Tall Tales, Hoaxes & Scams: 10 Great Hollywood Tricks - Mania.com

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Tall Tales, Hoaxes & Scams: 10 Great Hollywood Tricks

Hollywood Tom Foolery on the Public

By Hanso     May 24, 2010

Tall Tales, Hoaxes & Scams: 10 Great Hollywood Tricks
© Mania/Bob Trate


People will do anything to make a headline, even making up something and passing it off as fact. That’s why you can’t believe everything you see or hear, but don’t worry because we at Mania got you covered and took the time to set the record straight on a few Hollywood tall tales, hoaxes and scams.

10. Munchkin Hanging

What’s the Story? In 1939’s The Wizard of Oz there was a great tragedy. It is told that a Munchkin, member of the Lollipop Guild, had his heart broken by a lovely Munchkinette. The Munchkin, devastated by the news, looked himself in the mirror and saw that with a hairdo like his the chances of finding love again were slim. Heartbroken and depressed the Munchkin hung himself on the set of the movie as the cameras were rolling. If you look closely, right after Dorothy finds the Tin Man and they continue their journey on the yellow brick road, you can see the poor bastard hanging from the rope.
And the truth shall set you free: Truth is no Munchkin was harmed during the filming of the movie. What really happened was that birds were released in the set to make up the fauna of Oz. What appears to be the shadow of a poor bastard hanging on a rope is actually a bird, one called a Crane to be exact, moving in the background.

9. Ghost Boy

What’s The Story? Back in a time when people cared about Steve Gutenberg, he starred in a film alongside Tom Selleck and Ted Danson titled, Three Men & a Baby. The movie contains a shot of the ghost of young boy standing in front of a window. As the story goes, in the apartment where Three Men & a Baby was filmed, a young boy tired of living in this Lord Xenu forsaken world, took a shotgun and pulled the trigger on himself. After his death he became an angry spirit who haunted the apartment with hopes of having a cameo in a Gutenberg movie. The boy got his wish, if you watch the movie and pause it in a specific scene that has Ted Danson talking with his mom, you can see the boy’s shadow in the window nearby. Spooky!
And the truth shall set you free: The truth is there is no ghost boy anywhere in the film. The movie wasn’t shot in an apartment but in a studio, making it impossible for the kid to be haunting his old apartment. While it’s clear you can see a shadowy figure in the scene mentioned above, the figure belongs to a cardboard cutout of Ted Danson that apparently someone forgot to takeout of the scene.

8. Faces of Death

What’s the Story?   Faces of Death is a deeply disturbing film, not The Human Centipede disturbing mind you, but pretty close. Basically the movie claims that all the deaths shown on film are real.
And the truth shall set you free: Unlike The Human Centipede which per the trailer is one 100 percent accurate, Faces of Death is not entirely real. While some of the footage contained in the movie is real, think the deaths shown from actual news footage, the fact is most of the on screen deaths are good old Hollywood magic.

7. The Muscles from Brussels Vs. Ivan Drago

What’s the story? In 1992’s Cannes Film Festival, Jean Claude Van Damme was walking down a red carpet event when Dolph Laundgren bumped into him. Now Van Damme may be a midget next to Dolph, but if one thing is certain you don’t bump into Van Damme and get away with it. Feeling disrespected by Dolph’s actions, JCVD started talking noise to Dolph and pushed him. Dolph retaliated by shoving JCVD and a tiny fight broke out between the two men in front of hundreds of paparazzis.
And the truth shall set you free: The whole “fight” was publicity stunt. JCVD had talked with Dolph to stage a little encounter so they could drum up interest for a movie they were doing together called Universal Soldier where they would in fact go headto-head. FYI, had the fight been real best believe JCVD wins that all day everyday. Remember, speed kills.

