[[quoteright:255:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/AluminumChristmasTree_3141.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:255:Wow. They really ''do'' exist.]]

->''"[[WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes Roadrunners]] are real?"''
-->-- '''Homer Simpson''', ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', "Last of the Red Hat Mamas"

Remember ''WesternAnimation/ACharlieBrownChristmas'' (1965) when Lucy said, "Get the biggest aluminum tree you can find, Charlie Brown! Maybe painted pink!"? ''Aluminum'' Christmas trees painted ''pink''? Modern-day viewers are frequently surprised to find out that line wasn't merely a witty bit of satire about the commercialization of Christmas. TheSixties had their share of oddball kitsch, and the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aluminum_Christmas_tree aluminum Christmas tree]] is a God's-honest-truth ''[[RealLife real example]]'' -- and it did actually come in a variety of colors including pink (although it was not, as depicted in the cartoon, simply a hollow metal cone; imagine a modern fake tree, only shiny all over.) [[note]] You can buy them [[http://www.hammacher.com/Product/Default.aspx?sku=83886 online]].[[/note]]

The Aluminum Christmas Trees trope results when a quaint element of RealLife appears in a work of fiction, but people viewing that work on a later day, in another country, or those simply not aware of the element mistake the element for an UnusuallyUninterestingSight the writers made up. In the most extreme cases, they think the element is absurd and dismiss it as "[[RealityIsUnrealistic unrealistic]]".

This can also occur in a period work when the writers ''did'' do the research, but the truth they uncovered is so bizarre or surprising that audiences think they ''must'' have just made it up. In this case, they may add a NotMakingThisUpDisclaimer. Of course, something existing doesn't necessarily imply that it was common enough to just show up in the chronological and spacial span of the work or at the frequency it does in the work, which is why period pieces in which all the costumes are reconstructions or composites of documented outfits still manage to be fashionable for the period the works are written/produced in.

Compare TechnologyMarchesOn, SeinfeldIsUnfunny, and PoesLaw. A subtrope of RealityIsUnrealistic, ValuesDissonance, and TruthInTelevision. Can also be used as a means of ShownTheirWork. Frequently found in {{Unintentional Period Piece}}s.

When this occurs in-universe, it's EskimosArentReal.

Nothing to do with the Christmas tree the Skylab astronauts made from left-over aluminum cans.

It could simply be a case of SmallReferencePools.

----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Anime/DarkerThanBlack''. The British Secret Intelligence Service is popularly called MI6, thanks to the Franchise/JamesBond series. So, the name "SecretIntelligenceService" seemed too "spy-like" to be real and looks like a fictional agency created by the show. MI-5 and MI-6 were real organizations with responsibility for domestic (MI-5) and overseas (MI-6) human-intelligence assets. [[labelnote:details]]The terms come from offices in the British War Office in and around World War I; 17 different MI -- for "Military Intelligence" -- numbers were used, from MI-1 to MI-19, handling a variety of war-oriented duties. Except for MI-18 and MI-13. There never was an MI-18. With the exception of 5 and 6, none had intelligence responsibilities as the term is used today.[[/labelnote]]
** Also with the British spies of ''Anime/DarkerThanBlack''- it's easy to think that the designs of November 11's cigarettes, black with white skulls on them, are just a joke. Nope, they are an actual British product, which fits perfectly with November 11's [[EvilHasABadSenseOfHumor sense of humor]].
* Although it didn't reach UrbanLegend level in reality, the whole "Rail Tracer" idea in ''LightNovel/{{Baccano}}'' has some equivalent in reality. The original MurderInc rode trains and committed hits in various cities so that their crimes were essentially untraceable, as police from the cities where the crimes were committed would naturally suspect local criminals, who likely would have alibis for the time the murders were committed. Completely intentional. [[spoiler: The train-hopping assassin is kind of important to the plot.]] Welcome home, Claire!
* In ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'', there was some controversy over a claim that octopi eat sharks said by Killer B while fighting Kisame. In real life though, [[http://www.freesciencelectures.com/video/giant-octopus-eats-sharks-at-aquarium/ it's been known to happen]].
* In ''Manga/{{Negima}}'', season one, episode eight, the twins mention a "walking club", which is about [[SeriousBusiness professional walking]]. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racewalking There actually is a sport called "racewalking".]]
* The title character of ''Manga/RurouniKenshin'' fits this trope in two respects. One, he's loosely based on an actual person, and likewise, so were a number of the other characters (see below). Kenshin's original was named [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kawakami_Gensai Kawakami Gensai]]. Potentially, Kenshin's {{bishonen}} to the point of DudeLooksLikeALady appearance could be an example of this. WordOfGod states that Gensai had feminine features and carried out assassinations in broad daylight because people thought he was a woman and allowed him to get close enough, and at one point was said to have hid out in a brothel following an assassination. It also might have something to do with Uesugi Kenshin [[note]] Kenshin is not Himura's birth name. He was orphaned and given that name by his master, who might have been inspired by Uesugi Kenshin, who was a famous swordsman[[/note]], who is presented as a bishonen in some historical fiction works. On top of that, there have been some speculations that Uesugi Kenshin was secretly a woman.
** Shinomori Aoshi was based off historical character [[TheShinsengumi Hijikata Toshizo]], and his boss Kanryuu based on Takeda Kanryuusai. Also, there really was a [[TheShinsengumi Saito Hajime]]. And Saito Hajime was married, which the author predicted would be so unbelievable that there was a tag that said "[[NotMakingThisUpDisclaimer This is historical fact]]" when Saito mentions he's married. He also spent much of his later life as a school teacher and died of an ulcer.
* One episode of ''Anime/LupinIII'' shows Lupin in a race driving a six-wheeled car. At the time of production, the Tyrrell P34 was competing in F1, using the four small wheels up front to maintain traction while having better aerodynamics than a pair of taller wheels.
** The ''Anime/FutureGPXCyberFormula'' series does a similar thing in some race cars, particularly the later incarnations of Asurada, which are basically futuristic versions of the Tyrrell P34 model used 15 years earlier.
* In ''LightNovel/{{No 6}}'', Nezumi is cross dressing in a performance of a Shakespearean play and is well known for it. Those who aren't familiar with [[Creator/WilliamShakespeare Shakespeare]] will think that this is FanService aimed at {{Yaoi Fangirl}}s, but using men to play female roles was an actual thing they did in Shakespeare's time.
* John Titor was not some invention made for ''VisualNovel/SteinsGate''. He was an actual figure from 2000 who claimed to be a time traveler from the year 2036.
* In ''Manga/ArpeggioOfBlueSteel'', the '"JDS Hakugei'' is a submarine with a rocket propulsion system. This is currently being researched by DARPA.
* Many ''Webcomic/AxisPowersHetalia'' fans have wondered why in flashbacks the ''male'' countries seem to be [[WholesomeCrossdresser crossdressing]] as toddlers. They're not, that's boy's clothes. Until the early 20th century it was common in many countries for young boys to wear dress-like garments until they were at maximum 8 years old. When that happened they would begin "breeching".
* One episode of ''Anime/GhostInTheShellStandAloneComplex'' centered around a computer program a person used that automatically traded stock, which continued even after the programmer died. In fact, those kinds of programs ''already existed'' and were in use when the episode was made, and have since become commonplace to the point that automated stock transactions are actually the majority.
* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'': A flashback set 109 years in the past has Shinji telling Aizen that he's playing jazz music which is just becoming popular in the World of the Living. The fandom reacted with surprise that Tite Kubo, a infamous music geek, would be wrong about jazz existing back then. However, in a small joke sketch in that volume, the author informs the character that 'jazz' doesn't actually exist yet, leaving Shinji confused over what he's listening to. The implication is that Shinji is listening to ragtime, which these days is often viewed as an early form of jazz.
* In ContinuityReboot ''Anime/SailorMoonCrystal,'' the retention of Game Center Crown may seem to run counter to its SettingUpdate to non-Japanese viewers, given the western death of the VideoArcade, and the [[Series/PrettyGuardianSailorMoon 2003 tokusatsu]]'s change to a Karaoke Bar, but though [[http://kotaku.com/what-could-kill-japanese-arcades-1552675093 contracting]], arcade gaming remains the ''largest'' sector of Japan's gaming market.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* There's a 1940s ''[[Comicbook/JusticeSocietyOfAmerica JSA]]'' comic that consists of anti-German war propaganda, which claims (among other things) that the German people are violent by nature. One example of this "natural German barbarity" was called "[[DuelingScar scar dueling,]]" where young men from high-end academies would fence with the intention of scarring each other's faces, then wear the [[GoodScarsEvilScars scars as a status symbol]]. More than one modern reader thought this was ridiculous propaganda, except it was ''an actual occurrence in German academies''! The scar was called a ''schmiss." Left unsaid was the fact that the student organizations where this was so common were actually suppressed by the Nazis.
** ''Mensur'' dueling is a tradition among many of the German equivalent to American fraternities ("Studentenverbindung", types of which include "Burschenschaften", "Corps", "Landsmannschaften" etc.) Nowadays it is not mainstream any more, which they were and it was in those times, and the scars ("Schmiss", pl. "Schmisse") are no longer a status symbol accepted throughout society, deliberately sought, deliberately emphasized (by deliberately bad stitching, by adding dirt to the wounds, by excessive use of alcohol specifically aimed at impeding the healing of the fresh wounds), which they were at the time, but rather a prominent (very recognizable, definitely not universally desirable) side effect. [[http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Mensur_safety_gear_6247.jpg Here's the type of safety equipment]] worn for a ''mensur'' duel in the late 1950's; unlike a normal fencing mask, it protects the eyes, nose, and throat but leaves the cheeks and forehead vulnerable.
** In ''Literature/StarTrekNewFrontier'', it is assumed (though never said outright) that Katerina Mueller's scar was from a ''mensur'' duel from her Heidelberg days. Apparently, the practice is still in existence in the 24th century (though probably on the DL).
** There is a GeniusBonus about that in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'', where Duvall tells ComicBook/JonahHex "You cannot defeat me. I am a Heidelberg fencing champion". Jonah is not impressed...
* As in ''Comicbook/{{Watchmen}}'', there really is [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galle_%28Martian_crater%29 a smiley face crater on Mars]]. This smiley face is called Galle (which is another huge element of the series). Dave Gibbons admits that was incredibly lucky.
