The Goldblum Effect: Hey, I can coin phrases on the internet too!

By now, everyone who spends any time on-line has heard of the Mandela Effect, which is the phenomenon whereby a large group of people believe something happened in the past but it didn’t really. It was coined in 2010 when a blogger discovered that a group of people shared her belief that Nelson Mandela had died in the 1980s during his imprisonment. It gained traction when people began writing about their beliefs that the Berenstain Bears were actually the “Berenstein” Bears, which led to their beliefs that these glitches were because of parallel worlds and not because “Berenstein” feels more common than “Berenstain.” People have too much time on their hands, man. I think I first encountered it either with the Berenstain/Berenstein thing or with the thing about Sinbad starring in a pirate genie movie in the 1990s, which many people claim existed. Now, the obvious reason for this phenomenon is because memories are weird and people are idiots, but that’s not enough for some people – parallel worlds must be involved!!!! But I’m not going to write more about the Mandela Effect. I’m here to write about something that I’ve coined “The Goldblum Effect.” It’s sort of the opposite of the Mandela Effect.

The Goldblum Effect is when you’re convinced something exists and no one else remembers it … but you’re totally right. I call it the Goldblum Effect because the first time this happened to me was when I became convinced that Jeff Goldblum starred as Ichabod Crane in a television movie of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, which I watched around Halloween when I was about 10 and it scared the shit out of me. For years I would bring this up and no one knew what I was talking about. It was never on television and no one ever brought it up when Goldblum was interviewed or anything, so I began to think I made it up. But then, lo and behold, Al Gore created the internet, and we could see stuff like this:

I tried to crop the bottom part off, but I failed. Sorry!

Look, right there, before he guest-starred on Laverne & Shirley and his career, presumably, took off. Okay, I was only 9 when it came out, but I was vindicated!!!! I still haven’t met anyone who has seen it or even heard of it, but at least I know I’m not crazy. I’M NOT CRAZY!!!!!

The Goldblum Effect doesn’t have much traction in the internet age, I’ll admit. Back in the late 1980s/early 1990s, I knew only two other people who knew Star Blazers existed, and that’s because I watched it with them in 1980. I also knew only one other person who knew that Battle of the Planets existed. One of the many, many reasons I fell in love with my wife was because she knew what Star Blazers was. We still make jokes about holding our glasses like Desslok and chanting his name like the Gamilons do:

But these days, if you believe you saw or read something and no one else does, you can probably find it on the internet. So the Goldblum Effect isn’t as compelling as the Mandela Effect, because that’s trying to prove a negative. If you believe Sinbad starred in a pirate genie movie but it’s not on the internet, you still might be able to find it tucked away in a closet somewhere or at Mike’s Movie Madness, because you know they have a copy! But if you want to prove something exists, you can just Google it. What a world we live in!

I kind of miss the days when you couldn’t quickly prove something existed easily and people thought you were crazy for believing that it actually did exist. So what are some examples that you guys can think of? Was it those books about some smart kid in Utah that you loved when you were small but couldn’t remember the name of? (Found it!) Was it that movie starring Gerard Depardieu and Roman Polanski, of all people, that was so gripping that you wish it was on DVD or Blu-Ray but it’s fucking not?!?!?!? (Damn it!!!) Let me know in the comments! In the meantime, we have this:

Look at that good-looking dude!

22 Comments

  1. For me, for several years, it was one of the worst movies ever made, made even weirder by the way it foisted itself upon me. back in the late 1970s, I fell asleep on the sofa with the TV on one of the local channels, and woke up at about 2:30 AM, about a half-hour into a black & white movie starring Roddy McDowell and Tuesday Weld that seemed to be an early ’60s “beach blanket bingo” version of Faust. The end credit song revealed its title to be LORD LOVE A DUCK. I couldn’t find anyone who’d ever heard of it. Decades later, Amazon, IMDB and Wikipedia proved I was not mad. Once I acquired a copy, my quest was completed. After screening the film once, my wife and children decreed that I was never ever again permitted to choose or a film for family viewing.

  2. I mentioned mine a few weeks back; HAUSER’S MEMORY starring David McCallum. Pretty sure that even the people who made it didn’t realize it was a thematic sequel to DONOVAN’S BRAIN by the same author.