6. David Manning

What’s the story? Mr. Manning is a respected movie critic who works with the Connecticut-based newspaper, “The Ridgefield Press.” His blurbs can be found in films like A Knight’s Tale where he said, “Heath Ledger is this summer’s hot new star” and Rob Scheneider’s The Animal where he proclaimed “It’s a winner!” Apparently Mr. Manning really loves Sony Picture films.
And the truth shall set you free: Look, we can buy the fact that someone would proclaim Deuce Bigelow: Male Gigolo a winner but saying The Animal is a winner is a taking it a step too far. “Newsweek” reporter John Horn realized that its impossible for any individual to think The Animal is a “winner” so he decided to look into David Manning. When he called “The Ridgefield Express,” he found out no one had heard of this Mr. Manning. After digging a little further the truth came out. David Manning was a fabrication of a Sony marketing executive who used Manning’s quote to drum up interest for Sony movies.

5. This Man

What’s the story? In 2006, a psychologist was treating a woman who had a recurring dream about a man she did not know. Her psychologist asked her to draw this man of her dreams and the woman drew the face of a guy that looks eerily familiar to Gargamel from the Smurfs. A couple of weeks later another patient walks in the office with the same dream of a man he has never met in his life and when asked to draw the face he sees, he draws the face of the same man that the woman had drawn. The psychologist not understanding why his patients keep drawing Gargamel when the Smurfs have been off the air so long decides to send the pictures to fellow psychologists treating people with sleeping disorders. Guess what? Those patients had also seen “this man.” The psychologists then put their findings on the Internet and bam! It turns out people all over the world have had their dreams invaded by “this man”.
And the truth shall set you free: Alas, this is fake. The real story behind “This Man” is that an Italian by the name of Andrea Natella created the website and the whole story about this Gargamel-looking fellow haunting people’s dream. Natella owns a marketing company and has been known to create fake events to promote things. What he was promoting is still unknown but we do know that a couple of years later the story got picked up by Hollywood and now Sam Raimi & Bryan Bertino are hooking up to bring the story of “This Man” to a theatre near you.

4. The Blair Witch

What’s the Story? 1775 in Burketsivlle, Maryland there was a woman named Ely Kedward who practiced witchcraft and killed seven children. Due to these horrendous acts she was kicked out of town and sent to the woods nearby where she eventually died. Death would not be the end for Ely for her spirit remained haunting those woods and picked up the catchy moniker of “The Blair Witch.” Two hundred and fifteen years later, three college kids went to Burketsville in search of the legend of the Blair Witch and found themselves dead at her hands.
And the truth shall set you free: Lies, all lies! The entire legend of the Blair Witch was fabricated and put on the website blairwitch.com in order to promote the documentary/found footage style movie titled, The Blair Witch Project. The hoax worked wonders for the film, which ended grossing a whole lot of coin.

3. The Amytiville Horror

What’s the story? In 1974 the address of 112 Ocean Avenue, Amityville, New York was the scene of a horrendous crime. A man by the name of Ronald Defeo Jr went bat shit crazy and killed his parents and four siblings. Thirteen months later the Lutz family bought the house and lived it only for 28 days. Reason for the brief stay? Due to the killings the house was haunted and during those 28 days the Lutz family witnessed supernatural events like demonic figures in the house, walls oozing slime and strange voices.
And the truth shall set you free: While the Defeo murders are true, the events the Lutz family went through during those 28 days aren’t. Many families have lived in the house located in 112 Ocean Avenue after the Lutz family moved out and not one single family has seen or heard anything supernatural. The truth is that Papa & Mama Lutz were fame whores who spun this tale of deception and used writer Jay Anson to turn the tale into a book so they could get paid. The book was sold under the impression that everything was true and out of that book they got TV appearances and more importantly a movie franchise.

2. Alien Autopsy

What’s the story? British producer Ray Santilli told the world he was in possession of footage that depicted the alien autopsy of one of the aliens that landed in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947. When the footage aired, it did indeed contain military doctors performing an autopsy on an alien cadaver, thus proving that extraterrestrial life existed.
And the truth shall set you free: Sorry, no autopsies were performed. Experts from different fields noticed that the medical instruments used for the autopsy were not handled correctly and the alien body’s movement made it seem like it was rubber. In 2006, Ray Santilli finally came clean declaring the video was fake and had been shot in an apartment.