* Jughead's trademark beanie in ''ArchieComics'' was actually once a ''real'' fashion trend amongst teenagers during the years in which the comic debuted. They would cut up their fathers' old fedoras into jagged-edged inverted caps. Nowadays, Jughead's hat now just makes him look eccentric, or maybe just like a hipster.
** The same style was worn by Goober Pyle on ''Series/TheAndyGriffithShow''.
** Due to Jughead's BigEater tendencies, some folks confused it for a {{Bland Name|Product}} version of Burger King's cardboard crowns they give to kids.
* One of the more frequent nitpicks about the ''Franchise/{{Batman}}'' comics is the corruption of the Gotham City Police Department, from {{the Bronze Age|OfComicBooks}} onward. People thought that there's no way a major city could be that openly and utterly corrupt without ''someone'' (city government, the Feds) stepping in and cleaning house. Then you get a look at stories about New York City and Chicago, from as recently as the early 90s. Mob control of both departments (in addition to the courts and local government) was near absolute and took the FBI decades to break their hold.
* The Faygo soft drink, beloved of characters in ''ComicStrip/KnightsOfTheDinnerTable'', and the bizarre flavours mentioned (like Rock & Rye), is an actual US brand and not something Jolly Blackburn had made up. Fans of the Music/InsaneClownPosse will recognize it as the band's drink of choice.
** For added surprise, Rock & Rye is both a whiskey cocktail and a commercial liqueur made with rye whiskey and rock sweets.
** Some fans were likewise unaware that ''Film/HawkTheSlayer'' is a real movie.
* Amazingly enough, ''Giant Size Man-Thing'' was [[http://marvel.wikia.com/Comics:Giant-Size_Man-Thing_Vol_1_5 an actual, six-issue, comic book series]]. Marvel had many "Giant-Size" comic books in the 1970s, in this case for the character Comicbook/ManThing. Other titles included ''Giant-Size Invaders,'' ''Giant-Size Marvel Triple Action,'' and the legendary (if less innuendo-laden) ''Giant-Size X-Men.''
** Ridiculously enough, this trope ''also'' applies to ''[[http://theewondertwins.blogspot.com/2010/01/sad-moments-in-comic-book-history-power.html Power Pachyderms]]'', and everything described about it in [[http://www.menagea3.net/strips-ma3/cakewalk this]] ''Webcomic/MenageA3'' strip.
* In {{the Silver Age|OfComicBooks}}, Franchise/{{Superman}} disguised the multi-ton key to his [[HomeBase Fortress of Solitude]] as an "airplane marker" pointing to the North Pole. He maintained this facade well into {{the Bronze Age|OfComicBooks}}, long after such markers had become forgotten relics -- but [[http://www.core77.com/blog/transportation/what_are_these_giant_concrete_arrows_across_the_american_landscape_25236.asp there's still a line of them running across the United States]], and yes, they used to be painted bright yellow.
* ''Comicbook/{{Asterix}}'' is mostly PurelyAestheticEra and [[HollywoodHistory the kind of deliberately inaccurate things French children half-remember from primary school history]], but the creators did do a lot of research by reading contemporary Roman reports, and occasionally this shows. For instance, [[UnreliableNarrator according to the Romans]] (the Celtic people, as a rule, left no written records) the historical Gauls really were said to be terrified of the sky falling on their heads, and to have shot arrows at the sky during thunderstorms to just ''dare'' it to come down. Occasionally Cacofonix will be depicted with his instruments besides his signature lyre, usually a ridiculous-looking bagpipe-like thing and an even more ridiculous horn with an animal head, all of which are the instruments the real Gauls would have used - bagpipe-like instruments were known to have been played by the Romans (notably by Nero, who was also said to have been very bad at it), and the horn is a ''carnyx'', a kind of early trumpet with a boar's mouth-shaped bell.
** At Varius Flavus's [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar orgy]] in ''Asterix in Switzerland'', the women are wearing ridiculous, apocalyptic hairstyles with a bonnet-shaped mass of tight curls at the front of the head. That is a hairstyle seen quite commonly on busts of rich Roman women.
** One gag in ''Asterix the Gladiator'' involves a trio of Romans in silly costumes walking into the arena covered in advertising slogans before a gladiator fight, while a couple of Romans in the background discuss whether or not people are bothered by all of the commercials. This is obviously a joke about television advertising but was an actual practice - gladiator matches were preceded by advertising and sometimes the gladiators themselves would carry advertising pennants, wear slogans or use sponsored equipment.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* A story arc in the 1980s Old West comic strip ''[[http://www.riphaywire.com/latigo/?p=535 Latigo]]'' starts with one character, who is a bit [[TheDitz impractical and thoughtless]], rejoicing at finding a "three-dollar gold piece". It's got to be a fake, right? Nope, the U.S. Mint tried it, from 1854 to 1889. ''Nobody'' liked it. In the 35 years it was produced, less than half-a million were struck, at all three U.S. Mint facilities, combined.
* There was a ''Comicstrip/{{Garfield}}'' strip where he put on another performance on top of the fence and had money thrown at him by the resident of some distant Pacific island in the form of a millstone. The Yap islands in the Pacific really do use enormous round stone discs with a hole in the middle as a form of currency. See [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rai_stones The Other Wiki]] for details. Anyone who grew up in the '60s or '70s would remember the Yap stone coin's frequent appearances in ''Ripley's Believe It or Not!'' on the funny pages, but everyone else...
* In ''Comicstrip/{{Elvis}}'', Elvis' daughter listens to "Smurf Hits," pop songs with the lyrics rewritten to be about Franchise/TheSmurfs. Most people in Sweden, where ''Elvis'' is published, know that ''Smurf Hits'' is a real thing. But the fact that the song that Elvis' daughter is listening to, which goes "Kokobom smurf smurf, kokobom smurf smurf," is real will surprise a lot of readers since it sounds more like a parody.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Fiction]]
* In ''Fanfic/BoysUndSenshado'', it is mentioned that there is a sport called Sentoki-do, similar to [[Anime/GirlsUndPanzer Sensha-do]], but with planes rather than tanks; [[OriginalCharacter Akio's]] family does it, but he is unwilling to do so because of the accident that killed his father. The author says that combat dogfighting actually exists in real life, over the Pacific Ocean, with lasers instead of simunition rounds.
* In [[Fanfic/AKingdomDivided A Kingdom Divided]] it is mentioned that the airships' rotary engines tended to lose cylinders in mid-air. It's an actual issue of {{WWI}}-era aircraft rotary engines.
* In ''Fanfic/SevenDaysInSunnyJune'' a group based in several high schools is named "The Club" whose purpose is [[spoiler: to drug and date rape girls in the various schools]] until it was taken down. Some people complained that it was a VerySpecialEpisode plotline doused with a lack of realism until the author pointed out that said groups ''do'' exist...and then proceeded to give examples, two cases of which happened at prestigious schools in Tokyo and Philadelphia.
* In [[FanFic/TheVinylAndOctaviaSeries Vinyl and Octavia Engage in Roleplay]], the two titular characters play a tabletop roleplaying game called Pony Tales. It's [[http://ponytales.forumotion.com/ a real thing]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* In ''Film/GoodNightAndGoodLuck'', preview audiences thought that "[[YourCostumeNeedsWork the actor playing McCarthy]]" was way over the top. All clips of Joseph [=McCarthy=] in the film were footage of the late senator himself. To be fair, though, the editing of the film did significantly increase the "over the top" effect -- much of it plays like a greatest-hits compilation of [=McCarthy=]'s most extreme moments.
* From ''Film/MontyPythonsLifeOfBrian'', although it was intended as a metaphor for the British Left during the 1970s, WeAreStrugglingTogether is also quite accurate to how Judean groups acted during Jesus' life and the writing of the Gospels. For instance, neither the Sadducees nor the Pharisees liked the Romans, but they also both disliked each other. The "What have the Romans done for us?" scene is very similar to a tractate in ''Literature/TheTalmud''.
* From ''Film/AChristmasStory'': the "Red Ryder" model of BB guns really existed in TheThirties and weren't just a product of Jean Shepherd's imagination. Daisy manufactures Red Ryder BB rifles even today. They've been in continuous production, too, not [[TheRedStapler reintroduced after the movie]] [[VindicatedByCable became popular]]. They were advertised in the back pages of children's comic books. While the Red Ryder didn't have "the compass in the stock and the thing that tells time", another model in the product line, the "Buck Jones", ''did'' have both a sundial and a compass in the stock. The Buck Jones was a 60-shot pump action, though, not a carbine action, 200-shot. The most likely explanation is that Shepherd merged the two models in his memories.
** And "You'll put someone's eye out" was a warning that many mothers issued concerning it... in no small part because this was a ''distressingly'' common accident in the first part of the 20th century among suburban and rural boys who used such guns.
** Lifebuoy Soap is almost completely forgotten now, but it's actually still being made. Likewise Palmolive is known almost entirely as a dish soap these days, but they did and still do make hand soap.
* Many viewers probably laughed at the "anachronistic" fountains on the grounds of the French royal palace in the 1998 movie version of Creator/AlexandreDumas' novel ''Film/TheManInTheIronMask''. Truth is, not only were they real, but they're also OlderThanTheyThink: the Alhambra in Granada, Spain, has fountains powered not by electricity, but by gravity, with an aqueduct that brings water from the uphill Darro river. The very idea of gravity-powered fountains, in fact, dates back at least [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fountain#Ancient_Roman_fountains to the ancient Romans]].
** Pre-electricity fountains were to be found in parks and ornamental gardens throughout Europe at one point. They've mostly been replaced or fallen out of use now, though.
* It's easy to assume that Kate, the female medieval blacksmith from ''Film/AKnightsTale'', is just another piece of the movie's deliberate AnachronismStew and PoliticallyCorrectHistory. But, according to the law of the Blacksmith's Guild of the time, if a blacksmith died and his widow was trained in the profession, then she was allowed to work as a blacksmith to support herself and any children from the marriage unless she remarried, and Kate refers to her late husband in one scene. There still survive examples of medieval craft works that were made by widows of guild members (we know this because in addition to their late husband's craft marks, which they were allowed to use, these women added a lozenge - the heraldic symbol for "female" - to assert their identity.)
