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Old 02-18-2016, 11:52 AM
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Cases where the parody are more well known than the Original


I was just thinking the other day about Pogo and the phrase "We have met the enemy and he is us". This is of course a parody of Oliver Hazard Perry's message, "We have met the enemy and they are ours." But these days, Pogo's version is widely quoted, while original is known mostly to history buffs.

Another set the come to mind are all of Lewis Carrol's poem parodies, "You are old father William" is fairly well known while "The Old Man's Comforts and How He Gained Them" is for the most part lost in obscurity.

Finally, the movie Airplane has a massive cult following, while the various Airport movies it parodies are not nearly so well known.

Are there any other examples that people can think of?
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Old 02-18-2016, 12:07 PM
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What about that international bestseller "National Lampoon's Bored Of The Rings", which I just found out was a parody of an obscure fantasy trilogy(which I can't recall the name of) by some English professor.
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Old 02-18-2016, 12:12 PM
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Chamillionaire has said he has been complimented on his version of Weird Al's White and Nerdy.
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Old 02-18-2016, 12:18 PM
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Chamillionaire has said he has been complimented on his version of Weird Al's White and Nerdy.
TBH, Yankovic's entire oeuvre is full of parodies better done and better known (or better remembered) than the originals.
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Old 02-18-2016, 12:18 PM
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Tina Fey's Palin impersonation ("I can see Russia from my house") caught on so well that most people think Paln actually said it.

Not exactly a parody, but Metallica have covered Diamond Head's Am I Evil? throughout their career and only relatively recently started telling people it was a cover.

Speaking of Weird Al, Dare to Be Stupid (a "style parody" of Devo songs) actually outsold almost every Devo single because it appeared on the Transformers: The Movie soundtrack.

ETA: I'm always going on about Yes Minister/Yes Prime Minister here, but Sir Humphrey Appleby is certainly better known than any real permanent secretary or cabinet secretary who ever served in the British Government.

Last edited by Really Not All That Bright; 02-18-2016 at 12:22 PM.
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Old 02-18-2016, 12:21 PM
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How many people have seen Zero Hour?
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Old 02-18-2016, 12:24 PM
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TBH, Yankovic's entire oeuvre is full of parodies better done and better known (or better remembered) than the originals.
I know that(Al fan). But in this case the artist himself has encountered it and publicized the fact.

He even gave Al some credit for his Grammy win.
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Old 02-18-2016, 01:09 PM
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Old 02-18-2016, 01:25 PM
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I don't know how common this is, but I knew "On Top of Spaghetti" for years before I learned of the existence of "On Top of Old Smokey". And even when I did learn of the other song, it was through yet another parody of it ("On top of old Smokey, all covered with grass and stuff, I lost my poor sweetheart, because I didn't run fast enough")
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Old 02-18-2016, 01:32 PM
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Would "Play it Again, Sam" count - something used when folks are parodying Casablanca, even though it wasn't said in the film?

Or imitating Cary Grant by saying "Ju-dee, Ju-dee, Ju-dee" - which was a bit done by the old comedian Larry Storch.
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Old 02-18-2016, 01:40 PM
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How many people have seen Zero Hour?
I've seen it once on TCM, and I was really amused at how close some of the dialog in "Airplane!" was to the original. Even the hero's name, Ted Stryker, is the same except for the spelling.
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Old 02-18-2016, 01:49 PM
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The "crunchy frog" Monty Python sketch was in reaction to the 1968 British Trade Descriptions Act, which isn't exactly on the forefront of people's minds these days.
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Old 02-18-2016, 01:58 PM
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the Lewis Carroll parodies are the ones I thought of when I read the title. In most other cases I know of the the originals even if I'm not familiar with them. I haven't seen Zero Hour, but I've known that Airplane! was a parody of it. I seriously doubt if people are more familiar with Bored of the Rings or Doon or Mad magazine parodies than the originals.




George MacDonald Fraser's Flashman series is based on a character from Thomas Hughes' book Tom Brown's School Days. I know of Tom Brown, although I've never read the book. But I've never read the Flashman books, either. Saw the movie Royal Flash, though.
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Old 02-18-2016, 02:03 PM
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The #1 movie in the country right now is DEADPOOL, aka Wade Wilson.