1. War of the Worlds

What’s the story? A radio broadcast reported the news that aliens riding Tripods had invaded earth to conquer mankind. Scared Americans believing they were about to get anally probed hit the streets and mass hysteria ensued.
And the truth shall set you free: Thankfully no one was anally probed because the news broadcast was fake. Apparently the people listening to the radio missed the beginning of the broadcast where they said Orson Wells would be reading H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds. That’s all it was, a simple radio reading of a book made to sound like it was a news bulletin.

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NotAFan 5/21/2010 2:21:23 AM

WTF? Didn't I read almost the exact same article on cracked like 2 years ago?  What are you guys recycling again? And thanks for padding the list with some random internet hoax, no ones ever heard of! You might as well included that drinking pop rox and coke will make your stomach explode!

karas1 5/21/2010 4:20:41 AM

War Of The Worlds was a radio play, not Orson Welles reading a novel.  Back before TV, radio was the entertainment of choice for the masses and radio plays, with different actors reading different parts and realistic sound effects, were comon and popular. 

The beginning of The War Of The Worlds broadcast did indeed sound like a real news broadcast with big band music being interrupted by realistic sounding news bulletins.  Many listeners were listening to a popular variety show on a different channel and after a popular commedian finished his act and a particurlarly dull musical number started, a lot of those listeners channel surfed to the War Of The Worlds broadcast and mistook it for real breaking news.  The pretend news bulletins were a storytelling technique that hadn't been used before so it didn't occur to many listeners that the "news" wasn't true.

Hobbs 5/21/2010 6:28:57 AM

The War Of The Worlds radio thing showed you how powerful news can be.

I don't care if Amityville was fake, there is no way in hell I'm moving into a home where some guy murdered his family.  

jedibanner 5/21/2010 6:33:25 AM

Wow...I was gonna mention some facts about WOTW but, you beat me to it Karas1, good work.

karas1 5/21/2010 8:38:36 AM

I was a communications major.  I know all ABOUT the WOTW broadcast.

DayDrumFour 5/21/2010 10:19:51 AM

My favorite movie hoax/urban legend is about the filming of The Omen (1976).

Google it. I'd put that as #1 on a list like this one.

HotDogs 5/24/2010 2:31:25 AM

I never bit into the Blair Bitch hype when it came out.  There was just something about it that smelled of garbage.  I was right.

hanso 5/24/2010 2:37:52 AM

 I said it before but guess this was the correct place to say it.  I thank you Lady Kara S for setting me straight on War of the Worlds.  I mostly went off the top of my head for this thing hence the mistake.

Hobbs - never buy a house on top of a indian burying ground either.


Chopsaki 5/24/2010 3:37:11 AM

"Back in a time when people cared about Steve Gutenberg, he starred in a film alongside Tom Selleck and Ted Danson titled, Three Men & a Baby."

Ouch Hanso, I hear Three Men and a Bride is in development fear the resurection of the Guttenberg! Pretty interesting about David Manning. Sony also had used employees posing as moviegoers in television commercials to praise Mel Gibson's The Patriot.

On August 3, 2005, Sony made an out-of-court settlement and agreed to refund $5 each to dissatisfied customers who saw Hollow Man, The Animal, The Patriot, A Knight's Tale, or Vertical Limit in American theatres, under the impression that it would be a great movie due to Manning's reviews. (Wikipedia)

VinJoy 5/24/2010 4:04:21 AM

 I knew Blair Witch was bogus but I enjoyed it as a one time rental. Faces of Death had me fooled. Very disturbing to watch since I was a teen when I saw it. Is the scene where the train hits the lady and she's thrown like a rag doll, was that fake?


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