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False Memory

Cochise

Priest of the cult of the Dog with the Broken Paw
Joined
Jun 17, 2011
Messages
8,495
Most people will be aware of the film Duel. (Speilberg's first).

My memory, however, insists I've watched two different versions of it, one in black and white with the shabby dark tanker lorry and and old rounded car driven by a 50's businessman type, one with a newer red flat fronted lorry with a box trailer and with a newer car driven by a more modern man.

I remember watching the first film sat with my family on a Sunday afternoon in the 60's. (I think we still had a B+W TV then , so the actual film may have been colour)

The actual Spielberg film has the old lorry/truck and the newer car. When more recently I sat and watched it again, I could not reconcile what I was seeing with my memory - the truck was wrong - it was actually very uncomfortable. I can see the newer truck that should be there in my mind's eye quite clearly.

I can't explain this. I'm hoping someone will tell me there is an older film or maybe a newer TV episode or something with the same or a similar plot, If not, I have to conclude that my memory is capable of manufacturing a whole scenario that never happened. Confusing two different versions of the same thing would be more explainable.
 
Did you read the pulp sci-fi magazines of the 60s? If so, I'm wondering if maybe you actually read the original Richard Matheson short story that the 1971 TV movie was based on and created your own conceptions of the vehicles from that. (I appreciate that's rather a stretch, since you seem to have quite a specific memory of watching the film with your family.)

The other thing that occurred to me was that since Matheson was a frequent contributor to The Twilight Zone (most memorably the episode where Shatner gets freaked out by a muppet on an airplane), perhaps he'd written an earlier version of the story for a Twilight Zone episode. However, if so I've never seen it, and the interweb isn't suggesting any obvious candidates.

Nevertheless, I suspect the key to your mystery lies in a mis-remembered episode of one of the old TV anthology series - whether The Twilight Zone, or The Outer Limits, or Alfred Hitchcock Presents, or some such wonderful thing.

(Or maybe even an episode of one of the Old Time Radio shows like Suspense or Escape? I've been quite getting into listening to these recently when I'm falling asleep, and they did seem quite fond of stories involving sinister happenings on lonely roads. Orson Welles' bravura solo turn in The Hitchhiker is among the most chilling.)
 
Duel was made in 1971, so I think your recollection of when you saw it is a little off. I know Steven Spielberg has said he'd like to remake both Duel and Jaws and the Duel remake was supposed to happen around 2010.
It's possible you saw the comedy remake or have conflated parts of other films using the "bad trucker" theme.
 
If not, I have to conclude that my memory is capable of manufacturing a whole scenario that never happened.

Having watched a lot of 70s and early 80s stuff on an old black and white portable, often with shitty reception, I'm often surprised how different many shows appear from my memory of them. I guess perhaps watching things in low quality added an element of imagination to them.

That said, we have a discussion around here somewhere where myself and several other people very clearly remember O Fortuna being used in the Omen movies, to the point where we all ended up looking to see if it had been changed at some point in later versions.

Memory sucks!
 
The basic plot motif (being pursued and / or threatened by a semi-truck) has been used many times, if only as a scene or segment within a TV episode. My theory would be that you're conflating _Duel_ with one of those other instances of the motif.

I recall being confused by _Duel_ back in the 1970's (and in TV reruns thereafter). I first saw the original made-for-TV version. Sometime later I saw the expanded theatrical release version (on TV) and was confused by scenes I didn't recall. It took me a while to understand there were actually two different versions.

I do have a vague recollection of seeing another TV program (probably 1970's or 1980's) that revolved around this same plot motif, but which further confused me because it wasn't _Duel_ (the victimized car driver wasn't Dennis Weaver). I don't remember if this one used a cab-over style truck.

The only 1960's-era program I recall focusing on a semi-truck was an episode of _Kraft Suspense Theater_ entitled "The Jack is High", in which a gang of robbers attempt a getaway hidden in a tanker trailer. That was also pretty suspenseful, and it included truck chase scenes.
 
I've had a memory of a christmas that was pretty vivid and involved talking to people only to find out it never happened.