** Women were often allowed to be members of guilds in their own right, in fact, without regard to their husbands' trade. Paris' 13th century tax rolls list women as schoolmasters, doctors, apothecaries, plasterers, dyers, copyists (the literate population of 13th century France was about equally distributed between the sexes, and the records seem to indicate women bought more books), and bookbinders; Louis IX's court records also list women as hairdressers, salt merchants, millers, and farmers. Some crafts (notably brewers in England, hence the archaic term "alewife"--which has no masculine equivalent--for a woman innkeeper[[note]]Today, it refers to a kind of fish.[[/note]]) were largely monopolized by women.
* Likewise, the presence of black cowboys in recent westerns. Many cowboys in TheWildWest in the 1870s-90s were freedmen. It is their ''absence'' from the classic [[TheWestern Western]] format of the '30s through early '60s that is inaccurate. This omission is hinted at in ''The Cowboy Way'' through one of the two main characters' skepticism concerning the existence of famous black rodeo performer Bill Pickett. Then again, very few characters in Westerns are actually cowboys, i.e., they don't drive cattle to market to earn their living.
* ''Almost'' example: In the Creator/RidleyScott film ''Film/{{Gladiator}}'', after the producers learned that gladiators did ''product endorsements'' [[OlderThanTheyThink much like modern athletes do]], there was supposed to be a scene with gladiators endorsing products of the time. It was cut because [[RealityIsUnrealistic the idea felt unbelievable]].
** Commodus deciding to fight a gladiator in the arena looks like a plot device to let Maximus get his revenge. The historical Commodus ''did'' actually fight in gladiator contests, although it isn't how he died.
* The humongous bank vault door in ''Film/{{Tron}}'' may look like a slightly over-the-top prop. It (along with the laser lab and computer room) is real and can be found at the [[https://publicaffairs.llnl.gov/news/news_releases/2009/NR-NNSA-09-03-06.html Lawrence Livermore Laboratory.]] The door does weigh four tons; it serves to allow heavy equipment to access the [[https://lasers.llnl.gov/newsroom/project_status/ laser lab]]. The false bits: it opening by itself (it's opened by hand -- the hinges are nearly frictionless and perfectly balanced -- one fit man can do it); the fancy but hackable electronic lock (it's locked by a simple manual mechanism inside -- its purpose is to stop radiation from getting out, not thieves and spies from getting in); and the reaction closeup shot facing away from the door (this was shot in Disney Studios' parking lot).
** Even in the film, the real opening mechanism is visible (standard-looking panic bar controlled latch mechanism) once the door finishes opening.
* The climax of ''Film/Terminator2JudgmentDay'' involves a tanker truck full of liquid nitrogen crashing into a steel mill. That's not as ridiculous as people assume. Large volumes of liquid nitrogen are transported in tanker trucks in real life, because it's used in the manufacture of trunnion hub girders. And yes, trunnion hub girders are also real.
* ''Film/DrStrangelove'':
** GeneralRipper's paranoia about fluoridating water is most likely to come across as simply a manifestation of him being insane. However, his suspicion was shared by the ultra-right John Birch Society, and thus was an allusion to an actual conspiracy theory which was shared by people with similar ideology as the fictional character.
** Another thing from that movie: If you think it's unrealistic that a general like Turgidson would be so cavalier about [[AMillionIsAStatistic killing millions of people]] in the name of winning the UsefulNotes/ColdWar, you probably don't know about General Thomas S. Power, who was the commander in chief of Strategic Air Command from 1957-64. When the RAND corporation(parodied in the film as the [[BlandNameProduct BLAND corporation]]) advised that SAC not strike Soviet cities at the start of a war, Power replied: "Restraint? Why are you so concerned with saving their lives? The whole idea is to kill the bastards. At the end of the war if there are two Americans and one Russian left alive, we win!" Additionally, the RAND corporation itself really did come out with studies saying twenty million American dead would be an acceptable loss in a nuclear conflict.
* The AnachronismStew in Creator/MelBrooks' ''Film/HistoryOfTheWorldPartI'' includes a "stand-up philosopher" in ancient Rome. There was a point in time when Romans actually hired philosophers to recite at dinner parties so that the host could look cultured. Which was just another custom they swiped from Greeks wholesale. In Ancient Greece there were traveling philosophers for hire who ''advertised'' their guest-entertaining services to wealthy hosts with pretensions of culture.
* Many of the varying scenes of UsefulNotes/TheAmericanCivilWar depravity in ''Film/TheGoodTheBadAndTheUgly'' are actually Creator/SergioLeone [[ShownTheirWork showing his work]], much to the confusion of most of his prop builders, cinematographers and actors who were confused by everything from the long coat Leone chose to dress Blondie in to the [[{{BFG}} train cannon]] with the spy tied to the front of it and the scene where the soldiers grimly shoot a criminal after standing him next to a coffin.
* Just in case anyone was wondering about that scene in ''Film/TheFrenchConnection'' where the traffickers are testing the purity of their merchandise... pure substances (such as heroin) have fixed melting points, but the melting point will become lowered if the substance is impure. So, if the powder tastes like heroin and melts at the right temperature (as determined by a Thiele melting point apparatus in this case), then it's got to be pure heroin. The trafficker's expert [[ShownTheirWork demonstrates all the salient points of the lab procedure]], even displaying the mineral oil bottle just to show us that he's using the usual heat transfer medium.
** Also, the entire plot is based on the real "French connection" case where raw Turkish opium was processed into heroin in Marseilles before coming to the US. Many other countries have also served as drug middlemen.
** On top of that, real heroin was used for that scene.
* ''Film/CSATheConfederateStatesOfAmerica'' contains several faux commercials for some very afrophobic products, including a brand of tobacco you need NWordPrivileges to say. Disturbingly (as is revealed at the end of the documentary), all of the products (with the exception of an electronic slave monitoring system) turn out to be real (though no longer existent) brands. Also, drapetomania, a "disease" believed to cause slaves to run away, was sadly once a real (quack) medical theory invented by a psychiatrist from Louisiana.
** Darkie Toothpaste was an actual brand sold in Asia which was also known as "Black Man Toothpaste". After realizing the negative press they'd been getting, they changed the name to "Darlie Toothpaste" and changed the picture from a racist black caricature to a generic man in a top hat. However, they ''didn't'' change the name in several Asian languages, and ran ads explaining that [[NewLookSameGreatTaste despite the changes in packaging, "Black Man Toothpaste is still Black Man Toothpaste."]]
* The Korean movie ''Film/ATaleOfTwoSisters'' is extremely symbolic, and there is a lot of stuff that goes on that doesn't immediately make sense and you have to think about it in order to get what is going on. Therefore, Western viewers can be forgiven for the EpilepticTrees they come up with in trying to deduce the symbolism of the tents right by the road in a scene where two characters are driving at night. These tents are actually a common sight in rural areas of Korea as they serve an agricultural purpose.
* The World Sudoku Championship that featured in the mockumentary ''Colours By Numbers''? It's real, as are some of the competitors mentioned.
* The entire story in ''Film/ILoveYouPhillipMorris'' counts as one of these; if the film didn't specifically tell you at the beginning that "This actually happened," there's no way anyone could believe it.
* The tag line "More of this is true than you would probably believe" in ''Film/TheMenWhoStareAtGoats'' pretty accurately sums up the weirdness that the movie is based on.
** One example that kind of hurt the film is that the real organization covered actually used ''Franchise/StarWars'' references (such as calling themselves "Jedi Warriors"). Unfortunately, several reviewers assumed that this aspect was a labored ActorAllusion to Creator/EwanMcGregor and criticized the film for it.
* After ''Film/ItsAWonderfulLife'' was released, Creator/FrankCapra received several letters complaining about the idea of a high school gym with a swimming pool underneath its floor, saying that no such places exist. Reviewers also knocked the scene as being too obviously contrived and unrealistic. The scene was shot at [[http://dearoldhollywood.blogspot.com/2009/06/its-wonderful-swim-gym-in-beverly-hills.html Beverly Hills High School's "Swim Gym"]], which opened in 1939 and is still used today. Of course, what it would be doing in a podunk town like Bedford Falls is slightly less justifiable
** The same location and prank were also used in the 2000 teen flick ''WhateverItTakes'', perhaps as an homage to ''Wonderful Life.''
** Also in ''Film/ItsAWonderfulLife'', there is a brief shot of a rotisserie powered by a record player. That may seem improbable today, but those things actually did exist, and, in any case, it looks sufficiently RubeGoldberg to have been Mary's or possibly Uncle Billy's invention.
* ''Film/NachoLibre'': The story of a monk who wrestled under a mask to earn money for his orphanage? Too silly to be anything other than a comedy? Tell that to [[http://www.traditioninaction.org/RevolutionPhotos/A180rc_FrayTormenta.htm Fray Tormenta]].
* To a modern viewer, the "anti-drug" message of ''Film/ReeferMadness'' is assumed to be straightforward. Not quite: that movie, and others like it, were made under the strict censorship of UsefulNotes/TheHaysCode, which didn't allow lurid material unless some kind of moral statement was made. Adultery? Murder? No problem; filmmakers could tack on some kind of token "moral message", and stay within the rules of the game. Another infamous example is ''Child Bride'', which [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar includes an extended scene of a 12-year old skinny-dipping]] by claiming to draw attention to the problem of child marriage.
* Movies and TV series, often considered cult nowadays, made by the director Stanisław Bareja after 1970 display many absurdities of living in the People's Republic of Poland that seem surreal even to Polish viewers if they are too young to remember this era.
* A number of the complaints about inaccuracy in the Creator/MelGibson film ''Film/{{Apocalypto}}'' actually fall into this category.
** "Black panther" is actually a generic reference to any melanistic (atypically black furred) big cat, and jaguars, which are native to the Americas, do indeed produce melanistic individuals. The big black cat in the film is a female jaguar, not a leopard.
** The Maya did actually practice human sacrifice. Just not as shown in the film: The Maya prefered to sacrifice rival rulers and nobles, and never to that massive extent--large festivals in which dozens if not hundreds had their hearts dramatically ripped from their chests in full public view was more the purview of the [[{{Mayincatec}} Aztecs]].
** They also did have a blue paint-like dye that they used to mark individuals before sacrifice.
** The decapitation of prisoners was older, more important and more widespread than heart ripping among the Mayans, and like in the movie, it involved dropping the head down stairs and being caught in somewhat sport-like fashion by people at the base. This happened at ballgame courtyards (like the one the remaining prisoners are taken to later in the movie) rather than in temples, though. The part where they throw the bodies of the sacrifices down the temple's steps is entirely real, however. So the movie is [[SymbologyResearchFailure combining]] and simplifying things here, not making them up.
