Top 5 Craziest Myths About American Icons

Script written by George Pacheco Land of the free, home of the brave...a nation with its fair share of myths! Welcome to WatchMojo's Top 5 Myths, the series that finds the biggest myths people actually believe, and dispels them one by one. In this installment, we'll be looking at the biggest and longest running myths behind some of the United States' most famous icons. Special thanks to our users Godslayer79for submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
Credits
Tags
Comments

You must login to access this feature

Transcript
Script written by George Pacheco


Top 5 Myths About American Icons

 
Land of the free, home of the brave...a nation with its fair share of myths! Welcome to WatchMojo's Top 5 Myths, the series that finds the biggest myths people actually believe, and dispels them one by one. In this installment, we'll be looking at the biggest and longest running myths behind some of the United States' most famous icons.
 

#5: Orson Welles and his "War of the Worlds" broadcast caused a nationwide panic

 
The 1938 Orson Welles broadcast of the "War of the Worlds" novel might've caused a stir during its day, but the actual, panicked fallout wasn't quite as widespread as you've been led to believe.
Although it's true that some people did likely believe the legendary Welles broadcast was a true to life news report of an alien invasion, the real truth to this myth lies behind the fact that not that many people were listening to the radio program in the first place. 
For starters, Welles' show was going up against some tried and true programming with established fan bases. Additionally, some CBS stations cut the program to avoid such panic, whereas some other stations included notices during commercials that the aliens weren't actually invading.
The real reason why this myth persists to this day is because newspapers, which were already in fierce competition with radio, pushed this idea to the forefront of their pages, in an effort to cut down radio's reputation to their readers.
 

#4: Walt Disney (or just his head) is cryogenically frozen

 
Ok, let's just get this one out in the open right now: Walt Disney is not frozen, nor is any part of his body preserved through human cryogenics. The Disney founder was profoundly interested in the subject, however, going so far as to have people at his Walt Disney Studios call the president of California's Cryogenics Society, Bob Nelson asking a abundance of questions about their facility and what went into the cryogenic process. The truth behind this myth, then, likely stems from an interview Nelson did with the Los Angeles Times, where he mentioned how he felt that Walt, judging by his interest, wanted to be frozen, despite the fact that Disney was, in fact, cremated after his battle with lung cancer. The other interesting factoid about this myth is that two weeks after Disney's death, the first man ever was actually cryogenically frozen.
 

#3: Thomas Edison invented the light bulb

 
We're just gonna take a wild guess that you dig myths, since you’re still here. Well, it turns out that Thomas Edison also enjoyed a good myth, especially those surrounding himself and his abilities. One popular myth about the famous inventor claims that Edison invented the light bulb. Well, this isn't true, although it is a fact that incandescent bulbs were an Edison invention, a longer burning addition and improvement to the already existing light bulb. Edison's invention made the light bulb more affordable and practical for homeowners to illuminate their homes, but this wasn't the first time Edison would stretch the truth. For example, his claim that he was a self-taught genius was debunked by Time Magazine in 1979, where a profile revealed that Edison not only attended school as a child, but also took chemistry classes in New York City. Naughty naughty.

#2: Betsy Ross made the first American flag

 
Let's face it: the idea of a humble seamstress sewing up that classic design of an American flag is one which warms the hearts of United States citizens every Independence Day. Unfortunately, there isn't a lot of evidence to support this myth of Philadelphia's Betsy Ross sewing the first American flag. For starters, the history behind Ross' involvement with the flag didn't begin making the rounds until nearly a century after America's War of Independence against England, when her grandson William Canby provided an oral history of the tale, passed down by his family, to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. It's true that Betsy Ross did sew flags for the Pennsylvania navy, but there are no mentions or records of Ms. Ross being tasked by a Congressional Flag Committee and George Washington, as per Canby's story, to create the template for what would become the stars and stripes of America.
 

#1: George Washington had wooden teeth

 
There are an abundance of myths surrounding the first President of the United States, Colonel George Washington, from the chopping down of a cherry tree to this number one American myth on our list. Did George Washington actually have wooden teeth? Well, President Washington did have extremely poor dental hygiene and began losing his teeth early on in life. He would eventually have false teeth constructed, Frankenstein style, from a number of different sources. These included ivory, lead, and even teeth from the mouths of various humans - all held together by metal fasteners. The dentures worn by Washington during his inauguration were made with gold, brass and hippopotamus ivory, thanks to the fact that only one surviving original tooth was left in his mouth. When that one went, Washington gave it to the dentist as a keepsake.
 
So, How many of these myths did you believe?  This is what the Google searchers are asking about American icons: Did George Washington ever smile? Is Orson Welles related to HG Welles? Can Walt Disney be Revived? For more patriotic top tens and star spangled top fives, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com!
Download

You must register to a corporate account to download. Please login

Related Videos

+ see more

More WMMyths