I was 4 to 5 and can still remember it now but it never happened as I've talked to my older sisters and brother and parents.

It used to upset me that it was some failure of my mind but I just find it curious now.
http://www.fmsfonline.org/

Also don't forget Killdozer which I thought was epic when I was a kid in the 70's.
 
OneWingedBird said:
If not, I have to conclude that my memory is capable of manufacturing a whole scenario that never happened.

Having watched a lot of 70s and early 80s stuff on an old black and white portable, often with shitty reception, I'm often surprised how different many shows appear from my memory of them. I guess perhaps watching things in low quality added an element of imagination to them.

I used to do that too! I would take the portable b&w up to my bedroom and watch the late night horror movies on Friday and Saturday nights, but the strange thing is my memory of these films is in colour. Maybe it's because I saw them years later, maybe it's because I'd seen colour photos of them at the time. Er, obviously the b&w movies were still in b&w in my memory.
 
OneWingedBird said:
That said, we have a discussion around here somewhere where myself and several other people very clearly remember O Fortuna being used in the Omen movies, to the point where we all ended up looking to see if it had been changed at some point in later versions.

Guilty as charged! I clearly remember O Fortuna in the scene where Patrick Troughton was hurrying to get back to his church. Except I don't, because it was never in the film, anywhere!
 
I've mentioned it before on here but I'm convinced I watched a BBC remake of The Godfather in the late 80's/early 90's and even remember specific scenes thinking they weren't as well cast as the original, yet it doesn't seem to have ever existed. The memory is very vivid too!
 
marionXXX said:
I've mentioned it before on here but I'm convinced I watched a BBC remake of The Godfather in the late 80's/early 90's and even remember specific scenes thinking they weren't as well cast as the original...

That's really odd, because the basic idea is so, well, odd.

Around that time the BBC did air the recut for TV version of The Godfather, but that was basically Godfathers I and II rearranged chronologically, with some material added. (And I know I didn't imagine that because I've still got the tape somewhere.)

I've now got an image in my head of Richard Briers saying, Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes.
 
That's all kinda reassuring. I guess there are two possibilities - either I first saw it in B+W and 'embroidered' it in my memory or I saw an earlier film or some TV episode with a car/truck chase as just part of the plot. I seem to vaguely remember some early 60's US TV series - 'Cannonball?' - about a pair of truckers - that may be it - it would be about the right time.

I think the second explanation is more likely as I'm sure we had a colour TV by the time Duel would have been shown on TV - I'm guessing not before 1972 at the earliest. We had a colour TV quite early by UK standards because Dad had a win on the pools - not a massive one, but enough for the TV which was the big new thing at the time.

While we are are at it I'm also convinced I've seen multiple different endings to 2001 Space Odyssey, but there the explanation is more likely that I have confused the book and the film. I believe the book has actually had its ending changed after the film came out.

Although I can sit and work this out, it doesn't make the memory go away!
 
_Cannonball_ originally aired in Canada during 1958 - 1959. A very similar series (_Movin' On_) ran on US TV from 1974 to 1976.
 
EnolaGaia said:
I do have a vague recollection of seeing another TV program (probably 1970's or 1980's) that revolved around this same plot motif, but which further confused me because it wasn't _Duel_ (the victimized car driver wasn't Dennis Weaver). I don't remember if this one used a cab-over style truck.

I see two main candidates for this program : the movie Nightmares, made of four short stories, the third one about a priest who is chased by a possessed car in a Far West semi desert landscape. The evil car was a huge black FWD, if my memory serves well. As it was released in 1983, it cannot account for Cochise's memories. However, I don't remember if the priest was in a car. There was too a horror movie from the mid to late seventies, the action takes place around a small US town in a similar lanscape where another possessed car spreads terror. It is quite known among horror/action flicks aficionados, I've seen it three years ago but I don't remember its title.