** The Maya Civilization still existed at the time the movie is set [[spoiler: (c.1500 AD)]]. Many Maya city-states, though greatly diminished in power and prosperity compared to their Classic counterparts (the ones that collapsed), continued to exist, even well into the colonial era.
* ''Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean'' and some other pirate movies feature female pirates. HollywoodHistory? Not so! There were {{Pirate Girl}}s, notably Anne Bonny, Mary Read, Jeanne de Clisson and Grace O'Malley. Zheng Yi Shao ended up being one of the most successful pirates ''ever'' and one pirate is in fact an {{Expy}} of her.)
** Similarly, the commonness of ThePiratesWhoDontDoAnything would imply that real pirates were all bloodthirsty ravenous wild men. Only a few of them ''were'' that terrible, but many liked to be thought of that way because people who're frightened out of their wits are much more likely to give up their valuables. In other words, yes, [[Film/ThePrincessBride the Dread Pirate Roberts]]' reliance on reputation ''was'' sort of used in real life.
* Some people have been surprised to learn that The Castle Aaaaargggh from ''Film/MontyPythonAndTheHolyGrail'' is a real place and not "only a model". It's called Castle Stalker, and it's in an inlet on Loch Linnhe in Scotland. 'Camelot' in the "Knights of the Round Table" song wasn't a model, either - it, and all other castles depicted in the film (other than the aforementioned Castle Aaaaargggh) were in fact Doune Castle in Stirlingshire, Scotland. Although the shots looking up at the French throwing animals over the battlements ''were'' done with a mock up (for logistical and safety reasons). On the special edition [=DVD=], there's a surreal moment when Terry Jones and Gilliam travel to Doune Castle (and the other locations used in the film) - and buy a copy of their own movie script in the castle's gift shop.
** To be precise, for the exterior shot of Camelot the Pythons used a (very obvious) model, for the interior shots (i. e. the "Knights of the Round Table" song and dance number) they used Doune Castle.
*** In fact, ''every single interior in the film'' is Doune Castle, and what's more, most of them are ''the same room''.
** The knights in the film are depicted to wear mail [[note]]oh well... dry-brushed wool, to be exact, due to budget reasons[[/note]]. Mail would be a [[ShownTheirWork perfectly realistic]] 6th century armor [[note]]the era in which King Arthur, assuming he was based on a real person, is estimated to have lived[[/note]], and the Romans already knew of and wore it as ''lorica hamata''. All other King Arthur films depict the knights being plate armored. Plate armor did not appear until the 14th century.
** Using animals as ammunition in catapults? Yeah, they actually did that in medieval siege warfare, since it was a convenient way to spread disease in besieged castles.
** The {{Cloudcuckoolander}} monks, who smack themselves in the faces with wooden planks while chanting, are a parody of RealLife [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flagellant flagellants]]. And smacking themselves in the face with wooden planks is actually very ''mild'' compared to what the real flagellants did.
** Hell, even the ''killer rabbit'' has basis in fact. It was inspired by [[http://www.bluffton.edu/~sullivanm/amiens/amienswestquatrefoils.html real medieval]] [[http://www.medievalart.org.uk/Amiens/West_Facade/VirtuesAndVices/AmiensWest_Quatrefoil_02L_Cowardice.html religious art]], which often visually depicted the sin of cowardice by showing a knight fleeing in terror from a rabbit.
*** Those familiar with the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Carter_rabbit_incident Jimmy Carter Rabbit Incident]], which happened a mere four years after the film's release, will know that under the right circumstances, a rabbit can indeed seemingly become vicious.
* As mentioned in the AppealToWorseProblems trope, an example was used about how in ''Film/ThePhantomMenace'' there were elected officials who happened to have titles such as "Queen", and that some places actually ''did'' elect monarchy, including medieval Ireland and early modern Poland. There are still elective monarchies, including Malaysia, Cambodia (where the King is elected by other members of the Royal Family), and Wallis-and-Futuna, a French territory in the Pacific Ocean, which is divided into three traditional kingdoms each led by a king elected among the local aristocracy. However, it should be noted that in these cases, it's never a truly open democracy, and a mere election of one of several high ranking aristocrats.
** In some North American native bands, the children of elected chiefs are officially titled princes and princesses, although that title only matters while their parent holds office.
** In ''Theatre/{{Hamlet}}'', the title character tells Horatio he endorses Fortinbras as king in the ensuing election. The Danish nobility of that era did, in fact, elect the king. By Shakespeare's time it had become common for son to follow father on the throne, but that was by no means automatic, and the Kings had to invest significant political capital in making it happen. It took a coup d'etat ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1660_state_of_emergency_in_Denmark perpetrated by the reigning King]]'' ([[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-coup yes, that's a thing]]) in 1660 to make the throne automatically inheritable.
* Many viewers of ''Film/{{Borat}}'' [[GlobalIgnorance did not know that Kazakhstan was a real country]]. In fact, it is the ninth largest in the world and also the largest landlocked country. However, the "Kazakhstan" of the film resembles the non-fictional country InNameOnly (and you can bet they were not freaking amused-government officials made a point of noting the large Jewish Kazakh community, who emphatically are ''not'' mistreated in the manner of the film).
** This confusion led to an embarrassing incident at a 2012 sporting competition in Kuwait. Maria Dmitrienko, a Kazakh, placed first in an event and the tradition was to play her national anthem when she was awarded her medal. But the officials mistakenly played the fake Kazakh anthem from the movie rather than the real anthem. Dmitrienko handled it graciously and the officials apologized when their mistake was pointed out.
* The system Film/JamesBond uses at the end of ''Film/{{Thunderball}}'' is commonly viewed as the most unrealistic thing James Bond ever does, even in 1965. That device is the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fulton_surface-to-air_recovery_system Fulton Surface to Air Recovery System, or STARS]], a very real and very safe air recovery system, with only one death throughout its history, caused by improper use. The pocket-sized breathing device used by Bond during the movie, on the other hand, was fake but thought to be real, even by the Royal Navy, who tried to get some from the producers, only to be told it was only as effective as the user's ability to hold his breath.
** One of the more ridiculous scenes in ''Film/LiveAndLetDie'' involves Bond running over the backs of a bunch of alligators and crocodiles to get off an island before the carnivores can eat him. It's completely unbelievable... except for being real. According to the commentary on the film, they were planning to have Bond escape using his magnetic watch to pull a boat over, but felt it lacked excitement. They asked the animal handler on the set how he would escape from the island and he proceeded to do the "run-over-their-backs" stunt for the camera. The footage is actually of him doing it!
** Another example of this occurred in ''Film/TheLivingDaylights''. Most fans assumed the scene with Bond and Kara using her cello case to slide down the mountain like a bobsled was done via special effects, thinking that was absurd; actually, it was a simple stunt that both Timothy Dalton and Maryam d'Abo did themselves, actually using it as such. (It took quite a few takes, however.)
** The helicopter-suspended buzzsaws seen in ''Film/TheWorldIsNotEnough'' are in fact used for [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxtNo-rk0uw trimming trees]] in real life. And it is possible to [[http://www.boreme.com/posting.php?id=35820 fly a snowmobile with a paraglider]], as seen with the film's parahawks.
* The "I say, let 'em crash!" Guy seen in ''Film/{{Airplane}}'' (and earlier in ''Film/TheKentuckyFriedMovie'') was a parody of a segment of ''Series/SixtyMinutes'' called ''Point/Counterpoint'' in which a Conservative and Liberal would debate an issue. Shortly after ''Airplane!'' was released, the ''Point/Counterpoint'' segment was replaced with the more familiar ''A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney''.[[note]]The segment would be more famously parodied by ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'' in the "Weekend Update" segment that led to the immortal CatchPhrase, "Jane, you ignorant slut!"[[/note]]
** The "smoking or non-smoking" line wasn't just invented for the joke; airplanes actually did have smoking sections at the time (the FAA would ban smoking on all flights a couple years after the movie came out).
*** This really applies to any TV show or film made before the smoking ban, including the famous "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" episode of ''Series/TheTwilightZone'', where Creator/WilliamShatner lights up right before seeing that ''thing''... on the wing.
* In ''Film/BlastFromThePast'', Dr. Calvin Webber (Adam's father) likes him some [[http://recipecurio.com/hot-dr-pepper/ hot Dr Pepper]].
* Anyone watching ''Film/TheMuppetChristmasCarol'', a more comedic adaptation of the story, without reading the book or watching any of the more serious adaptations, might be surprised to learn that Scrooge's "more of gravy than of grave" pun was in [[Literature/AChristmasCarol the original novel]].
* In the trailers for ''Literature/DiaryOfAWimpyKid: Dog Days'', Greg is shown getting a new cell phone called a "Ladybug" that looks like something straight out of the 90s and only calls home and 911. Some might think that that's just his parents being out of touch, but there exists a real phone called the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firefly_(mobile_phone) Firefly]] that only calls numbers that the parents program into the phone, as well as 911.
* Many critics and some viewers unfamiliar with stock-car racing thought the name of the main character in ''Film/DaysOfThunder'', Cole Trickle, was an over-the-top, too deliberately Southern name. But at the time [[UnfortunateNames Dick Trickle]], a legend of the sport, was still racing.
* There were complaints about Music/{{Madonna}} still having EightiesHair in ''Film/DickTracy'', where she played Breathless Mahoney. The film is set in 1930 - a time when [[OlderThanTheyThink what we now think of as Eighties Hair was actually a popular hairstyle for women]]. In fact, JeanHarlow, a sort of proto-Madonna and arguably the {{Trope Maker|s}} for the DumbBlonde trope, was famous for having frizzy hair much like Breathless's in the movie.
* The breathable liquid in ''Film/TheAbyss''? It's a [[http://www.cracked.com/article_19635_6-absurd-movie-scenes-that-actually-happened.html real thing designed to help scuba divers prevent getting barotrauma]]. Not only that, but they actually used the stuff in the movie where they submerged a rat in it much to the anger of certain animal rights groups.[[note]]The rat survived unharmed, if you needed to know.[[/note]]
* Apparently, some people aren't entirely convinced that ''{{Film/Titanic}}'' [[http://twistedsifter.com/2012/04/people-who-didnt-know-the-titanic-was-real/ was a real ship]].
