7/10/2013

Alien chestburster scene (John Hurt)

Truth is stranger than fiction and there are some "so-crazy-they-must-be-true" facts in science fiction history. Unfortunately there are some "so-crazy-but-not-true facts" too.


10. Every Episode of Seinfeld Has a Reference to Superman.

Seinfeld Superman magnet Source

The Myth: The television show Seinfeld is known for two things: "The Soup Nazi" and Superman. Jerry Seinfeld is a huge Superman fan, and every episode has a reference to the comic book character. You just have to know where to look.

The Shocking Truth: In reality, not every episode has a Superman reference. "Yeah right," you're probably thinking. "You're forgetting about the Superman magnet on the refrigerator. Idiot." Let's not get personal, Dude! They only added the magnet in the fourth season.

If you're skeptical, ask Barry Freiman, the owner of the fan site Superman Homepage. He would know. He knows everything there is to know about the "Man of Steel." He viewed every single episode and listed every single reference.

You know what? It's a short list. He lists 45 episodes out of 180 episodes. That means less than half the episodes have a Superman reference.

So there. Now, who's the idiot? I'm rubber and you're glue.


9. Frau Blucher Means "Horse Glue"


The Myth: In Young Frankenstein (1974), every time Frankenstein's assistant Frau Blucher's (Cloris Leachman) name is mentioned, the horses whinny in fear. That's because Blucher in German means "Horse Glue," and they're afraid they'll be sent to the glue factory!

The Shocking Truth: Frau Blucher does not mean "glue" in German or any other language. A German translation of "horse glue" would be "Der Klebstoff" or "Der Leim." Blucher is just a common German name, and Mel Brooks was just making fun of a common horror movie cliche of using dramatic music for a villain. Let's not try to make things more complicated than they are.


8. Harrison Ford Was a Complete Unknown Before Being Cast as Han Solo



The Myth: George Lucas saw a carpenter working on the set and cast the completely unknown actor Harrison Ford to play the part of Han Solo.

The Shocking Truth: Harrison Ford was already a working actor when George Lucas cast him in Star Wars. Ford had come to Hollywood in 1966 and started doing bit parts in films as an extra. His first big speaking part was in The Long Ride Home (1967), starring Glenn Ford, George Hamilton and Inger Stevens. Not a bad gig!

Ford got steady work through the late 1960s and early 1970s on television with roles on shows like Gunsmoke, Ironside, The Virginian, The F.B.I., Love, American Style, and Kung Fu. To support himself and his family, he started doing carpentry work. This was the smartest thing he could have done, since it opened a lot of doors.

Director George Lucas hired him to build cabinets for his home and cast him for his film American Graffiti (1973) as Bob Falfa. Ford was a big enough actor to refuse to cut his hair for the role. Lucas' director friend Francis Ford Coppola hired Ford to expand his office and gave him a small role in his next film, The Conversation (1974).

By the time Lucas hired Harrison Ford for Star Wars, he was a successful actor and not an "unknown."


7. The Daleks Were Designed From Pepper Pots


The Myth: The Daleks, evil cyborg villains of Doctor Who, look just like pepper pots (pepper shakers) because that's where the designer got the idea.

The Shocking Truth: It's a brilliant design, but it has nothing to do with pepper shakers.

In fact, the pepper pot (or pepper shaker) story came from a lunch with designer Ray Cusick and Bill Roberts, the special effects expert who would make the Daleks. Mr. Cusick picked up a pepper pot and moved it around the table saying, "It's going to move like that - no visible means." It was just used for demonstration.

"Ever since then people say I was inspired by a pepper pot - but it could have been the salt pot I picked up," he said. "When I'm asked what I was inspired by, I suppose it was really a system of logic because I realised that you've got to have an operator to operate them. If you had anything mechanical, 10 to one on the take it would go wrong, so you've got a human being in there who would be absolutely totally reliable...

"I then thought 'Well, the operator's got to sit down', [so I] drew a seat, ergonomic height, 18in, got the operator down, and then drew round him. That's how the basic shape appeared."

That's right. The Daleks were originally supposed to be guys riding bicycles.

He added, "People do say I was inspired by a pepper pot - but I always think 'If that's all it takes to become a designer then it's a doddle'."

A doddle indeed. For everyone outside Britain a "doddle" is "something easily accomplished." Doddle's funnier, though.


6. Martin Landau Was Originally Supposed to Play Spock

 
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The Myth: Martin Landau was Gene Roddenberry's first choice to play Commander Spock in Star Trek. But he turned it down for Mission Impossible.

The Shocking Truth: Leonard Nimoy was Gene Roddenberry's first choice. It doesn't help that Martin Landau repeatedly says that he turned down the role. "I can't play wooden," Landau often says. "It's the antithesis of why I became an actor."