As for the tricks of memory in old TV programs, I've been confronted to them too. As I was 7 or 8, I saw on an old black and white telly the end of the The Invaders episode Summitt Conference part 2. There was notably a scene of a car chase in a corridor, where main character David Vincent and a female passenger aboard a Jeep were pursued by two aliens aboard another Jeep, who were opening fire on them. I remembered distinctly that at one moment Vincent shouted to the woman to duck in order to avoid a fire shot. I remembered, but less distinctly, that after the car chase the characters were fleeing in elevators, more gunfight and an attempt to prevent a rocket launch. I too remembered distinctly that prior the chase, Vincent had confronted a black Invader (which was quite unusual in the series, so easy to rememeber). It took me more than ten years to realize that while I had a good recollection of most of the events, the part with a black alien that I 'distinctly remembered' was not in Summitt Conference Part 2, and that I had merged it in my memory with another episode, The Vise (that I had much probably also seen incompletely).

Spookdaddy said:
marionXXX said:
I've mentioned it before on here but I'm convinced I watched a BBC remake of The Godfather in the late 80's/early 90's and even remember specific scenes thinking they weren't as well cast as the original...

That's really odd, because the basic idea is so, well, odd.

Around that time the BBC did air the recut for TV version of The Godfather, but that was basically Godfathers I and II rearranged chronologically, with some material added. (And I know I didn't imagine that because I've still got the tape somewhere.)

Don't worry, you didn't ! :
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0809488/?ref_=nm_flmg_dr_23

I watched it nine years ago. It does include additional footage, although with time passing, I couldn't say too well which ones. I do remember that there were at least extra scenes when Michael Corleone in estranged in Sicily after he murdered Solozzo and Captain McCluskey.
 
Apropos of nothing, I've been haunted for years by the memory of an episode of some 70's TV action show that climaxed with the baddie-of-the-week being 'drowned' in a huge industrial vat full of cornflakes. Heaven knows what that was.

(We didn't actually have a TV when I was growing up, so I only got to see occasional random episodes of things at other people's houses, and obviously I didn't have a clue what was going on. I just pointed and dribbled at the magic moving pictures.)
 
The human mind doesn't always remember what it sees, but what it perceives. So what would be available for replay in your mind many years after an event, whether it's something you've seen in a film, or an experience you had, will be shaped to some extent by what you felt and understood by it, and how you perceived it at the time.

W Penfield did a lot of research into this kind of thing, and it's mentioned in some psychology book about Transactional Analysis.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilder_Penfield
 
There is a lot of evidence out there that memory is much less reliable than we imagine, it's true.

But it was the very specific nature of this memory that has bugged me - while I can remember thinking the ending to Space Odyssey had changed (it was many years between the two viewings) the memories regarding Duel are very clear - I could describe the (imaginary) truck well enough that the police could find it! Forward control (flat front) rectangular radiator grill, red metallic with a silver V stripe, aluminium look box trailer with horizontal ribs, etc. etc.

It's not like I think about this all the time, but whenever the film comes up that's the truck I remember being in it, and the actual truck - the tanker - is in the earlier 50's / early 60's version.
 
I was also confused when I looked up this film recently as I could remember watching a 'truck chasing car' film on TV in the 80's, but in my memory the truck was relatively modern and flat-fronted. I'm convinced it was another film or show as pulling up Duel did not ring any visual bells at all and I also felt that the 1971 date seemed too old for the movie I had seen. It may be that my memory is also playing tricks but it adds weight to your memories Cochise!
 
For the truck thing, I was going to suggest TWILIGHT ZONE episodes, like "A Thing About Machines," but the quite specific description of the truck tosses that out.

Remembering movies/TV shows you saw as a child wrong seems to be a widespread phenomenon. Usually people remember the film (often horror or SF) as being much better than it seems now. A smart producer would bankroll a film that wants to remake old movies the way we remember them! If they have to make remakes . . .
 
Analis said:
Spookdaddy said:
marionXXX said:
I've mentioned it before on here but I'm convinced I watched a BBC remake of The Godfather in the late 80's/early 90's and even remember specific scenes thinking they weren't as well cast as the original...

That's really odd, because the basic idea is so, well, odd.

Around that time the BBC did air the recut for TV version of The Godfather, but that was basically Godfathers I and II rearranged chronologically, with some material added. (And I know I didn't imagine that because I've still got the tape somewhere.)