* The scene in ''Franchise/JurassicPark'' where Lex unlocks the laboratory doors by flying through the files and folders of a computer using an unrealistic 3D interface (while exclaiming "It's a Unix system! I know this!")? That ''is'' a Unix system - [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IRIX IRIX]], to be exact - and the program she's using is [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fsn fsn]], an experimental filesystem browser/visualizer (fsn stands for "File System Navigator") that was included in IRIX in the early 90's. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File_System_Visualizer You can even download an open-source clone if you run a modern Unix-like operating system (like Linux).]]
** From the same film, many viewers are unaware that the briefly-featured dinosaur they call the "spitting lizard" is actually based on a real genus of theropod dinosaur from the early Jurassic called Dilophosaurus. Granted, real Dilophosaurs were much bigger than those of the film, did not spit venom, and did not have an extendable neck frill.
* Believe it or not, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_b4Z5Kg08PY the "Suck Kut"]] from ''Film/WaynesWorld'' is actually a parody of [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3G1cwqYkO4 a real product called the Flowbee]]. It was invented in 1988 by [[BunglingInventor Rick Hunt]], and the Flowbee, as Wayne so eloquently put it, "[[TakeThat certainly does suck]]," but it was [[SlicesDicesAndMakesJulienneFries exactly the kind of dodgy product]] you would see advertised in infomercials on the RealLife equivalents of [[NoBudget low-budget late-night cable access shows]] like the ShowWithinAShow, Wayne's World, and believe it or not, [[https://www.google.com/search?q=flowbee&hl=en&safe=off&client=firefox-a&hs=d7r&tbo=u&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&source=univ&tbm=shop&sa=X&ei=gHvSUNSlO-es2QWL44DQBQ&ved=0CFoQsxg&biw=1537&bih=816 you can still buy them]].
* The "space skydiving" sequence in Creator/JJAbrams' ''Film/StarTrek'', where Kirk, Sulu and a {{Redshirt}} board [[BigBad Nero]]'s drill weapon on Vulcan by jumping from the ''Enterprise'' in spacesuits and parachuting to the planet's surface. Sure, it sounds like pure science fiction, but it's actually been done twice on our own planet: once in 1960 by [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Kittinger US Air Force officer Joseph Kittinger]], who [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Excelsior parachuted from Earth's stratosphere at 20 miles above-ground]]; and again in 2012 (three years after the movie's release) by [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felix_Baumgartner Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner]], who parachuted from the stratosphere at ''24'' miles above-ground (with Kittinger himself as his Cap Com). Both times, Kittinger and Baumgartner did it almost exactly how it's depicted in ''Star Trek'': wearing spacesuits, and jumping at high enough altitudes [[http://a.abcnews.com/images/US/ap_felix_baumgartner_skydive_freefall_thg_121015_wg.jpg to see]] [[http://images.mentalfloss.com/blogs/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/jumping-airplane.jpg the curvature of the Earth]].
* In ''WesternAnimation/DespicableMe2'', Lucy uses a lipstick taser on Gru, a moment showcased in the trailer. Stun guns disguised as lipstick [[http://www.defensedevices.com/lipstick-stun-gun.html actually exist]].
* During the opening sequence of ''Film/AHardDaysNight'', Music/TheBeatles are shown running from fans at the train station. Well, except for Music/{{Paul|McCartney}}, who's disguised himself by wearing a phony beard. In the early years of Beatlemania, the Beatles really wore disguises in public to avoid being seen.
* People got so caught up in whether or not ''Film/TheAmityvilleHorror'' was fake that people thought the [=DeFeo=] murders were made up, and that the house didn't even exist.
* Many viewers of ''Film/{{Birdemic}}'' called "bull" on protagonist Rod's hybrid Ford Mustang. Turns out there is a California company that will convert any vehicle to hybrid or full electric - though it's ''expensive.'' So Rod's hybrid Mustang is plausible, though A) the film implies that Rod bought it as a hybrid, and B) converting a muscle car like a Mustang to a hybrid massively misses the point of both muscle cars and hybrids.
* At the end of ''Film/ThisIsSpinalTap'', the band members, whose career is in the toilet in America (to the point where they're playing to an unenthusiastic audience of approximately 20 people on a small stage at a California amusement park), head to Japan and perform a concert in Kobe, where they become a massive success once again and reignite their career. While it might be funny to see Japanese people rocking out in front of a huge papier-mache skull-head with glowing eyes, it was not just something the screenwriters dreamed up.
** [[LifeImitatesArt And the same happened]] in RealLife for Anvil.
** [[GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff Both heavy metal and punk were popular in Japan]] ''long'' before they were popular in America or Britain.
* Many people who viewed ''Disney/{{Frozen}}'' were surprised to find that ice harvesting was an actual thing in the 19th century that was especially common in Norway.
* ''JohnnyMnemonic'' contains a scene where the eponymous character requests "Thomson Eyephones" (a head-mounted display). It tends to make modern viewers snicker because of the obvious assonance to the [[NamesTheSame similarly named]] [[IThoughtItMeant Apple smartphone]], but it's actually an example where the authors have ShownTheirWork. In the early 1990s, the first head-mounted displays were manufactured by a company called [=VPL=], owned by Jaron Lanier. They were called Eyephones, as a pun on "earphones". When [=VPL=] folded, all its patents were transferred to Thomson.
* In ''Film/TheColorOfMoney'', the game "Stocker" that Vincent plays is not a FictionalVideoGame, but an actual title from the short-lived [[Creator/{{Bally}} Bally/Sente]].
* In ''Film/BackToTheFuture'', as Marty tries to convince his father George to take Lorraine to the dance, George refuses because that would mean that he'd miss his favorite show ''Science Fiction Theatre''. ''Science Fiction Theatre'' was an actual sci-fi show from TheFifties, a spiritual predecessor to both ''Series/TheOuterLimits'' and ''Series/TheTwilightZone'' (in an extended version of the "Darth Vader" scene, Marty name-drops both shows). Coincidentally, one castmember was a [[NamesTheSame Michael Fox]], and [[OneSteveLimit because he was already in the Screen Actor's Guild]], Creator/MichaelJFox had adopted the middle initial "J" to distinguish himself from the elder Fox.
* ''Film/AllThePresidentsMen'': Many critics and amateur sleuths believed Deep Throat was an invention of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, [[CompositeCharacter to make it harder to identify one informant in Richard Nixon’s inner circle]]. [[HistoryMarchesOn Until 2005, when former CIA associate director W. Mark Felt revealed he was Deep Throat]].
* In ''Film/{{Idiocracy}}'', the most popular movie in the year 2505 is "Ass", [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin two hours of a close-up of a man's bare ass]]. A film which was nothing but a close-up of someone’s ass? That sounds too ridiculous to be true. Actually, Creator/AndyWarhol made such a movie called ''[[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0244835/ Taylor Mead's Ass]]'', [[TakeThat a somewhat sarcastic response to one critic]] who complained about "films focusing on Taylor Mead's ass for two hours."
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* Lemony Snicket's ''Literature/ASeriesOfUnfortunateEvents'': There actually is a hotel in New York City organized by the Dewey Decimal System.
* Readers of Junichiro Tanizaki's ''In Praise of Shadows'' may be puzzled when the author waxes lyrical about the old custom of ''ohaguro'', or tooth blackening. Yes, prior to the Meiji era, Japanese women would dye their teeth black with a ferrous solution; black smiles were considered more elegant than natural, ivory-coloured teeth. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ohaguro Here you go]].
** It's also the basis of a ''{{youkai}}'' called Ao-nyōbō.
** Also in Elizabethan England people were really fond of sugar and had the expected dental hygiene practices of Elizabethan English (ie none), with predictable results for their teeth. Those who could not afford their dose of sugar sometimes coloured their teeth to gain the proper look.
* ''Discworld/TheLastContinent'': you'd think that meat pies floating in pea soup wouldn't be eaten by anyone. Apparently it is a common late-night, drunk-food dish in Adelaide. Also commonly eaten by sober people during the middle of the day in other parts of south Australia.
** Creator/TerryPratchett ''loves'' this trope: [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vampire_pumpkins_and_watermelons vampire pumpkins and watermelons are actual folklore.]] [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitrocellulose Exploding billiard balls]] happen to be real too.
** In ''Discworld/{{Mort}}'', one of the early books from Albert's life is from, "Back before they invented spelling." Terry Pratchett isn't just being funny here. Prior to the rise of dictionaries, words were just spelled phonetically, with no real regard to consistency.
** Surely the idea of a brutal war being [[Discworld/{{Jingo}} fought over an island that's just risen from the ocean]] is a fantasy narrative device used by Terry Pratchett to poke fun at the idiotic nationalism of a bygone age? [[Wiki/{{Wikipedia}} The Other Wiki]] [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferdinandea disagrees!]]
*** Franchise/GIJoe comics had a similar storyline with the emergence of Cobra Island.
* ''Literature/GoodOmens'' mentions the angel Aziraphale's collection of Infamous Bibles, named from errors in typesetting. Amazingly, ''all'' of these Bibles (other than the Charing Cross and the Buggre Alle This) ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bible_errata actually exist]]''.
-->These Bibles included the Unrighteous Bible, so called from a printer's error which caused it to proclaim, in I Corinthians, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall inherit the Kingdom of God?"; and the Wicked Bible, printed by Barker and Lucas in 1632, in which the word 'not' was omitted from the seventh commandment, making it "Thou shalt commit Adultery." The Bug Bible had "afraid of bugs by night" instead of "afraid of terror by night". There were the Discharge bible, the Treacle Bible, the Standing Fishes Bible, the Charing Cross Bible and the rest. Aziraphale had them all. Even the very rarest, [...] the Buggre Alle This Bible.
* In Creator/CharlesDickens' ''Literature/GreatExpectations'', there is a character who has turned his house into a miniature castle complete with moat and drawbridge. To modern readers this may seem eccentric, but this was actually quite common for wealthy Victorians. [[AlternativeCharacterInterpretation Then again]], it may also seem like the act of a rich idiot who wants to impress other rich idiots, and WeHaveThoseToo here in the 21st century.
** [[http://www.austincastlehouse.com/ Case in point.]]
* The character of John Blackthorne in ''[[Literature/AsianSaga Shogun]]'' is quite obviously invented by the author, surely? Well... [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Adams_(sailor) no.]]
