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Urban Legends

The Brief Final Exam Essay

The Legend

As the final exam for a creative writing class, university students were given 60 minutes to write a short story that included four elements: religion, royalty, sex, and mystery.

After about ten minutes, a student brought his bluebook up to the front of the class and put it in the "completed" box.

"Just a minute," said the professor, looking up at the student incredulously. "What are you doing?"

"I'm done," said the student.

The professor grumbled, "Impossible," and picked up the bluebook. He opened it. Inside was written:

"Excuse me," said the Pope to the King, "have you seen my pants?"

The student got an "A".

(variation)

A young George Lucas, fresh in the glow of American Graffiti's success, wrote a proposal for an epic film to Twentieth Century Fox. The film studio liked his writing, but said that the script just didn't have what they were looking for.

"In order to be a true epic," the rejection said, "a script has to have four elements: religion, royalty, war, and mystery."

Lucas wrote back, "How's this: 'The Jedi knight felt a disturbance in the force -- had storm troopers abducted the princess?'"

A few days later, he had a distribution deal for Star Wars.


Behind the Legend

The Lucas story is true (as any Star Wars fan knows), and it turned out that the student in the first version of the legend had heard it. When this came to light, he was accused of plagiarism and had his A reduced to an F.


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