How well-known is Deathstroke, aka Slade Wilson?
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Old 02-18-2016, 02:07 PM
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Young Frankenstein is based on four movies -- Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, and The Ghost of Frankenstein. The first and to some extent the second of those movies are fairly familiar, although I would guess that a lot more people know of them than have actually seen them. Son of Frankenstein, however, which Young Frankenstein is based most closely on, is pretty obscure. (You need to see it to really appreciate what a great job Gene Wilder does of imitating Basil Rathbone's character.)

I would also guess that more people know "Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah" than The Dance of the Hours.

Last edited by cjepson; 02-18-2016 at 02:09 PM.
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Old 02-18-2016, 02:09 PM
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The #1 movie in the country right now is DEADPOOL, aka Wade Wilson.

How well-known is Deathstroke, aka Slade Wilson?
Is Deadpool a parody of Deathstroke? I know Deathstroke, but I missed that Pool was a parody.
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Old 02-18-2016, 02:14 PM
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At this point Homer and Jethro's "The Battle of Kookamonga" is probably as well know as the original, "The Battle of New Orleans" thanks to Dr. Demento.
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Old 02-18-2016, 02:48 PM
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Who would have watched even 10 minutes of "Manos: The Hands Of Fate" without Joel and the Bots? Who could watch it now without hearing Joel and the Bots in your head?

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Old 02-18-2016, 02:54 PM
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Is Deadpool a parody of Deathstroke? I know Deathstroke, but I missed that Pool was a parody.
Parody being the original intention is debatable. But, yeah, Deadpool started life as a Deathstroke pastiche. Rob Liefeld comes up with a lot of pastiches.

Last edited by planetcory; 02-18-2016 at 02:56 PM.
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Old 02-18-2016, 03:02 PM
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Carol Burnett descending the steps, wearing the drapes. Probably more people have seen that, than Gone with the Wind.

And What's Opera, Doc? Easily a wider audience than Wagnerian opera.
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Old 02-18-2016, 03:14 PM
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Young Frankenstein is based on four movies -- Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, and The Ghost of Frankenstein. The first and to some extent the second of those movies are fairly familiar, although I would guess that a lot more people know of them than have actually seen them. Son of Frankenstein, however, which Young Frankenstein is based most closely on, is pretty obscure. (You need to see it to really appreciate what a great job Gene Wilder does of imitating Basil Rathbone's character.)

I would also guess that more people know "Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah" than The Dance of the Hours.
When I first saw Young Frankenstein on HBO in the early 80s I had never heard of the song Puttin' on the Ritz, so I had absolutely no clue what it was that Peter Boyle's monster was mumbling during the chorus! Also, I think the first time I did actually hear the song was a few years later when the freakazoid band Taco did their remake of it.

Again in a Mel Brooks/Gene Wilder film, I had no idea the "We don't need no stinking badges!" line in Blazing Saddles was a parody from the old, classic film The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

Still thought both were pretty funny on their own...
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Old 02-18-2016, 03:15 PM
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Similarly, Daffy Duck's "The Scarlet Pumpernickel" is better known these days than the original Scarlet Pimpernel.
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Old 02-18-2016, 03:25 PM
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For many people of a certain age outside of Japan, Sailor Moon was their introduction to anime - they wouldn't have realized that it was conceived as a lighthearted parody of something (the Magical Girl genre).
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Old 02-18-2016, 03:30 PM
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The #1 movie in the country right now is DEADPOOL, aka Wade Wilson.

How well-known is Deathstroke, aka Slade Wilson?
Well, better known than he used to be - major character in the CW's Arrow, which is a pretty big show.
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Old 02-18-2016, 03:39 PM
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Well, better known than he used to be - major character in the CW's Arrow, which is a pretty big show.
The Teen Titans cartoons also are not completely unknown
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Old 02-18-2016, 03:54 PM
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Don Quixote is arguably a parody, and rather obviously so, of the whole genre of chivalric romances, very popular in Cervantes' time, less so today (who has read Amadis of Gaul?)

