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Urban Legends

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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 6, 1997 | JON STEINMAN, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Perhaps it's only appropriate that an antidote to the urban legend comes from the suburbs--Agoura Hills, to be precise. It is out of their home at the western end of the San Fernando Valley that David and Barbara Mikkelson track down the origins of tales of impossible tragedy, irony and revenge. More often than not, the Mikkelsons said, a little double-checking is all it takes to debunk a legend told and retold as "verifiable truth."
ARTICLES BY DATE
ENTERTAINMENT
October 17, 2013 | By Martin Tsai
A junkie hipster spin on the unreliable-narrator conceit, "Toad Road" is based on an urban legend about a trail dubbed the Seven Gates of Hell behind a former mental institution in York, Pa. Think of it as the CliffsNotes version of Dante Alighieri's "Inferno. " The film starts out with sort of a Harmony Korine homage, in which unsupervised slouches drop acid, forage for magic mushrooms, wrestle each other to the ground and perform stupid human tricks that are unfit for print. RELATED: More movie reviews by The Times When the up-to-no-good James (James Davidson)
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OPINION
December 28, 2003 | Andrew Noymer
Soft bubblegum has a secret ingredient that keeps it chewy: spider eggs. Not really. But when I was a kid, that was the word on the street. This is a classic example of an urban legend. After a while, we stopped believing it, but we kept hearing it from other kids. What distinguishes urban legends from garden-variety rumors is their staying power. Rumors come and go every day, but urban legends keep circulating.
SPORTS
November 6, 2012 | By Brian Cronin
  FOOTBALL URBAN LEGEND : Doug Flutie's famous Hail Mary touchdown in the 1984 Orange Bowl clinched the Heisman Trophy for Flutie. Down 45-41 with just 28 seconds left and on their own 20, Boston College's football team was led by their quarterback, Doug Flutie, to a shocking 47-45 victory over Miami in the 1984 Orange Bowl with a now legendary 63-yard touchdown pass (going against the wind) to wide receiver Gerald Phelan. It is undoubtedly one of the most amazing plays in sports history.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 25, 1998 | BOB HEISLER, FOR THE TIMES
It won't take you long to recognize the movie college campus of Pendleton U. One professor, one dean, one security guard, one roommate, one boyfriend, one best friend, one secret and one serial killer.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 8, 1998 | ERIKA MILVY, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
The facial blemish that spawned a slew of spiders. The hospital janitor who accidentally killed a patient by unplugging his life support. The child actor who died from ingesting Pop Rocks and soda pop. You know these stories. They're well-circulated at sleep-away camp. They crop up on every college campus.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 19, 2007 | Tony Barboza, Times Staff Writer
On the first day of UC Irvine English professor Carol Burke's Introduction to Folklore course, she asks students to write down any unusual stories they've heard about their campus. Someone always mentions the tunnels. Rumored to have been built as escape routes for professors and as access points for National Guardsmen during student protests in the 1960s, the 1 1/4 -mile concrete corridor runs in a circle below the campus' original buildings, connecting to building basements and vaults.
NEWS
November 23, 1989 | TIM BLANGGER, THE ALLENTOWN MORNING CALL
He's a moderately successful author slouched in a moderately comfortable chair in an immoderately expensive downtown hotel lobby, his latest book cradled on his chest like a small pet. He's a folklorist, someone who studies stories with the moderately confusing name of urban legends. He's been moderately entertaining as a guest on TV's "Late Night with David Letterman" no less than five times--the last time out he actually corrected Letterman on the air. Still, he has been asked back.
BUSINESS
August 14, 2005 | Myron Levin, Times Staff Writer
Merv Grazinski set his Winnebago on cruise control, slid away from the wheel and went back to fix a cup of coffee. You can guess what happened next: The rudderless, driverless Winnebago crashed. Grazinski blamed the manufacturer for not warning against such a maneuver in the owner's manual. He sued and won $1.75 million. His jackpot would seem to erase any doubt that the legal system has lost its mind.
BOOKS
December 17, 1989 | Paul Jordan-Smith, Jordan-Smith is a Los Angeles free-lance writer. and
The way we told it, 30 years ago, it happened up on Mulholland Drive, where we all used to "park." A guy and his girl are making out and the radio is on (though I never left it on when parking up there myself). Suddenly the program is interrupted by a news bulletin to the effect that a maniac has escaped from Camarillo Hospital and made his way to the San Fernando Valley.