In fact, Nimoy inspired the creation of Mr. Spock.  He guest-starred on the police drama The Lieutenant, which Gene Roddenberry produced.  Roddenberry thought Nimoy would be a good alien because of his thin face and sharp features.

The book Star Trek: The Original Series 365 by D.C. Fontana answers the question. A 1964 memo from Gene Roddenberry to Krewin Coughlin titled "STAR TREK CASTING" lists "some of the names which have been considered or suggested by anyone for the various roles". The memo says, "MISTER SPOCK: Leonard Nimoy, Rex Holman, DeForest Kelly, Michael Dunn."

That's it. Landau is a fine actor and would go on to star in the science fiction show Space: 1999, but he was never the first choice for Mr. Spock.

Sorry, Martin.


5. The Cast of Alien Had No Idea What the Chestburster Looked Like


The Myth: The cast had no idea what was coming out of Kane's (John Hurt) chest and their reaction to the chestburster alien was real.

The Shocking Truth: The cast of Alien (1979) had read the script, seen the model of the chestburster, and knew what it looked like.

Veronica Cartwright, who played Lambert told Empire magazine, "Well, we knew what was going to happen. We read the script. We weren’t stupid. We just didn’t know what the h**l we were supposed to be looking at. They showed us a mock-up, but they didn’t show how it was going to work. They just said, 'Its head will move and it’s going to have teeth.'"

The script has the following description: "Kane's face screws into a mask of agony. A red stain, a smear of blood, blossoms on his chest. The fabric on his shirt rips open and a small head, the size of a fist, punches out..." So, there's no surprise that something is coming out of the chest and that it's an alien.

What they didn't know was that director Ridley Scott was going to shoot a gazillion gallons of blood from the fake body.

Ridley Scott strives for realism and decided to get a strong reaction from the cast. He said, "The reactions were going to be the most difficult thing. If an actor is just acting terrified, you can’t get the genuine look of raw, animal fear. What I wanted was a hardcore reaction."

To add realism, director Ridley Scott got leftover organs from the slaughterhouse and put them in the fake chest cavity. Production designer Roger Christian, who got the organs, said, "It was quite fresh but would cook under the lights, so there had to be no hanging around." After a few minutes under the hot lights, the stench was over-powering.

The whole set was covered in a plastic bag and everybody wore raincoats. John Hurt sat under a table with his head and arms in a fake chest stuffed with organs and thick tubes running underneath to buckets placed around the set. They covered up the model with clothes and sent the cast on set. The actors had no idea what they were getting into, but the raincoats made them worried.

The smell immediately hit them. Cartwright said the smell of formaldehyde was overpowering. Sigourney Weaver said the smell was "just awful" and everyone was probably already nauseous.

On the first take, the model wasn't able to break through the cloth. But the cast probably got a good idea what was coming out.

On the second take, the chestburster tore out of John Hurt's chest and blood started to fly everywhere. Christian said they were pumping "something in the range of six gallons of blood" all over the set. A jet of blood "about three feet long" hit Veronica Cartwright, and she immediately passed out.

The rest of the cast freaked out too. Even Executive Producer Ivor Powell said, "I hadn't expected it to be quite that intense."

Imagine how you'd feel if you walked into a room that smelled of rotting flesh and had gallons of fake blood hit you in the face? You'd be surprised too. Which is why the scene is so incredible.


4. Back to the Future Predicted the 1997 World Series


The Myth: Back to the Future, which is set in the future world of 2015, predicted that the Florida Marlins would win the 1997 World Series.

The Shocking Truth: It's true the film has a holographic sports broadcast that says the Chicago Cubs beats an unnamed Florida team to win the World Series. But the year isn't specified and, frankly, it wouldn't make sense for a billboard in 2015 to post the results of the 1997 World Series.

Plus, it's a stretch to say that they predicted the Florida Marlins would win a World Series when the team didn't exist and the logo has an alligator instead of a marlin.

If Florida gets a baseball team named the Florida Gators and they win a World Series over the Chicago Cubs in 2015, then everyone has my permission to freak out.


3. George Lucas Added the Wampa Scene to Hide Hamill's Plastic Surgery


The Myth: Right before they started filming Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980), actor Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) was involved in a horrific car crash that severely disfigured his face. After massive amounts of plastic surgery, he returns to the set, but he looked different and had stitches in his face.

George Lucas was forced to come up with a scene to explain his appearance. He has Luke get attacked by a huge creature, known as a Wampa, that slashes him across the face. The scene goes down in history and the secret is safe. Except...

The Shocking Truth: Mark Hamill was involved in a car accident, but it had no effect on the filming of  Empire Strikes Back. The accident happened in 1977, right before the opening of Star Wars, over two years before filming the second movie.

In a 1999 interview with Starlog magazine (#40) Mark Hamill described the accident, and it's nothing.