The TV series Soap was aired on Swedish television from 1978, before the broad public had any knowledge of the concept of soap opera. Nevertheless, it became very popular. I was one of the kids eagerly watching it, having no idea that it was actually a parody!
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Old 02-18-2016, 03:55 PM
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How many people have seen Zero Hour?
I have.
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Old 02-18-2016, 04:00 PM
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Old 02-18-2016, 04:01 PM
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TBH, Yankovic's entire oeuvre is full of parodies better done and better known (or better remembered) than the originals.
Which parodies of his would you say are better known than the originals? I'm not the biggest Weird Al fan, though I'd say I'm familiar with his biggest hits, and with the exception of "I Lost on Jeopardy!", I don't think I'd have any trouble naming the originals.
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Old 02-18-2016, 04:27 PM
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Parody being the original intention is debatable. But, yeah, Deadpool started life as a Deathstroke pastiche. Rob Liefeld comes up with a lot of pastiches.
That's mostly because he's an untalented hack.
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Old 02-18-2016, 05:23 PM
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Quite a few people know Tom Lehrer's song "The Elements" (it was featured on The Big Bang Theory, and Daniel Radcliffe sang it on a talk show), but few have probably heard the Danny Kaye routine, "Tchaikovsky," it was parodying.
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Old 02-18-2016, 05:58 PM
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Quite a few people know Tom Lehrer's song "The Elements" (it was featured on The Big Bang Theory, and Daniel Radcliffe sang it on a talk show), but few have probably heard the Danny Kaye routine, "Tchaikovsky," it was parodying.
Really? It's to the tune of I Am The Very Model Of A Modern Major General, another patter song by Gilbert & Sullivan that appeared in The Pirates of Penzance.
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Old 02-18-2016, 06:07 PM
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Really? It's to the tune of I Am The Very Model Of A Modern Major General, another patter song by Gilbert & Sullivan that appeared in The Pirates of Penzance.
Danny Kaye Tchaikovsky
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"Tschaikowsky (and Other Russians)" is not a song in the normal sense of the term: it is a rhyming list of fifty Russian composers' names, which Kaye rattled off (in a speaking, not singing, voice) as rapidly as possible.
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Old 02-18-2016, 06:14 PM
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Who's more well known might be a split decision right now with the new tv series and the flop of the most recent movie, but many people aren't aware that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles started out as a parody of Daredevil.
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Old 02-18-2016, 06:16 PM
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You sure you guys aren't thinking of Tom Lehrer's "Lobachevsky," a parody of Danny Kaye's song about Russian actor Constantin Stanislavski? Although I don't think either of those are particularly well known.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lobachevsky_%28song%29
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Old 02-18-2016, 06:40 PM
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George MacDonald Fraser's Flashman series is based on a character from Thomas Hughes' book Tom Brown's School Days
This surely counts. Even those of us who have read Fraser have surely no more than skimmed Hughes.

Except that I'm not sure I'd describe Fraser as a "parody" of Hughes. The Flashman novels are more of an "anti-riff" on him rather than a detailed parody. Fraser was running with elements of Hughes, but, more importantly, was satirising other elements of Victorian culture. Hughes was only the starting point.
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Old 02-18-2016, 06:49 PM
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I've seen it once on TCM, and I was really amused at how close some of the dialog in "Airplane!" was to the original. Even the hero's name, Ted Stryker, is the same except for the spelling.
You can watch this scene by scene cmparison of the two films here, "Zero hour" and "Airplane!"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dO90...cMiliNjptWCnsg
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Old 02-18-2016, 07:09 PM
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Northanger Abbey is in part a parody of Gothic novels. It isn't Jane Austen's most famous work, but it's probably more famous than the novels it parodies, like The Castle of Otranto (1764) by Horace Walpole and The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794) by Ann Radcliffe.
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Old 02-18-2016, 07:14 PM
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Weird Al to George Harrison: "You know, I do song parodies, but you've been doing them a lot longer, haven't you? I mean, didn't you do that great parody of 'He's So Fine'?"
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Old 02-18-2016, 07:44 PM
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For a long time I would have said Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but I realize Daredevil is increasing in popularity. Still more famous than the gritty comics they were parodying, though.
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Old 02-18-2016, 07:45 PM
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Carol Burnett descending the steps, wearing the drapes. Probably more people have seen that, than Gone with the Wind.
I have my doubts when looking at the box office numbers for GWTW, including its several re-releases when it was making more money than many new films. The Carol Burnett sketch was shortly after GWTW was televised for the first time in 1976, which made GWTW available to people who hadn't been born when it was first released.

