Did Ernie Hudson Lose Out On a Role in the Real Ghostbusters Cartoon That He Played in The Actual Ghostbusters Film?

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: Ernie Hudson auditioned for the role of Winston on the Real Ghostbusters animated series and did not get the job.

For a generation of kids growing up in the late 1980s, there is a very good chance that their first exposure to the world of the Ghostbusters was not, in fact, the popular 1984 film of the same name starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson…

but the animated television series that ran from 1986-1991 (titled The REAL Ghostbusters because of a competing Filmation series called Ghostbusters, which was based on a 1970 animated series called The Ghost Busters).

The animated series adaptation, which was story edited by J. Michael Straczynski (who also wrote a number of episodes) was of a much higher quality than most cartoon adaptations of films. As a result, it hung on for an extended run (five years is an eternity in syndicated cartoon series), although Straczynski departed after the first “season” of 78 episodes due to some changes made to the series (he returned to write a few episodes in 1990 before the series ended).

As is the standard custom for animated adaptations of films, the characters were not voiced by the actors who portrayed them in the film. Lorenzo Music voiced Bill Murray’s character, Peter, Maurice LaMarche voiced Harold Ramis’ character, Egon, Frank Welker voiced Dan Dan Aykroyd’s character Ray and Arsenio Hall voiced Ernie Hudson’s character, Winston. However, did you know that in an odd turn of events, Ernie Hudson actually auditioned to voice Winston? And he lost the role to Arsenio Hall!

Read on to see what happened…

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Was There Originally a Coca-Cola Ad Mixed Into A Charlie Brown Christmas?

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: A Charlie Brown Christmas originally had an extra scene featuring its original sponsor.

A Charlie Brown Christmas is one of those rare examples of a piece of popular culture that could truly be termed an “instant classic.” It first aired on CBS on Thursday, December 9, 1965 and was a massive ratings success. It won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Children’s Program and it also won a Peabody Award for distinguished achievement by a television program. It has aired on television every year since 1966 (up to 2000 on CBS and on ABC since 2001) and continues to be a popular program (just this year, its ratings were up 4% from last year and it won its time slot in the 18-49 demographic).

The most striking aspect of A Charlie Brown Christmas is its message, a message that stood out at the time (and made TV executives nervous) and stands out even more today. The program speaks out against the over-commercialization of Christmas as well as the secularization of the holiday. Charles Schulz wished for the special to tell the “true meaning” of Christmas, which is shown in the special when Linus recites the Nativity story from the Gospel of Luke at the climax of the story. However, a fascinating somewhat less told aspect of the program was that it came about because of commercialization! In fact, the original program had two since-edited scenes featuring its original sponsor, Coca-Cola! Read on to learn about the scenes as well as the very commercial origins of A Charlie Brown Christmas.

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Did the Flintstones Do Commercials for Winston Cigarettes?

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 Flintstones did commercials for Winston Cigarettes.

Like I have noted before, integrated commercials within TV shows was the norm in the early days of television. However, it rarely got more surreal than with the Flintstones, the prime time animated program that began airing in 1960.

You see, one of their sponsors the first two seasons was Winston Cigarettes (just like the Beverly Hillbillies, as noted in this legend, as well).

So at the end of the show, they’d do commercials for the cigarettes. It is quite surreal seeing Fred and Barney sneak off to avoid yard work…

only for Barney to pull out a pack of Winston’s…

and the pair start puffing away…
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Did the Simpsons Edit a Scene Out of Syndication Because it was Offensive to People with Tourette’s Syndrome?

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 Simpsons edited a scene from re-airings of an episode because the original episode was offensive to those with Tourette’s Snydrome.

The Simpsons are notable in being fairly equal opportunity offenders. They mock all sorts of people, places and things, even themselves, the company that airs them (they make fun of FOX a LOT) and even the corporate sponsors of the show (they made fun of Butterfingers while they were in the midst of doing an ad campaign for Butterfingers!).

However, the Simpsons apparently felt they went over the line with an episode in their fourth season titled “Marge Gets a Job.”
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Was a Vibrator One of the Gadgets in Penelope Pitstop’s Compact Pussycat?

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: Penelope Pitstop had a vibrator among the various gadgets in her Compact Pussycat

Reader Kerry wrote in to ask:

Remember Penelope Pitstop from Wacky Races? A friend of mine says that in one of the episodes, Penelope uses a device called a vibrator! That can’t really be true, can it?

To quickly answer your questions, Kerry – yes and yes!

But let’s give some more detail…

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