SPORTS
August 21, 2012 | Chris Dufresne
With Urban Meyer rejuvenated after a self-imposed health exile and paid ESPN internship, it is only a matter now of Ohio State's serving out a jury's sentence before he leads it back to the Big Ten Conference title and beyond. Meyer tried to stop and smell the roses, but they reminded him too much of the bowl game. Every opened jar of peanut butter, to him, was a variation of the spread. The worst-kept secret in sports was that Meyer would take over in Columbus after Ohio State fired Jim Tressel for lying to the NCAA.
NEWS
July 13, 2012 | By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
The folks at Airfarewatchdog released a list Thursday of what the online travel website considers the 10 scariest airports in the U.S. I was surprised to see airports right in my backyard -- Orange County, San Diego and Catalina Island -- included. I don't regularly fly in or out of these Southland airports (I've never flown to Catalina) and I realize this is all subjective, but certainly I would have heard these claims before? I'm hoping fliers will weigh in and set me straight, but first, here's the list: --Aspen/Pitkin County Airport in Aspen, Colo.
SPORTS
July 10, 2012 | By Brian Cronin
BASEBALL ALL-STAR URBAN LEGEND : Major League Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick overturned the fan voting for two Cincinnati Reds in the 1957 All-Star Game. Ted (Big Klu) Kluszewski was a slugging first baseman for the Cincinnati Reds during the 1950s. A popular player, he was an All-Star in 1953, 1954, 1955 and 1956. However, in 1957, Kluszewski was injured most of the season, so his back-up, George Crowe, became the everyday first baseman for the Reds, and it was Crowe who was on the All-Star ballot as the Reds' first-base representative.
SPORTS
January 27, 2009 | Houston Mitchell
The website snopes.com, which takes a look at urban legends, proving many of them to be false, has turned its skeptical eye toward a myriad Super Bowl legends. Can you guess which of the following are true, and which are false? 1. Sewage systems have broken due to the tremendous number of toilets being flushed simultaneously at halftime. 2. More women are the victims of domestic violence on Super Bowl Sunday than on any other day of the year. 3. Two-thirds of all avocados sold in the U.S.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 20, 2007 | Martin Rubin, Special to The Times
There is seemingly nothing on the subject of the tale of Sweeney Todd -- from its roots in reality, to its finding its way into folklore and subsequently literature, and then onto innumerable stages and the screen -- which Robert L. Mack has not explored in "The Wonderful and Surprising History of Sweeney Todd: The Life and Times of an Urban Legend."
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 26, 2007 | David Pierson, Times Staff Writer
Karana Hattersley-Drayton was leading a team of archaeologists through one of the slew of boarded-up buildings in Chinatown, an enclave long abandoned by the people who gave the area its name more than a century ago. They were there to recover antique ceramics left behind by the former owners of what had been a restaurant and home. Wearing masks to shield against the stench of human waste from squatters and a sewage break, the team descended into the basement.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 13, 2005 | Maria Elena Fernandez, Times Staff Writer
Drawing from urban legends and American folklore for its weekly ghost stories, "Supernatural," takes the WB back to its bloodcurdling roots -- "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel" -- and pushes the genre with visual effects and gore reminiscent of popular horror flicks, such as "The Ring" and "The Grudge." "We have a folklore in mythology that is as rich and developed as any world culture's and as uniquely American as baseball," said Eric Kripke, the creator of the show that debuts at 9 tonight.
HOME & GARDEN
September 20, 1997 | KATHRYN BOLD, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Wayne Small has been selling appliances in Orange County since the '70s, and he still remembers the fear and sometimes loathing that greeted a newfangled cooking contraption called the microwave. "Microwaves had no visible heat source. People were afraid the doors wouldn't close properly and that they'd become brain-dead or sterile," he says. Thirty years ago, Amana Home Appliances introduced the first microwave oven intended for home use.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 19, 2007 | Tony Barboza, Times Staff Writer
On the first day of UC Irvine English professor Carol Burke's Introduction to Folklore course, she asks students to write down any unusual stories they've heard about their campus. Someone always mentions the tunnels. Rumored to have been built as escape routes for professors and as access points for National Guardsmen during student protests in the 1960s, the 1 1/4 -mile concrete corridor runs in a circle below the campus' original buildings, connecting to building basements and vaults.
SPORTS
February 9, 2007 | Helene Elliott
One of the keys to baseball's future lies in Compton, on fields so close to the 91 Freeway that the rumble of trucks and whoosh of traffic are part of the ambience. It lies in the hands of the 36 young men who gathered there last week for the Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy's first high school showcase and displayed their talents for more than 130 scouts.
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