Possibly now that much of the original 1939 audience has died off, Carol Burnett might be getting close, but it's not a sure thing. Worldwide, it might be a conservative guess that ~400 million people saw GWTW. Give it another few decades for old age to thin out that number a little more.
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Old 02-18-2016, 07:53 PM
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This surely counts. Even those of us who have read Fraser have surely no more than skimmed Hughes.
Many of us who have Read Hughes (Tom Browns Schooldays) have no more than skimmed Hughes....
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Old 02-18-2016, 08:13 PM
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I don't know how familiar Spike Jones is today, but his mid-1940s parody of "Cocktails for Two" is probably more famous than any of the original recordings of the song (which was introduced as a perfectly straight ballad in the 1934 film Murder at the Vanities).
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Old 02-18-2016, 08:26 PM
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I have my doubts when looking at the box office numbers for GWTW, including its several re-releases when it was making more money than many new films. The Carol Burnett sketch was shortly after GWTW was televised for the first time in 1976, which made GWTW available to people who hadn't been born when it was first released.

Possibly now that much of the original 1939 audience has died off, Carol Burnett might be getting close, but it's not a sure thing. Worldwide, it might be a conservative guess that ~400 million people saw GWTW. Give it another few decades for old age to thin out that number a little more.
A better example might be her "Nora Desmond" character. A lot of the younger audience who watched the show was probably not familiar with the film Sunset Boulevard. I'm sure a lot of people just thought she was playing a generic aging film star; and, FWIW, the "Nora Desmond" sketches do hold up on their own with that in mind.

It's not exactly what the OP is looking for, but it keeps coming into my head: most people who see The Wizard of Oz don't realize that the musical numbers the Scarecrow, Tinman and Lion do are pretty straight-up Vaudeville softshoe numbers, and much of the dialogue among those characters is Vaudeville patter. My father was old enough to remember Vaudeville, and he always loved the movie for that reason.

Also, not parodies strictly, but ever since TV commercials started using classic songs, slightly altered, for jingles, millions of young people are more familiar with the jingle. The oldest example I can personally think of is a broker, or something, named Duane Dow, in Indiana (or maybe it was national, but I have a specific memory of hearing it when I visited my cousins), who used the song from Bye, Bye Birdie, to come up with "We love you Duane Dow, of yes we do," etc. My brother also remembers "It's Gonna be a Great Day" not as a religious song, but as a jingle for a kitchen cleaner, or Windex, or something. We actually had a conversation about this a couple years ago, because he had just heard the original song for the first time.

Oh, and Jewish kids learn the "Batman Smells" version of "Jingle Bells" before they learn the original.
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Old 02-18-2016, 08:30 PM
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Barbe Rouge is a series of Pirate adventure comics that ran in Pilote comic along with the adventures of Asterix the Gaul. It's little known outside France and Belgium. However, the red bearded pirate that Asterix sinks in most books has achieved international fame.
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Old 02-18-2016, 08:54 PM
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Which parodies of his would you say are better known than the originals? I'm not the biggest Weird Al fan, though I'd say I'm familiar with his biggest hits, and with the exception of "I Lost on Jeopardy!", I don't think I'd have any trouble naming the originals.
Maybe it's just me, but I'd wager more people remember Weird Al's "Jurassic Park" song than the original "MacArthur Park." And honestly, "MacArthur Park's" lyrics are so weird to begin with that you might not be able to tell which is the original and which the parody.
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Old 02-18-2016, 09:00 PM
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The #1 movie in the country right now is DEADPOOL, aka Wade Wilson.

How well-known is Deathstroke, aka Slade Wilson?
Ah! Beat me to it! Thousands of Deadpool virgins people are getting their first exposure to the character this week and probably none of them realize he is a parody of a DC character.
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Old 02-18-2016, 09:03 PM
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How many people have seen Zero Hour?
Zero Hour? What is it?!
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Old 02-18-2016, 09:08 PM
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How many people have seen Zero Hour?
I have. It was a very strange experience.
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Old 02-18-2016, 09:14 PM
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Zero Hour? What is it?!
It's a movie, but that's not important right now. Surely you know that.
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