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e-Briefing | TIP OF THE WEEK

About Those Alligators in New York City's Sewer System ...

January 03, 2002|David Colker

For entertainment online, it's hard to beat urban legends, those wild rumors (some of which turn out to be true) that spread quickly worldwide in the digital age.

The most complete listing of the legends that have been conveyed on the Internet can be found at the Urban Legends Reference Pages (www.snopes2.com).

The Snopes site, named after the fictional family that appears in several William Faulkner novels, is maintained by Barbara and David Mikkelson as a hobby.

It's where to turn after getting an e-mail proclaiming that Nostradamus predicted the Sept. 11 attacks, that terrorists are planning to bomb a mall on Halloween, or that famed novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez penned an essay about his pending demise.

Other popular notions: Humphrey Bogart was as a toddler the model for the Gerber baby, Susan Lucci is the daughter of Phyllis Diller, and Pia Zadora was so terrible in a stage performance of "The Diary of Anne Frank" that when the Nazis arrived in the house audience members yelled, "She's in the attic!"

All are false.

Also, at least a couple of times a month, e-mails come in about a supposedly missing or sick child--all of those also have turned out to be hoaxes.

It makes for good reading.

The site is divided into several categories, including weddings, films, television, war, science, love, religion and the ever-popular Disney.

No, Walt was not frozen. The "Aladdin" soundtrack does not call on teenagers to "take off your clothes." And the look of Tinker Bell was not based on Marilyn Monroe.

But it is true that the original version of the 1977 film "The Rescuers" contained a very fleeting image of a topless woman.

And in 1946, the studio made an animated film titled "The Story of Menstruation."

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David Colker

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