Don't worry, you didn't ! :
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0809488/?ref_=nm_flmg_dr_23

I watched it nine years ago. It does include additional footage, although with time passing, I couldn't say too well which ones. I do remember that there were at least extra scenes when Michael Corleone is estranged in Sicily after he murdered Solozzo and Captain McCluskey.

I found more precisions :
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0809488/faq ... q_1#.2.1.1

One of these conditions said that he would be allowed to take all the scenes from both the first and the second movie to re-arrange them chronologically for a TV mini series. In addition to this structure the TV version also offers a few additional scenes or shows alternative footage (which - of course - also replaced too violent or sexual content)

Extra footage, and alternative footage, too. This practice is sometimes used for longer versions, for various reasons. The long version of The fellowship of the ring has for example a few modified scenes, as the course of events was altered in the short version. In the case of The godfather, it was seemingly to adapt it to a TV audience for primetime.

It seems that it accounts for the 'false memories' of some. In this case, for once, they were not false memories after all.
 
graylien said:
Apropos of nothing, I've been haunted for years by the memory of an episode of some 70's TV action show that climaxed with the baddie-of-the-week being 'drowned' in a huge industrial vat full of cornflakes. Heaven knows what that was.

I think that the answer is here quite obvious : it is Le casse, a French movie directed by Henri Verneuil (1971), starring Jean-Paul Belmondo and Omar Sharif (who plays a corrupt police inspector who ends drowned in the corn). It was a theater movie, but I don't know how it was relased in Britain, IMDb mentions no release date, so it may have aired directly on TV (the US title being The Burglars, the same may have been used in the UK).
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0068347/?ref_=nv_sr_1

Another candidate for memories of a Duel- like movie is a 1982 film directed by Harley Cokeliss and produced by Roger Corman, Warlords of the 21st century, also known as Battletruck. One of many spawned by the success of the Mad Max franchise, it features scenes of the titular huge truck fighting a car and a motorbike among others.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0084887/

An amazing coincidence : as I was using the search function of IMDb for Warlords of the 21st century, it proposed me Le casse as one of the possibilities !
 
Yes, the Godfather Epic, as the television version was called, included some extra material and the US television version was trimmed for violent and sexual content. I don't recall whether the UK sceenings were similarly cut. When the Epic was issued here on videotape, the television cuts were reinstated.

The narrative's chronological rearrangement was generally regarded as disturbing the integrity of the original film structures and the series has never made it officially onto DVDs. I had the VHS tapes once but never viewed them. Anyone wanting to see the added scenes will find them in the supplements to the Coppola Restoration set. I don't think we are likely to see a revival of the Epic as a whole, so any curious viewers had better look out for a set of those fuzzy old tapes. 8)

Those additions in detail here!
 
Duel was made in 1971, so I think your recollection of when you saw it is a little off.

That's got me thinking about something else weird to do with memory.

When I was a kid I had this really vivid dream one night where I was in a book shop (I hung out in lots of those in the 70s) and found this book on the shelf of the new Star Wars movie and flicked through it and got excited over the colour pictures on the middle pages. :lol:

When I woke up I was really disappointed that it was just a dream. Then a few months later I went in a book shop and found the book, with the exact same colour pictures in the middle that I remembered from the dream.

I'm not suggesting it was a premonition, I just think there was some sort of weird place marker type content in the dream that joined up with the actual images when I saw them and after that it got retconed in as the 'original' content.

I wonder if something similar has happened here, where later memory has got overlaid on earlier events?
 
I've lost count of the number of films I've embellished in some way - usually it's remembering B&Ws as colour, but frequently I'll remember details, or entire scenes, that didn't exist - and in some rare cases I'll remember whole films that were never made. Most of the invented parts come from having read the books as a child (and yes, my imagination was so vivid that I could unconsciously generate an entire film based on a book when no such movie was made!). I've always been careful when discussing non-recent films with other people, ever since the time when I started enthusing about exceptionally dark & violent scenes in Watership Down, only to be met with blank and baffled stares.... :lol:
 
I watched the Godfather miniseries-type presentation while tacking curtains up ready for sewing, and was so enthralled that I made one of the four curtains upside-down! :lol:

Didn't notice until I hung the curtains. It stayed like that. Life's too short.
 
escargot1 said:
I watched the Godfather miniseries-type presentation while tacking curtains up ready for sewing, and was so enthralled that I made one of the four curtains upside-down! :lol:

Didn't notice until I hung the curtains. It stayed like that. Life's too short.