* The "rest cure" described in ''Literature/TheYellowWallpaper'' was considered a proper treatment for certain mental illnesses around the turn of the 20th century. The author went through it herself, and was quite happy to learn that her story helped to discredit it as quackery.
* Stephen Fry's retelling of ''Literature/TheCountOfMonteCristo'' is titled ''The Stars' Tennis Balls'' (or just ''Revenge'' in the U.S.), which sounds like an IntentionallyAwkwardTitle and/or a pun on ''Literature/TheStarsMyDestination'', another Monte Cristo retelling. However, the seemingly ridiculous title references a quote from the Jacobean tragedy ''Theatre/TheDuchessOfMalfi'': "We are merely the stars' tennis balls, struck and banded which way please them."
* Hold on: a black bosun onboard ''[[Literature/AubreyMaturin HMS Sophie]]''? Multiracial crews with sizable Muslim, Jewish, and Lascar minorities? ''East Asian'' crew members, and all living in relative harmony? Surely [[FanNickname P.O'B.]] is rewriting a bit of PoliticallyCorrectHistory? As it turns out, nope. He wasn't. The Royal Navy's global reach and perpetual manpower shortage meant that it would recruit whatever seamen were available, wherever they were. It helps that the best captains and crews would largely ignore race--as long as you were a good seaman, you were in.
** This is arguably an example of EaglelandOsmosis. Many modern audiences, both American and otherwise, don't seem to understand that racial segregation of the kind that existed in the United States and South Africa either didn't exist in other countries or was more loosely enforced.
* Creator/DouglasAdams invented a lot of ridiculous things, but [[Literature/TheRestaurantAtTheEndOfTheUniverse telephone sanitizers]] were [[http://tlb.org/telsan.html not one of them]]. Now look at a can of Target's store-brand sanitizing spray. Well played, geek-hiding-in-the-marketing-department, well played.
* ''Literature/TheEyeOfArgon'' features the now-infamous "scarlet emerald". There is in fact such a thing as a red emerald, though it's more commonly known as [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scarlet_emerald#Bixbite red beryl]] or, archaically, bixbite ...
* The titular house in ''Literature/AnneOfGreenGables'' was based on a real farmhouse on Prince Edward Island, which still exists today.
* Likewise the titular house in the ''Literature/TheGreenKnoweChronicles'' series of English children's books.
* All of the dishes in the late Brian Jacques' ''Literature/{{Redwall}}'' series are real. He found out about Turnip'n'tater'n'beetroot pie from a New York restaurant, in fact.
* In ''Literature/TheGame'', Neil Strauss and his friends at one point end up taking the wrong road between Molodova and the Ukraine and end up in an unrecognized country that still uses Soviet imagery and propaganda wishing for a return to the glorious days of the USSR. That country [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transnistria exists]].
* ''Literature/TheGiftOfTheMagi'' begins with 'One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies.' Modern readers may assume an [[WritersCannotDoMath error by the author]] if they are not aware that the US minted half-cent, two-cent, and three-cent coins not long before the story was written. Any of these could be used to come up with $1.27 using no pennies.
* Harold Lauder's chocolate Payday bars in ''Literature/TheStand''. Payday Avalanche existed for a while before the book was written, then disappeared, then came back for a while, before vanishing again.
** In the original, "cut" version published in 1978 (with the book's events taking place in the 1980s), Harold likes regular Payday candy bars, which do not feature chocolate. This led to a goof when he later leaves the smeary chocolate thumbprint Frannie finds on a page of her diary. In the "Complete and Uncut Edition" (published in 1990, with the book's events taking place in the 1990s), King changes Harold's candy bar of choice to chocolate Paydays, which did exist in the '90s, perhaps to eliminate the mistake.
* You might be forgiven for thinking the dire wolves from ASongOfIceAndFire are a D&D reference, but ''canis dirus'' was a real creature that went extinct 10,000 years ago.
* One of the plot points in the Literature/HonorHarrington book ''At All Costs'' involves an expired contraceptive implant -- a device which sounds exactly like (and is presented to the reader in [[{{Infodump}} the same style]] as) the kind of futuristic medical technology that David Weber might invent for his post-spaceflight universe, but which (in a less long-lived version than Harrington's) [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contraceptive_implant exists right now.]]
* ''Literature/HarryPotter'': The American publisher's {{Genre Savv|y}}iness about this trope led to the renaming of [[Literature/HarryPotterAndThePhilosophersStone the first book]] in the US. They believed that most Americans would be unaware of the RealLife mythological concept of the Philosopher's Stone, and thus would misinterpret and be turned off by the title.
* ''Literature/BrownsPineRidgeStories'': The "Brazier" mentioned in the nineteenth chapter would likely be mistaken by some readers as a [[BrandX made up restaurant]] for the story, but it does exist. Most readers, particularly those born 1990 and after, would recognize it as [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dairy_Queen#Dairy_Queen_Brazier Dairy Queen]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* The ChristmasEpisode of ''Series/CornerGas'' actually features an aluminum Christmas tree.
* A ChristmasEpisode of ''Series/GreenAcres'' had Oliver eager for a traditional rural Christmas, and discovering 'traditional' in Hooterville meant aluminum Christmas trees.
* During an early episode of ''Series/{{Seinfeld}}'', Creator/JasonAlexander objected to the actions of his character, George Costanza, insisting that no sane person in RealLife would ''ever'' react this way; specifically, quitting his job and turning up the next day as if nothing happened. Creator/LarryDavid informed him that he himself did exactly that when he worked as a writer on ''Series/SaturdayNightLive''. This completely changed how Jason came to see the character, imitating Larry David from then on instead of his previous Creator/WoodyAllen-like portrayal. Knowledge that all four of the core characters on ''Seinfeld'' are based on real people can lead one to view the early episodes of the show (when the correspondence was the most direct) in a new light. These people existed, and they were doing things like this in New York in the 1980s.
* ''Series/ThirtyRock'' has several:
** In the pilot episode, Jack mentions the GE Trivection Oven, an oven that combines three types of heat with ludicrously over-the-top descriptions of it. Though meant more as BitingTheHandHumor than ProductPlacement, NBC ran special commercials during the premiere to convince the world that yes, this was a real product. One episode featured a gold necklace with the acronym EGOT (referencing the quest for an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony) and said that it was originally made for Philip Michael Thomas. Younger audience members may not have realized that this wasn't just a random pop culture reference -- the term "EGOT" was actually coined by Thomas, back in the '80s, when he frequently stated that his goal was to win all four awards. (To date, he has never scored so much as a nomination for any of them.) Thomas claimed at the time that the letters stood for Energy, Growth, Opportunity and Talent.
** Other examples: rat kings, Anna Howard Shaw Day, [[http://www.nbc.com/news/2009/10/15/bon-jovi-and-nbc-universal-team-up-for-first-ever-artists-in-residence-project/ Jon Bon Jovi actually being named "artist in residence" at NBC]], and [[http://www.nysun.com/style/brken-up-by-ikea/26328/ Ikea being the cause of breakups]].
* At least one fan of ''Series/{{Merlin}}'' had this reaction to the mention of belladonna eye drops to 'make the eyes look more beautiful'. They were immediately corrected - belladonna dilates the pupils, so therefore did have this effect. Amongst others.
** It was actually named belladonna (beautiful woman) after its using in cosmetic eye-drops.
** The active ingredient in belladonna, atropine, is ''still'' used medicinally in eyedrops to treat near-sightedness.
** Furthermore, dark-skinned Creator/AngelCoulby getting the role of Guinevere was derided by many as being anachronistic (despite the show being set in a fairy-tale kingdom). Even if the show wasn't an AnachronismStew ''anyway'', the presence of non-white people in pre-Saxon England was certainly not an impossibility.
* In the commentary for ''Literature/GenerationKill'', Evan Wright often had to state "this actually happened" during the more absurd, fantastical-seeming occurrences on the show. In fact, they actually had to ''tone down'' the more bizarre shit that the so-called [[TheNeidermeyer Captain America]] pulled.
* Pierce on ''Series/{{Community}}'' tries to make a ForcedMeme out of the phrase "Streets Ahead". The characters reacted with scorn towards him. It's an existing phrase in Australia and the UK, which is rather appropriate as another episode showed that Pierce always rips off other people even when he's not trying to.
* In the BBC's version of ''Series/RobinHood'' there was much derision when the character of Isabella was appointed Sheriff of Nottingham. However, there ''was'' a female Sheriff of Lincolnshire in approximately the same time period, who (like the fictional Isabella) was appointed by Prince/King John.
* Remember mockolate (fake chocolate made from suspicious substances) on ''Series/{{Friends}}''? Disgusting and potentially hazardous? Well, so does anyone who grew up in the Soviet Bloc. Hershey's and other chocolate companies are doing this now, replacing cocoa butter in their "chocolate" with vegetable oils. Critics [[http://consumerist.com/2008/09/hershey-responds-consumers-love-our-new-fake-chocolate.html have taken to using]] the "mockolate" term coined by ''Friends'' to describe it.
** In one episode when Chandler and Ross's old wild partying friend nicknamed "Gandalf" comes to visit, some of the others don't get the reference--which would be unlikely today since the ''Lord of the Rings'' films have made the main characters' names ubiquitous.
* The writers of ''{{Heartbeat}}'' learned that at the time when the series is set, bobbies were still wearing capes. They shot some test scenes with Nick wearing a cape but audiences felt it looked too weird so they switched to the more familiar modern-day overcoat. (And when some fans wrote in to point out the inaccuracy, the producers wrote back explaining that Aidensfield was in a region selected to test the new police uniforms before they were adopted across the country.)
* In ''Series/SesameStreet'', the Count's obsession with counting seems like it would just be a {{Pun}}. However, in Eastern European folklore regarding vampires, one way to escape a vampire was to scatter seeds on the ground, as they had a compulsion to count them all, and would be distracted until they finished. This may also be the strangest ever example of FridgeBrilliance.
** This was lampshaded in an episode of ''Series/TheXFiles'' when Mulder, being attacked by a vampire, reaches for his nightstand, where lies his gun and a bag...of sunflower seeds. He scatters the seeds and distracts the vampire, who laments that now he has to pick them all up, and does so compulsively as Mulder flees.