"I had the accident way before Star Wars came out, but what really happened has been terribly distorted." Hamill said, "I broke my nose, that's it! But over the three years I've read accounts about how my face has been reconstructed with plastic surgery and how I was pulling myself along the highway with one arm looking for help. I even heard that I drove off a cliff! That was the best one of all.

"To set the record straight: It was about six o'clock in the evening. I had a brand new BMW and I was playing the 1812 Overture on the sound system. It had terrific sound. Also, in a car like that you can lose sight of how fast you're going—I'd always driven clunky cars. Then, suddenly, I realized I was on the wrong freeway and it might take me an hour and 45 minutes to find my way back. It was a split-second decision. I saw my exit ramp three lanes over and I thought I could make it, so I turned the wheel sharply.

"Well, I was going about 70 and the car flipped. I broke my nose and that was all."

In another interview he said, "A lot of people speculated that the scene where the Wampa attacked me in the beginning of Empire was written in because of the accident. I even asked George about it myself. He said 'No,' that Luke was always captured by the Wampa."


2. The Ending of King Kong vs. Godzilla is Different For U.S. Audiences

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 The Myth: The movie King Kong vs. Godzilla (otherwise known as King Kong vs. Prometheus, キングコング対ゴジラ or Kingu Kongu Tai Gojira) ends with King Kong and Godzilla fighting. The film has a different ending for the U.S. with King Kong winning, because they didn't want to make American fans angry. In the Japanese version, Godzilla wins the battle!

The Shocking Truth: The ending is exactly the same in both versions. It's true, some things in King Kong vs. Godzilla were changed for the U.S. release. The film was re-cut, footage was re-shot and an American actor, Michael Keith, was added to play a UN reporter newscaster. All of this was to give the film a more American feel.

This rumor gained traction in the days before home video and the Internet. Both versions of the film end the same way: King Kong and Godzilla crash into the ocean in a fierce battle and Kong comes up and swims to the island.

Here's the thing. Godzilla is a water monster. Can he really drown? No. So we can assume he survived, even though he didn't come up out of the water.

There is one difference in the soundtrack, though. At the end of the film, as it fades to black, we hear Godzilla's roar followed by King Kong's. In the American soundtrack we only hear Kong.


1. Nestor Carbonell Wears Guy-Liner


The Myth: Actor Nestor Carbonell, who plays the mayor of Gotham City in the Dark Knight, Richard Alpert on Lost and Bat-Manuel on The Tick wears mascara.

The Shocking Truth: Carbonell said the following, "Let me make this perfectly clear: I do not. I do not wear make-up, and I do not wear eye-liner." He recognizes that a lot of people believe it though.

In fact, Damon Lindelof said that when they first saw dailies of Nestor, they thought, "Someone’s gotta talk to him about the eyeliner situation." But he added, "And he does not wear any mascara, no eyeliner, nothing. He is completely 100 percent sans makeup." Not only did they not put mascara on him, they actually put a base on his eyelashes to make them less noticeable.

Carbonell laughs at it now. "This is something I've had to deal with my whole life." He said, "When I was a little kid, I was about five years old and living in Mexico, and I remember my mom’s friends would come over and say, ‘Oh, look at his eyelashes!’

"I got such a complex about it that I ended up taking scissors to them once, and my mom stopped me and said, 'What are you doing?' But they were talking about them, and I got a lot of comments about my eye-liner.

"Eventually, I got over it and was, like, 'What are you gonna do?' But I definitely had a complex when I was a kid about having dark eyelashes."

Nestor just has dark and lovely eyelashes.

Did you believe any of these myths before? Have you heard of any other myths that are so crazy they sound true, but aren't?

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8 comments:

Pat Dilloway said...

"carpentry opens a lot of doors" Good one! And it closes them too. I probably believed some of those like Nestor Carbonell's eyeliner but that's because I'm too lazy to go look up the truth.

Maurice Mitchell said...

Bazinga!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'd always heard they changed the ending of King Kong vs. Godzilla. Although in reality, a fire-breathing lizard should beat a hairy ape.
I need to watch Young Frankenstein again. Great film.

DAVID WALSTON said...

Well that just killed half of my trivial knowledge. Just the other day I was talking with a co-worker about Godzilla & used "it had a different ending in the US".

*looks over shoulder for co-worker*

*hangs head in shame*

Hart Johnson said...

HA! Nice job!!! I particularly love that bit of Dalek history. Men on bicycles... NICE!

MPax said...

I wish I had such nice eyelashes. Great myths you've debunked here.

Matt Conlon said...

Ah HAH! Found you!

When I changed over to Disqus for the comments, it sent me to your site, rather than to your gravatar profile, where I couldn't find a link to your site! :D

You know, it's pretty unbelievable, as I love movies, but I've never heard of any of those myths!

Kev D. said...

Number 4 made me laugh pretty hard. But as for NUmber 10, anyone who only knows Seinfeld for Soup Nazi and Superman DESERVES to believe all of these rumors. For shame...


Great post, lot of fun to read!

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