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Hoaxes & Myths

Rumors

Gossip, usually a mixture of truth and untruth passed from one person to another. Often used in character assassination.
 
Rumors | Soom-to-be Rumors
 
Can't find what you're looking for below? Check these hoax debunking sources...
About.com Urban Legends & Folklore | Snopes.com | TruthOrFiction.com

Click on the title to see the complete hoax text, a description, brief history, reporting date in a new browser window. In many cases, the hoax description site may also include reactions from hoax subjects, an extensive history, and provide links to additional analysis and interviews.

 

Rumors

Green Acres' Arnold the Pig Eaten - This rumor has Arnold Ziffel as the main course at a farewell party thrown by the cast and crew after the filming of the last episode of Green Acres. This is NOT true. There were as many as a dozen "Arnolds" used in the filming of the show over it's six-year run, and per their trainer Frank Inn, none were eaten. Per Inn, all were allowed to live out their natural lives after they could no longer be used on the show.

Superman Actor Dies Trying to Fly - This long-running rumor claims that the actor who portrayed Superman on television in the 1950's died when, believing he really did have super powers, he tried to fly. This is NOT true. George Reeves (born George Keefer Brewer in 1914) became typecast and was unable to find work when the series ended in 1957. Despondent and depressed, the 45-year-old Reeves committed suicide on June 16, 1959. In the decades since, fueled by cable TV investigations, many rumors have circulated that Reeves was murdered. Snopes.com covers this more thoroughly on their web site.

Pokemon Causes Seizures - This rumor claims that an episode of the popular kid's TV show Pokemon caused over 600 young children in Japan to have epileptic seizures. This is NOT true.

Leave it to Beaver Star Killed in Viet Nam - According to this rumor, Leave it to Beaver Star Jerry Mathers was killed in the Viet Nam War. This is NOT true. Although Mathers did enter the Air National Guard after graduation from high school, he did not serve outside the U.S., and is still alive and well, appearing in a poorly received updated version of Leave it to Beaver in recent years. Read the really fascinating history of this rumor at snopes.com.

Leave it to Beaver First to Show Toilet on TV - This rumor claims that the first toilet ever shown on TV was during an episode of Leave it to Beaver (1957-1963). This is NOT completely true. Well into the late '70's no toilets, let alone bathrooms, were shown on network TV, although in a compromise with network censors to save an already taped episode of Leave it to Beaver in 1957, the bathroom and the toilet tank were briefly shown. Technically this rumor isn't true only because no portion of the toilet bowl was shown.

Celebrity Mistaken for Gardener Gives Snappy Comeback - This story has Thurgood Marshall, the first Black member of the U.S. Supreme Court, giving a snappy comeback when mistaken for a gardener by a passing motorist. This story has been told of various other celebrities, changing with each incarnation. As appropriate as it might seem, this did not happen.

Female Astronaut Cheats Death a Second Time - This rumor claims that a female astronaut who had been bumped from the crew of the ill-fated shuttle Challenger mission in 1986, was also bumped from the crew of the shuttle Columbia in 2003 - cheating death a second time. This is NOT true. In reality an astronaut named Barbara Morgan was a backup for the late Christa McAuliffe, who died in the Challenger disaster, and only would have flown if McAuliffe had been unable to. Although Morgan was slated for a November 2003 shuttle mission, she was never scheduled for the disastrous February 2003 Columbia mission.

Dude, You're Getting A...rrested - This rumor has Benjamin Curtis, the actor who played Dell Computer's "Steven" in television commercials, and known for his one-line "Dude, you're getting a DELL", being fired by the computer manufacturer (or more likely by their advertising agency) after his arrest for possession of marijuana. This is NOT true. Although Curtis WAS arrested for possession, the arrest did NOT affect Benjamin Curtis's contract. The TV commerical character "Steven" was already on his way out as anyone who regularly watches TV could tell you, and insiders confirm. Snopes.com completes the story... click on the link above, and be sure to read the last line where Barbara Mikkelson comes through with a great pun.

Soon-to-be Rumors

This is a special class of hoax. These are tales supposedly conceived by Snopes.com, and for the most part, not yet in circulation as rumors. Since it's only a matter of time before someone plagiarizes and circulates Snopes' literary efforts, we could argue that it wasn't particularly wise of them to create their "Lost Legends" section (our only criticism of Snopes.com). While most of us will immediately realize that the lost legends, whether labeled "true" or "false", are pure fantasy... 75% of the public will fall for the tales and start spreading them through cyberspace. One of their creations, Kentucky Fried Hoax, is already in full circulation, and no longer included in this soon-to-be section of this site.

Snopes.com "Lost Legends" Index
Snopes.com "Lost Legends" Disclaimer (titled "False Authority")

TV's Mister Ed Was Really a Zebra - This original Snopes.com tale would have us believe that TV's Mister Ed the talking horse was played by a Zebra, it's stripes only hidden by the fact that the series was shot on black-and-white film. Mr Ed was NOT a Zebra. Read the bogus article. Read "False Authority".

Tarzana CA Was Not Named After the Tarzan Character - Snopes.com "Lost Legends' would have us believe that Tarzana CA was not named after Edgar Rice Burrough's film character Tarzan, but rather that the ape man was named after the Southern California city. We aren't so sure why one is so much less believable than the other, thus the point of this spoof is lost, but apparently Tarzana CA WAS named after the Burrough's character. Read the bogus article. Read "False Authority".

Sing a Song of Sixpence Nursery Rhyme Was Coded Message - This Snopes.com tale has already had it's debut on national television. The series "Mostly True Stories: Urban Legends Revealed", which airs on The Learning Channel (TLC), falsely reported this tale as true. This nursery rhyme was NOT used by Blackbeard to recruit pirates. Read Snopes debunking of their own tale... soon to be wide-spread hoax... via the link above. Read the bogus article. Read "False Authority".

Mississippi Deletes Fractions and Decimals From School Curriculum - This original Snopes.com tale leads us to believe that Mississippi legislators voted to eliminate both fractions and decimal points from the mathematics curriculum in state public secondary schools. State legislators did NOT eliminate fractions or decimals from the curriculum. Read the bogus article. Read "False Authority".

Play Entitled "Closed for Remodeling" Causes Uproar - This Snopes.com tale has playwrite George Bernard Shaw titling a play "Closed for Remodeling". As the story goes, someone finally figured out why the audiences were staying away... most people thought that the theatre was closed for remodeling. This tale is NOT true. Read the bogus article. Read "False Authority".

Poseidon Adventure Played as Titanic Sank - Snopes.com came up with this piece of literary genius, that would have Shelley Winters turning over in her grave... if she were dead. This story would lead us to believe that the silent version of The Poseidon Adventure was being shown on the night of April 14, 1912 as the cruise ship Titanic sank in the North Pacific after hitting an iceberg. This is NOT true, the Poseidon Adventure wouldn't be written for another 58+ years. Read the bogus article. Read "False Authority".

 

 

 

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