* In an episode of ''Series/HaveIGotNewsForYou'', they showed a picture of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Yushchenko Viktor Yushchenko]] before and after he was poisoned. The audience laughed, even when told it was real. It just seemed too ridiculous.
* There were ''many'' complaints in online fandom about the ''Series/DoctorWho'' episode "The Shakespeare Code" suggesting there were black people living in England in Creator/WilliamShakespeare's time. In real life, Queen Elizabeth I wrote letters to the Mayor of London complaining about the "great numbers of Negars and Blackamoors" in the city.
** A similar case was President Nixon's black Secret Service agent in "The Impossible Astronaut". He actually had at least one black Secret Service agent in real life.
** The very next episode revealed that Canton was kicked out of the FBI [[spoiler:for wanting to marry a black man. Some felt this wouldn't even have occurred to someone in 1969--except the episode is set less than a year before a gay couple in Minnesota applied for a marriage license, and was also the year of the Stonewall Riot (the police action credited with starting the Gay Rights movement).]]
** Many young Doctor Who fans may be surprised to discover that the Police Box design did not originate with the show.
** The mysterious disappearance of Agatha Christie that serves as a plot point in "The Unicorn and The Wasp" [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agatha_Christie#Disappearance really happened]].
* ''Series/BarneyMiller'': Wojo had to improvise when the precinct room was out of coffee. Barney does a disgusted spit take at the result - hot Dr. Pepper. The soft drink company actively marketed this treatment of their drink in the early '60s, but it didn't catch on.
* ''Series/SaturdayNightLive''
** In the mid-to-late 1980s episodes, Nora Dunn and Jan Hooks appear on a recurring skit involving a Lifetime network show called ''Attitudes'', which appears to be an outrageous spoof on the sort of shows that aired on Lifetime. It was actually a parody of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attitudes_%28TV_series%29 a real show]].
** Ditto for Creator/ChristopherWalken's ''The Continental'' recurring sketch. The kicker: Walken actually remembers seeing the original version as a kid.
** Many viewers outside the [[BigApplesauce the New York metropolitan area]] (and, to be honest, quite a few ''within'' it) thought that Joe Franklin was a character Billy Crystal made up for sketches on the show. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Franklin He's very much real]], and did in fact host the first TV talk show.
** In the season 34 episode hosted by Creator/AnneHathaway (her first time hosting), there was a CSPAN sketch showing various deadbeats who would be benefiting from the bailout during the 2008 housing crisis-cum-recession. Then-cast members Darrell Hammond and Casey Wilson played a couple named Herbert and Marion Sandler (no relation to Creator/{{Adam|Sandler}}) who cheated Wachovia Bank out of a lot of money and made off like bandits. Creator/LorneMichaels didn't know until ''after'' the sketch aired that Herbert and Marion Sandler were a real couple that actually did this (making the "People Who Should Be Shot" caption underneath them during their time onscreen [[DudeNotFunny a little uncomfortable to laugh at]]). Because of this, NBC's ''SNL'' video website and the network reruns edit out the entire part featuring Darrell Hammond and Casey Wilson as Herbert and Marion Sandler (though the shots of them as background characters weren't edited in any way). The Netflix version does show the part, but is edited to remove the "People Who Should Be Shot" caption and Herbert Sandler's line about thanking the U.S. government for [[KarmaHoudini letting them get away with their corrupt activities]].
** The Creator/DanAykroyd[=/=]Jane Curtin "Weekend Update" ''Point/Counterpoint'' segment ([[CatchPhrase "Jane, you ignorant slut!"]]) was a parody of an actual ''Series/SixtyMinutes'' segment shown in the 70s and replaced by ''A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney''. (See ''Film/{{Airplane}}'' above in Film).
** When Chevy Chase was doing Weekend Update, Michael O'Donoghue wrote a joke: "Well, the popular TV personality known as Professor Backwards was slain in Atlanta yesterday, by three masked gunmen. According to reports, neighbors ignored the Professor's cries of 'Pleh! Pleh!'" Chase later said he assumed O'Donoghue had made the whole thing up. But Professor Backwards was a real person (whose real name was James Edmondson) and he had been murdered that week as described. All O'Donoghue did was add the part about him yelling "Pleh".
* ''Series/StargateSG1'''s military base in Colorado, bizarrely burrowed into Cheyenne Mountain, is, in reality, fake...no, wait, it's [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_American_Aerospace_Defense_Command NORAD's headquarters,]] and the StockFootage so often shown of its entrance is the real thing, even though it looks like they just took some video of actors in uniforms marching around outside a highway tunnel. The ridiculously thick blast door, shown sealing itself whenever there's a crisis, is also real. Also, not only is there a real [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stargate_Project Stargate Program,]] it was actually ''weirder'' than the one in the show. (It's depicted--[[VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory more or less]]--in ''Film/TheMenWhoStareAtGoats''.)
** To add to the hilarity, there is actually a door in Cheyenne Mountain marked "Stargate Command". [[spoiler:It's just a broom closet. The military put it there out of appreciation for the series.]]
* In the ''Series/HowIMetYourMother'' episode "Legendaddy", Robin didn't know that the North Pole was a real place. She only knew it as the legendary place of residence of Santa Claus.
** Barney's story about early sailors mistaking manatees for mermaids is actually true. Although, the idea that they mistaken them for mermaids [[{{Squick}} because they were desperate might be debatable]].
* There is a blog, Polite Dissent, that does reviews of every episode of ''Series/{{House}}'' for medical accuracy; a typical episode will have several errors, mostly of the nit-picky variety, ([[MST3KMantra excusable for the sake of story]]) and occasionally something boneheaded, obviously wrong. Such seemed to be the case early in the 8th season, when Dr. House was brought in to diagnose not a patient, but a set of lungs for transplant, kept in a glass box, which were showing signs of premature deterioration. A great deal of disbelief was shown at the show's depiction of the lungs, clean, dry, and sterile, in a clean, dry, sterile box. [[GilliganCut Cut to]] fans providing pictures and video of actual lungs ''ex-vivo'', looking just like that, [[TheWorldIsJustAwesome to the amazement of the other commenters, trained medical professionals among them]].
* Remember that subplot in ''Series/NipTuck'' where Julia and Liz started a cosmetics business with skin lotion containing human sperm? In real life, bull semen is used as an ingredient for hair treatment products and anti-aging skin cream.
* In the 2003 MTV Movie Awards spoof of ''Film/TheMatrixReloaded'', the Architect, played by Creator/WillFerrell, mentions that he created many video games except for ''VideoGame/{{Frogger}}'', though he did name it, saying "Did you know they were going to call it ''Highway Crossing Frog''?". ''Highway Crossing Frog'' was indeed the original name until Sega changed it.
* Andy's bleeding nipples caused by extreme chafing in ''Series/TheOfficeUS''. Sure, it sounds like some bizarre ailment to exaggerate Andy's danger proneness but it's a real thing that affects athletes. It's called "Jogger's Nipple." Cloth can be surprisingly abrasive when it rubs repeatedly over the same portion of skin made worse by the fact that nipples are fairly thin-skinned and sensitive anyway, especially when exacerbated by sweating, since the water will evaporate and leave salt behind, adding to the abrasiveness.
* The ''Series/KeyAndPeele'' sketch "East/West Bowl" mentions the California University of Pennsylvania - since the whole sketch is essentially a LongList of increasingly absurd football player names, some viewers assumed a college with the names of two different states in it had to be an added throwaway gag. However, there really is a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_University_of_Pennsylvania California University of Pennsylvania]], located in [[LondonEnglandSyndrome California, Pennsylvania]].
** And 75 miles away is their conference rival Indiana University of Pennsylvania (yes, in the town of Indiana).
* In the final episode of ''Series/FawltyTowers'', Manuel is revealed to have a pet rat, which he insists is a hamster. While the other members of the staff are appalled due to a health inspector coming the next day, domesticated rats are quite real and in most cases are extremely clean, good-tempered and highly intelligent animals. In fairness to the staff, even if ''they'' knew about pet rats, they couldn't be sure that the health inspector would. An additional helping of this trope comes along due to the rat having wild coloration - which is completely possible even in domestic rats.
* The series ''Series/{{Dracula}}'' has a black Renfield, derided by many as an anachronism and/or political correctness. There were ''plenty'' of black people living in VictorianLondon, not to mention many Chinese and Indian communities as well. And the actor playing Renfield has been cast as a servant, which is not far-fetched at all.
* Many people would never believe you if you told them that Music/AliceCooper appeared on ''Series/TheMuppetShow'' in 1978. But he did - performing "Welcome to My Nightmare" dressed as a vampire and "School's Out" dressed as a devil, ''and'' trying to get the Muppets to sell their souls to him! (And yes, that episode did come in for some flak - to the point that the writers had to slip in [[BigLippedAlligatorMoment a totally extraneous scene of Robin the Frog singing "Over the Rainbow"]] just to placate the censors.)
* Series/TheWonderYears: The math Kevin's class is taught in High School seems like regular algebra with some [[DelusionsOfEloquence nonsense grafted on to make it sound smart.]] However if you took Linear Algebra or even Discrete Mathematics in college, you'll notice that the "nonsense" is actually perfectly valid mathematics, though of a much higher level than is necessary for a high school algebra class. This is the infamous New Math of the late 60s and early 70s, and is a good example of why it's no longer used. The extraneous details made something like simple algebra much more difficult to understand.
* {{Series/Profit}}: Profit goes through the employment files of Gracen&Gracen using a program which contains a representation of the corporate offices, which he navigates through in the manner of a First-Person Perspective game. Although this may seem like a case of MagicalComputer, it's actually VRML (Virtual Reality Markup Language) which at the time was considered to be the future of the web. Each website would be represented as a building that the user would stroll through. A VRML corporate intranet wouldn't be all that uncommon back in 1996.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* Many American listeners thought that the "Electric Avenue" of Eddy Grant's early '80s hit song was a made-up name for a party place. In fact, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_Avenue it's a real street in London's Brixton neighborhood]] which gets its name from being the first market street in the area to have electric lighting and hosts a regular immigrant street market (and once you realize that, the fact that it's a protest song rather than a party anthem becomes clearer).
