I promise I’ll eventually get around to delving into Unsolved Mysteries, but I’m not ready for Robert Stack quite yet. Instead, how about a review of a show in a similar vein? I’m talking of course about Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction, Fox’s answer to Unsolved Mysteries, most famously hosted by Commander Riker from Star Trek: The Next Generation. It was also briefly hosted by James Brolin, father of Josh Brolin, that’s only important because he happens to be hosting the segment I’ve chosen.
If you’re unfamiliar with Beyond Belief, the format was pretty simple. They’d show five stories, and at the end of the episode, they would reveal which ones were fact, based on real reports or incidences, and which ones were fiction, creations of the show’s writing staff. Now, it’s up for debate just how factual the stories that were considered to be “Fact” were, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to dispute James Brolin, or Commander Riker. If you want to, be my guest, it’s your funeral.
As always, I’ll warn you that the screen grabs for this will be poor quality as they were ripped off of Youtube, sorry folks. Here’s your link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TAxnwagRXI
We begin with James Brolin’s introduction, taking place in what appears to be a dimly lit warehouse. He wants to know what your childhood fear was. The boogeyman? The monster under the bed? Or maybe it was just a fear of the dark. Actually James, if you must know, the answer is whale sharks.
James doesn’t really care about your answer, because he’s just here to tell us the story of Danny Johnson, a 10 year old boy who’s been afraid of a monster in his closet since the age of 2. Recently, the neighborhood kids have found out about his fear. I’m sure this ends well. As if to confirm my suspicions, the clip is narrated by Danny’s mother, who recounts the constant terror Danny was living in thanks to bullies.
We’re treated to what is apparently a daily occurrence, Danny running away from a gang of kids and getting to his house, only for them to hang around on his front porch, goading him to come back out. It’s kind of like when Coach Bombay first meets the Mighty Ducks. While this is all going on, Danny’s mother is asking rhetorical questions, wondering if she could have done something different. Move away, maybe?
Danny spends his nights sleeping on the couch, because he’s too afraid to sleep in his room. So of course, being the wonderful parent that she is, Danny’s mom wakes him up and takes him back upstairs. Gee, somehow I don’t think your assurance of “there’s nothing to be afraid of” is going to sooth the boy. Once they arrive in the room, Danny’s mom goes to open the closet, despite Danny’s protests. Right before she does, we get a flash of lightening and a crack of thunder, because Beyond Belief sure knows how to build suspense. Of course she finds nothing.
You know, just once when this kind of thing happens, I’d like a monster to just pop out and maim them when they open the door. It’d be a refreshing change of pace. Of course once the mother leaves, the door opens ominously on its own.
Here’s a problem. If there is a monster, and it can just open the door, shouldn’t Danny be consumed by now? I figured the monster would be confined to the closet, but apparently that’s not the case, as it seems quite capable of getting out. Now I’m not an expert on closet monster protocol, but something certainly seems amiss. The next morning, we’re introduced to Danny’s siblings, both of whom think their brother is being a baby. I think they’re just being useless caricatures of typical siblings, used to pad the segment.
Danny’s brother is upset because all the kids in school are making fun of Danny, and Danny’s sister just thinks he’s seeking attention. I think there’s plenty to make fun of Danny about besides his fear of closet monsters, like for instance, the fact that he wears his pants strangely high.
Next we’re treated to another episode of Danny fleeing from the bullies, but difference this time is that Danny’s brother is among them. Danny follows his typical routine of running inside and locking the door. For some reason at this point, Danny’s brother feels compelled to yell “Open the door Danny, I’ve got a key!” Things get stupider from there as the group decides to give up and leave. But…I thought Danny’s brother had a key? It’s irrelevant either way, because Danny opens the door and attempts to chase the bullies off with a baseball bat that is far too large for him to handle.
This going very poorly, as the kids just pile on Danny, then carry him upstairs to his room. This is followed by the bullies patronizing Danny about his fears. It’s enjoyable. The next phase of their plan is to lock Danny in the closet, but this is spoiled by Danny’s sister arriving on the scene. Instead, Danny challenges his brother’s manhood and dares him to go into the closet instead. Danny’s brother, not about to look like a pansy in front of his homies, accepts the challenge. Everyone has a good laugh while Danny’s brother screams for help, begging to be let out of the closet. All the noise stops when Danny’s mother enters the room. Apparently she was in the house the whole time. Mother of the year, right there. Anyways, she opens up the closet, but all she finds is a pile of clothes on the floor.
The rest of the kids explain to her that Danny’s brother went into the closet, and that those are his clothes. The rest of him is nowhere to be found. The mother is understandable distraught, Danny, however, is emboldened by this, standing up and declaring “I told you there was a monster in there!”
Later that day, the police are investigating, and come to the conclusion that the only way out of the closet would be through the door. It’s implied that they police believe Danny’s brother simply ran away, despite the lack of evidence to support that theory. We then cut back to James Brolin, who informs us that Danny’s brother was never seen or heard from again. He also leaves us with some suggestions about what may have happened. Perhaps there was another way out of the closet, perhaps there was really a monster! Or maybe it was a cruel lesson about being kind to other people, taught by an angry spirit living in a boy’s closet. Yeah…that’s definitely what it was. Of course, the gimmick to Beyond Belief was that it could very easily have been a story made up by the show’s writers.
Well, this story turned out to be true. Now, unfortunately they don’t go into detail at all about what really happened, just to say that it’s based on a real reported incident. A little creepy, yeah? Maybe next time you’ll think twice about entering your closet. Who knows that could be in there? It could be a monster that apparently strips you naked and eats you. Or it could just be R.Kelly. Wait…aren’t those pretty much the same thing?
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Speaking of podcasts, expect another one to be up by Monday. Might have a guest, and if I don’t, I’ll just ramble about early 90’s TV shows. Enticing, I know.