    Another one that no one believed me about for DECADES was the Hanna-Barbera live-action/animated Huckleberry Finn. Now you can get it on DVD…

    Even I had forgotten that it was the mighty Ted Cassidy playing Injun Joe, though.

    And for the longest time, I was sure no one but me remembered the action segments on The Banana Splits show.

    Spy Game, the TV show, always gets overshadowed by the movie with Robert Redford and Brad Pitt. But I loved it. Thankfully, it’s up on YouTube now too. But during the early 2000s most people were sure I was making it up.

    In fact all of these things are now available on home video or up on YouTube, or both. Even Buddy Faro.

    Everything EXCEPT Hauser’s Memory, damn it…

  3. Jeff Nettleton

    The one that drove me nuts for years was a Saturday morning live action show. It featured a group of kids with a secret entrance to a clubhouse, though a fence, that swung up like a drawbridge. I also remembered something about a double-decker buss and aliens. I could never remember the title and no one remembered anything like it, even my older brother. However, while flipping through a book about the history of the Harlem Globetrotters, I saw a chapter about their Saturday morning cartoon, with a mention of the competition, Here Come the Double-Deckers. I immediately went on imdb (when I got home) and checked and there were a couple of pictures and a website link, that had more. Sure enough, it was a british kids show, broadcast on NBC, in the early 70s, that featured a group of kids with a clubhouse in a derelict London double-decker buss, in a junkyard. There was a secret entrance into the junkyard, through the fence, which swung upwards, like a drawbridge. One episode featured a pair of “aliens” with a hovercraft. It turns out Jane Seymour did n episode, with an Alice in Wonderland theme. One of the kids was Peter Firth, who as an adult appeared in The Hunt for Red October (the murdered political officer) and the tv show Spooks (known as MI-5, in the US).

    Meanwhile, I knew Starblazers and Battle of the Planets, and saw the Goldblum Legend of Sleepy Hollow in tv (twice). I couldn’t recall the name of a tv movie with Gary Lockwood, about a space station where weapons were banned, until I saw it on the Warner Archive site: Earth II. Same was true for another tv movie, with Doug McClure, about a P-40 Warhawk that is crippled, in the North African desert, trying to escape the Germans, with a fellow pilot hanging on. The film was Death Race (not the Corman movie), with Lloyd Bridges, Eric Braden, and Roy Thinnes, and can be seen on Youtube.

  4. fit2print

    Mine involves an apparently non-existent novel by legendary juvenile fiction writer Robb White — of Up Periscope, Torpedo Run and Deathwatch fame).

    To this day, too many years to count later (okay, not THAT many — it was a reprint edition), I still have a vivid memory of buying this book, though I must not have even been out of elementary school at the time. I still have no clue what the title was. All I remember is that it involved someone (or someones) being stranded on an island and having to live like Robinson Crusoe for a time (Yeah, there aren’t too many books that take that as a basic plot line, right? Only thousands).

    Still, I remain convinced that it was a Robb White book because the early developing OCD in me had compelled me to hunt down every Robb White book I could find at around this time and I know my mother would’ve only allowed me to actually buy a book (as opposed to borrowing it from the library) if it was one of his. That said, there’s been no vindication for me so far. I’ve yet to find conclusive proof that White actually penned a book that fits this description.

    Oh and speaking of original coinages, how about “vuja de” (as opposed to deja vu): the strong sensation that an event or experience currently being experienced has never been experienced before. I dunno about you but for some inexplicable reason I get that feeling All. The. Time. Go figure….

  5. Edo Bosnar

    I can relate to a few of the ones that Greg and Jeff mentioned, as for me the Goldblum effect most often involved the Saturday morning live action features that nobody or almost nobody else seemed to remember. One was a show in which Jim Nabors and Ruth Buzzi played robot aliens who had wacky time-traveling adventures with a pair of 20th century kids. And yes, it was a Sid and Marty Krofft production. Another involved a family living on a yacht and sailing around the south Pacific and having all kinds of adventures. Something I didn’t realize at the time was that it starred the Green Hornet himself, Van Williams.