Sounds like a Mafia threat: We'll hang you upside down like scargies curtains.
 
Apologies for exhuming a relatively old thread, but I have a trio of aberrant 'memories', much in the vein of those mentioned here, that have bugged me for years, since no-one can properly corroborate them and I can't begin to work out their derivation, and this seems as good a place as any to get them off my chest.

Memory One: very young - four or five, maybe - and huddled in a bandstand, or bandstand-style round, covered enclosure, with many other people, likely on a school trip, sheltering from a violent thunderstorm. Possibly at Bristol Zoo, though whether they'd have had such a space in the eighties I've no idea. Worth noting: I've had a lifelong, moderate fear of thunder/lightning in particular and loud, sharp, sudden noises in general.

Memory Two: sitting down watching CBBC in the late eighties. In the middle of Newsround the picture cuts to a bizarre man in a zig-zag black and white suit, gibbering nonsense in a basic set - walls and desk - that's patterned the same. It then cuts back to Newsround, with no hint that anything strange just happened. A friend insists he also remembers this, and that it was a publicity stunt for a CBBC show, but it seems pretty unlikely. Possibly I'm misremembering the Max Headroom signal interruption, which I believe occurred around that time, but would that have been reported in the UK, let alone on Newsround?

Memory Three: comfortably the most vivid. I'd have been six or seven. I'd used the toilet, but as the handle was broken, I had to open the cistern and reach into the nest of sharp, unguarded metal rods - it was a 70s toilet - and push one down to flush it. My finger slipped, a flash of pain, blood flowing, panic. It takes me some time to understand why I can't simply lift my hand out - my finger's been impaled on one of the rods. I slide it off and, naturally, run bawling and bleeding downstairs to Mum. Unfortunately, she ignores me, dismisses me, even goes so far as to snap "Don't be ridiculous!" at me. I asked her about it, minus the last bit, a while back, and she vigorously insisted no such thing had happened, that it was just a dream.

I suppose they could all have been dreams, but even the most vivid dreams don't linger more than a few weeks for me, except in vague fragments and flashes. Even the one, true nightmare I've ever had, as a kid staying at my maternal grandparents, is only recollected as involving driving, water and a giant squid/octopus, with no specific detail at all. In contrast, despite having not been there in sixteen years, I remember the layout of most of their house vividly, down to the positions of furniture and colours of rugs and wallpaper.

So, am I simply even madder than I think I am (which is pretty mad, to be fair, as every story I've ever written will attest) and fabricating odd, disturbing memories wholesale, are they simply dreams lodged in my brain forever for reasons unknown, or are there some kernels of truth in the middle of all this?
 
Well, when there was first publicity of The Gruffalo being released as a television adaptation, I thought, 'I remember that book. We used to have it in primary school.' When I saw parts of it on TV, the plot seemed very familiar and the animations were a fair representation of the illustrations I remembered. I looked it up for some reason on wikipedia, only to discover the book had been released in 1999. I had been a removal man for a year by then, and was long out of school. My best guess is that I'd been exposed to the book some other way, and perhaps conflated it with memories of children's books from back in the day. Such things are a shock to ones sense of oneself. How many memories upon which our personalities feed are entirely false?

My partner is an old flame from many years ago. She was watching The Exorcist in bed the other night. I mentioned we'd gone to the cinema to see it when it was given a theatrical release years ago, probably to celebrate its anniversary, around Halloween time I seem to remember. I remember I hadn't much wanted to see it, but she did but didn't want to go alone. Anyway, when I mentioned we'd seen it at the cinema she insisted it wasn't her, that she'd never seen it at the cinema. That's actually the only time I've ever seen the film. So, one of us has a faulty memory.
 
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