people died trying to re-enact it), so it can be difficult to figure out whether people actually saw a scene that was cut from the film or not.

One of these possibly mythical scenes is the longstanding rumor regarding Slimer at the end of “Ghostbusters II.”

Slimer, the green glob of a ghost, appeared at the end of the original Ghostbusters, flying towards the audience.

As the story goes, the original ending of “Ghostbusters II” had Slimer repeating his flying towards the audience trick, only this time flying out of the restored Statue of Liberty (the Ghostbusters borrow the Statue of Liberty to defeat the bad guy in the film). However, Bill Murray was adamant about not doing another “Ghostbusters” sequel, and the theory was that ending the second film like the first one would suggest that they were going to make a third one. That’s the rumor. When I mentioned this on Comics Should Be Goo a while back, multiple people wrote in to say that yes, they saw that scene when they saw “Ghostbusters II” in theaters back in 1989.

But DID they?
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April 3rd, 2018 | Posted in Movie Urban Legends Revealed | No Comments

Was The Rolling Stones’ ‘Wild Horses’ Almost Accidentally Erased?

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 movie urban legends featured so far.

MUSIC URBAN LEGEND: The Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses” was almost accidentally erased.

For whatever reason, few rock songs have had as many legends about it than the Rolling Stones’ classic song, “Wild Horses.”

In the past, I’ve discussed whether Mick Jagger really wrote it about Marianne Faithful.

In the past, I’ve discussed whether Gram Parsons secretly wrote the song for the Stones.

Now, however, we’re taking a look a surprising thing that happened that nearly caused us to lose one of the great rock songs of all-time!
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April 2nd, 2018 | Posted in Music Urban Legends Revealed | No Comments

Which Love Actually Character Was Originally Going to be an Angel?

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

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: One of the characters in “Love Actually” was meant to be an angel the whole movie.

Just the other day, we did a Movie Legends Revealed about how an entire romance was cut from the film, Love Actually, due to the film being too long. When we posted that article, reader Marc H. wrote in about another fascinating aspect of the original film that was cut, although this did not get past the original script (unlike the romance between the school headmistress and her lover that was definitely filmed and cut from the final movie).

As it turned out, one of the characters in the film originally was intended to be an angel the whole time. Can you guess who?


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December 22nd, 2017 | Posted in Movie Urban Legends Revealed | No Comments