    But one that confounded me for a really long time, even after the dawn of the internet, was this surreal, sketch comedy show that only aired for a few weeks in 1982 that absolutely no one else seemed to remember, and often had me thinking I dreamed the whole thing: No Soap, Radio. I had trouble finding it for years, even with the internet, because I’d forgotten the name (I always thought it was called “Pelican Hotel” which was actually the setting) and didn’t realize that one its regulars was a pre-Police Academy Steve Guttenberg. I found it, only rather recently, because I correctly recalled the titles to one of the sketches, Yukon Dan, and found it posted on YouTube. By the way, if you click on that link, watch some of the other bits from the show that are posted and linked. They’re all pretty funny. I know it was short-lived (only 5 episodes were aired in the U.S.), but I’m still a bit puzzled as to why it didn’t gain a cult following and subsequent popularity like another short-lived gem from 1982, Police Squad. It’s too bad, because I’d really love a DVD edition.

  6. M-Wolverine

    Ha, to show you how this works, I was thinking you meant Sinbad the Sailor, and that people were thinking Aladdin featured Sinbad (while there was an animated Sinbad with….Brad Pitt voicing it?). Not the “actor” Sinbad.

    I do remember the Sleepy Hollow version, because I remember thinking what a perfect Crane he would be. And we already enjoyed him in Tenspeed and Brownshoe.

    It is funny how things get syndicated. I LOVED Battle of the Planets. One of my favorite weekday morning shows ever. But I had never heard of Star Blazers till I got to college and other guys had watched that one. It just depended on what markets it aired in.

    I’m sure there are a million things like this, but I think I’ve forgotten most of them because, as you say, they’ve since been confirmed (or debunked) so it doesn’t seem like a mystery anymore. I will say one that finally jumped into my mind was the Legends of the Superheroes tv special, that I remember watching but there was no evidence I hadn’t imagined the whole thing for decades. No one talked about it. It didn’t re-air. I think finally a comic con probably started selling bootleg VHS copies of it. But now it has webpages.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legends_of_the_Superheroes

    The Internet is great and all…hey, we’re here! But it has killed old fashioned bar conversation. Bar debates, trivia, sports history. Now “who was the coach/what did he score that year/who won in what year/etc” is a short “hold on, let me pull out my Wiki App on my iPhone!” Sometimes my Dad will still ask me sports trivia, via email at that, and I have to say “you know I, or you, could just look this up now, right?” Cliff Clavin probably committed suicide shortly after the popularization of the Internet.

    1. Jeff Nettleton

      I knew Star Blazers from an article in Starlog, well before I got to see an episode. It was never carried on my local stations; but, I finally got to see an episode while visiting my grandparents. That would be it until the late 80s, when it came out on VHS.

  7. jccalhoun

    The two I remember are a stop motion animation cartoon about a guy who goes to an island with a bunch of monsters. He escapes with the beautiful girl but as they sit in the rowboat he finds out she is a robot. Turns out it was Mad Monster Party? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mad_Monster_Party%3F

    The other was just a memory of a monster trying to get into a house and the people cut the monster’s hand off and throw it in the basement. Later someone goes into the basement and the severed hand jumps up and tries to strangle the person. That was a failed pilot called The World Beyond https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_World_Beyond

  8. I had the internet confirm some things for me over the years. The first being a cartoon in which Garfield, the Smurfs, Alvin & The Chipmunks, etc all join together, which led me to an after-school special anti-drug thing called Cartoon All Stars, which also features Alf, the Muppet Babies, Bugs Bunny, Ducktales and SO MUCH MORE in one cartoon. Eat your heart out, Roger Rabbit!

    Then I found a comic series I collected back around the turn of the 90s that took me a while to figure out, called Defenders of Dynatron City, which turned out to be also a cartoon, video game, etc. (None of which I doubt made it to Australia.)

    But the last one that still has me stumped is a cartoon I remember seeing about a white robot (alien?) being hunted by a bunch of meaner black robots (aliens?) with Kitt-like red LED strips for eyes, and I have no idea if it was a short, or a short pulled from a larger animated thing? The only thing I know is it was on the ABC (the Australian one) and shown as filler between episodes of other things (ABC had/has no ads so they were always filling it with short cartoons to make up the time – heck, when I was little they used to show Disney shorts, particularly Mickey’s Through The Looking Glass one where he danced with playing cards.)

    Anyway, yeah. Still don’t know what that was.

    That and this awesome board game we used to play which I thought was called Talisman, but I was wrong, so I cannot find it at all. It was a simple RPG board game with wizards and thieves, valkyries, etc. but it wasn’t all that as involved as most RPGs. No idea.

      1. No, that looks pretty cool though! It was really dark and dystopian, very Bakshian, which makes me think it was part of something larger, I don’t know. If it wasn’t on TV, then it was part of this animation compilation video I used to borrow from the library all the time. It was supposed to have examples of more adult animation on it. If I could figure out the name of it, I might have something, but I lived in Australia. Info on Aus pop history is super dodgy, and it very well may have been European anyway, or something the library just threw together! Animated shorts are hard to find good info on if you don’t have the actual name.

  9. I had this experience with children’s books. When I was in second grade, I was really into the Henry and Ribsy books, which is cool, everybody knows Beverly Cleary. But I was also into a similar series starring a kid named Eddie, and nobody’s ever heard of that, so I started to think maybe I was misremembering the whole thing.

    Weirdly enough, I was browsing the tiny English-language shelf of a used bookstore in Budapest, Hungary in 2001, and I ran across some former library books of “Henry and Ribsy” and “Eddie Makes Music”! They had similar cover art and packaging, but the Eddie books were written by Carolyn Haywood in the 1950s and never achieved the same pop culture cachet as Cleary’s stuff. Even with Cleary, I think people remember Henry’s neighbor Ramona better than they do Henry.

  10. I_Mainprize

    For me, there are 2 examples that stand out. One where the internet confirms my memory (but it does so reluctantly) – the Mr. and Mrs. Smith TV show with Scott Bakula and Maria Bello. Most searches come up with the inferior (IMO) Jolie/Pitt movie. As far as I can tell, the TV show has never been released on DVD. I don’t even know if it’s ever been on Netflix (or some other streaming service). It was a fun show – good chemistry between the stars and entertaining as hell. I’m always surprised when people don’t believe me that it existed.

    The other one is from many years ago. It was a children’s show where a traveling band of actors and musicians would put on shows about fairy tales (and maybe other types of stories, too, I don’t remember). I have only a general impression of the show but the theme song was a cover of the Rolling Stones “Why Don’t We Sing This Song Altogether”. I was about to say that the internet was not helpful but just did a search for the name of the song and a show from the early 70s came up – “Story Theatre” on IMDB. The users reviews sound similar to my memories but without pictures/videos, I’m not totally sure.

    Thinking of the traveling band of actors made me think of a 3rd one that others don’t seem to remember. Some show about a house full of old ghosts – maybe a British show.

  11. MathGuy

    The Leech Woman: A B-Movie I saw on tv when I was in the 2nd grade. Movie scared the crap out of me. I couldn’t sleep with my back to the door for years. Over the years I’ve asked many people if they had seen it or could tell me the title. No one ever heard of it. Some even suggested I dreamt seeing it. Last year I did some fancy Google searches and finally found it. I had to buy it. I watched it and laughed my ass off. I couldn’t believe that movie held such sway over me years ago. I think the reason no one had ever heard of it was because it’s really a pretty crappy movie, to the point that it’s actually hilarious. Of course my 2nd grade self was traumatized by it. I still don’t know of anyone who’s heard of it.

    1. MathGuy, do you mean the movie where the people go on a safari with a really old woman who becomes young again when she drinks her tribe’s magic potion, and then the white woman that was the scientist’s drunk ex-wife starts taking the potion to become young, and then has to kill to get more sweet sweet pineal juice? Because that one is a wonderful MST3K episode. So many good bits. “You are the one in my dreams of blood!” “NEIL!” It might even be on the official MST3K YouTube channel where they have some full movies (I’ve gotta write about that at some point).

      1. MathGuy

        Exactly! Your description is perfect. She would sneak up behind people and stab them in the back of the neck with the “ceremonial ring” and then drink. This kept her young, at least until it wears off and she turns into an old hag. The ending is awesome, at least to a scared 2nd grade kid. Hence the reason I couldn’t sleep with my back to the door until sometime in middle school. I’ve never seen the MST3K version, so I’ll have to track that down. Can’t wait for you to write a piece on this movie.

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