* "Punk Rock Girl" by Music/TheDeadMilkmen features the lines "Someone played a [[Music/TheBeachBoys Beach Boys]] song on the jukebox / it was 'California Dreamin''..." Some have expressed irritation at such an error, since "California Dreamin'" is of course by The Mamas & The Papas. Others have called it a deliberate mis-attribution - the main characters are portrayed as [[TheQuincyPunk Quincy punks]], so it would sort of be in-character for them to not know the difference. However, the song is actually referencing a CoverVersion of "California Dreamin'" Music/TheBeachBoys had released as a single two years earlier (in 1986).
* Perhaps because of its use in ''Film/SuperSizeMe'', "Rock N' Roll UsefulNotes/McDonalds" is one of the better-known Music/WesleyWillis songs. Listeners tend to think it's just about UsefulNotes/McDonalds in general, and are therefore puzzled by lyrics like "[=McDonalds=] is the place to rock" and "people flock here to get down to the rock music". [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_N_Roll_McDonald%27s Rock N' Roll McDonalds]] is an actual place - a large flagship [=McDonalds=] restaurant full of rock and roll memorabilia in Willis' home city of Chicago.
** A similar restaurant with same name and theme exists also in Helsinki, Finland. It is full of 1950's memorabilia.
* Creator/MelBlanc recorded a wild takeoff on Al Jolson singing, "Toot Toot Tootsie" (which Jolson sang in The Jazz Singer). Mel whistles a part of it. Just Mel being silly? Nope! Jolson actually whistled the chorus in his version of "Toot Toot Tootsie".
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music Video]]
* Music/{{Journey}}'s "Separate Ways" video is considered to be among the worst ever. Viewers who weren't alive when it came out often attribute that to the cheesy [[TheEighties '80s]] clothing and hairstyles the band members and the model in the video are wearing, as if they were the absolute worst the era could offer. However, that wasn't exceptional for popular musicians of the time, and there are actually far worse examples in other bands' videos (Music/DuranDuran, anyone?) which no one calls out today.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Myth and Legend]]
* TheTrojanWar was long believed to have been pure myth until the ruins of Troy were actually discovered in Turkey. They still turned out to have grown in the telling somewhat, however. For one, there wasn't a single city of Troy, but many, each built over the ruins of the last. Which one of these, if any, inspired the story is hard to say.
* Archaeological discoveries apparently related to myths and legends tend to be all over the place with regards to this trope. Each new find has different groups declaring that a tale is confirmed, disproven, or needs to be rewritten and all can usually offer up at least a token bit of evidence for their viewpoint. Even ''the discoverers themselves'' are often at odds with each other over how to interpret what they've dug up.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Pinball]]
* The playfield freeway signs in ''Pinball/TruckStop'' refer to various towns with funny names, such as "Santa Claus, IN", "Smackover, AR", and "Metropolis, IL". These are all RealLife {{Cutesy Name Town}}s.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Puppet Shows]]
* Many modern American viewers can't make sense of a scene in the original ''Series/CaptainScarletAndTheMysterons''. [[TokenMinority Lt. Green]] is manning the gun turret on a moon rover. After blowing up all the enemies (for the moment), he asks, "Do I get a coconut?" The response is something like, "When we get out of this, you'll have all the coconuts you can eat." This is often misinterpreted as a racist joke. It's actually a reference to [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coconut_shy Coconut Shies]], where coconuts were a common prize. They're still common enough at fairs in England.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In the ''Tabletopgame/DungeonsAndDragons'' campaign "Living Greyhawk", there was a Veluna event where the heroes visited an anarcho-syndicalist commune near the border of the country. Many players claimed that this was a blatant reference to ''Film/MontyPythonAndTheHolyGrail'' that had no purpose in the setting. The author had to explain both on the Internet and repeatedly in person that much of Monty Python's humour was based on British politics, and that there once was such a political system.
** Early Anglo-Saxon communities were rather democratic, often appointing a honcho solely to command in wartime and booting him shortly thereafter.
** In pre-industrial societies, it would be quite common to find communes making collective decisions and informal positions of authority. Many people wouldn't even know the king's name; the young Chairman Mao didn't hear of the Emperor's death until two years after.
** Even as late as the early eighties, some Chinese peasants were still referring to Deng Xiaoping as "the best Emperor we've ever had."
*** Aside from the precise term used as a title, he literally was.
** Although what is incorrect here is the use of Anarcho Syndicalism as the name for the system used there. Communal decision making was often the norm in Europe but Anarcho-Syndicalism is a [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarcho-syndicalism separate ideology based around revolutionary industrial unionism that would be really anachronistic in a pre-industrial world]].
* Also, a lot of players may be surprised to learn that a fair amount of the more ridiculous monsters of ''Tabletopgame/DungeonsAndDragons'' are actually derived from real mythology, most notably the Peryton (a stag headed eagle that needs humanoid hearts to reproduce) and Al'Miraj (a giant unicorn-horned bunny)
** One of the most iconic dragons, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiamat Tiamat]], is a real part of the Babylonian mythology. That said, the mythical Tiamat as described in the ''Literature/EnumaElish'' looked nothing like the five-headed dragon from the show/game, and would likely be less than pleased with the combining of recent edition rules' PowerCreepPowerSeep with BadassDecay resulting in {{Munchkin}}s measuring their character's killing power in "Tiamats Per Second".
*** Similarly, many players might be surprised to learn that [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bahamut Bahamut]] is a real part of Arabian mythology, though just like Tiamat most of what you see in pop culture is a modern invention. Bahamut was never the mortal enemy of Tiamat (they're not even from the same pantheon!) and bore more resemblance to a fish than a dragon.
** If you're not a devout Catholic, you probably don't know that St. Cuthbert, the ''World Of Greyhawk'' god of mercy, is an actual saint (in fact, he's the patron saint of [[OopNorth Northumbria]]). Along with Tiamat, he's one of the few real-life religious figures who remain in the default pantheon.
* One may be forgiven for thinking that, due to frequently going for TheThemeParkVersion of feudal samurai culture, the majority of samurai family names in ''TabletopGame/LegendOfTheFiveRings'' are [[AsLongAsItSoundsForeign faux-Japanese hackjobs.]] Well, several are, but the game gives us a good number of legit surnames as well: Shiba, Matsu, Yoritomo, Asahina, Isawa, Togashi, Ujina, etc...
** A few others aren't proper PEOPLE'S names, exactly, but do reference things that were actually in Japan. Hida was the name of one of the old feudal provinces on Honshu Island, and Ikoma is the name of a mountain.
** Most of the place names are technically Japanese, as well. At least, they use real Japanese words that make sense and were probably intentional... Just not in the right order. A notable example (which is both common and understandable, among novice speakers) is the usage of "no" as equal to the English word "of" rather than the possessive "'s".
* Some of the names the designers of ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'' come up with for the cards are actual archaic terms or derived from archaic terms. In fact, Doug Beyer hosted several linguistic looks at sets and divided certain names into "okra" words (real but strange), "twinkie" words (completely made up), or "tofu" words (made from real words, but are really alien), inviting readers to guess which category a certain word on a card fell into.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theater]]
* UsefulNotes/JohnAdams wrote in one of his letters that if the Founding Fathers did not ban slavery, "there will be trouble a hundred years hence." He was off by [[UsefulNotes/TheAmericanCivilWar fifteen years]]. The writers of the musical ''Theatre/SeventeenSeventySix'' had to modify the line [[RealityIsUnrealistic because they were afraid the audience would think they had made it up.]]
* Performances of ''Theatre/TheCompleteWorksOfWilliamShakespeareAbridged'' often result in the audience asking "did Creator/WilliamShakespeare really write that?" afterward; he did. Sort of. Many of the Shakespeare quotes are verbatim. [[note]]Quite a few are not, though; Theatre/{{Hamlet}} didn't really use the words "Piss off" to Horatio, nor did Juliet reply to Romeo's "Call me but love, and I'll be new baptized" with "Okay, 'Butt Love'."[[/note]]
* In Mozart's opera ''Theatre/DonGiovanni'' there is a scene where there is a party where everybody is supposed to watch Don Giovanni eat. A satire on the decadence of eighteenth century aristocracy? An example of an absurdist flight of fancy? Not at all: watching the nobs eat was a popular form of entertainment in pre-revolutionary France. The Palace of Versailles even sold tickets to the King's meals. (Anyone could go, whether local or tourist.) It could be described as the eighteenth century version of ''Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous''; unfortunately, the logistics of providing viewing space meant that the food served, while superficially magnificent from the audience's point of view, was often cold, congealed, and barely edible by the time it reached the head table. And testing each dish and drink for poison meant that a glass of wine takes about 20 minutes to pour.
* Given the changes made to the [[VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory story of the von Trapp family]] in ''Theatre/TheSoundOfMusic'', viewers might be forgiven if they assume that Georg's membership in the navy of landlocked Austria was invented as well, but they'd be wrong. Before 1918, Austria controlled a large empire including all of what is now Croatia and far-northeastern Italy (specifically, the city of Trieste). In that territory were numerous sea ports that were protected by a small but well-respected navy. The [[TruthInTelevision real]] Kapitan Georg von Trapp of the Austro-Hungarian navy had a pretty distinguished career during UsefulNotes/WorldWarI in submarines: he was the commander of a submarine that sank an Italian cruiser.
* In the original productions of the musical ''Theatre/SpringAwakening'', the punk rock-esque hairstyles some of the boys sported are assumed by many to be a result of the show's AnachronismStew, but in fact, [[WordOfGod the director]] claims that they were inspired by some actual hairstyles in photos from the era.
** Also, those unfamiliar with the 19th century play the musical is based on ([[AdaptationDisplacement if they even know there is one]]) can be surprised to find that many scenes from the musical that seem to touch on modern controversial topics, such as one featuring a kiss between two boys or the female protagonist's [[spoiler: back-alley abortion]], were, in fact, in the original.
* In ''Theatre/KnickerbockerHoliday'', Stuyvesant, searching for a pretext for war, asserts that "the Connecticans have built a fort on the Connecticut River, within our territories." Though the musical is riddled with historical inaccuracies, particularly Stuyvesant's HistoricalVillainUpgrade (which is even lampshaded), it is true that New Netherland did claim the Connecticut River as within its territory at the time.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Many gamers thought that [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colin_McRae Colin McRae]] was a dour Scottish rally driver character made up by Codemasters to narrate for their ''VideoGame/ColinMcRaeRally'' series of driving games.
* There's a part in ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid3SnakeEater'' where Sigint tells Snake the story of a unit of Russian "bomb dogs" during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, who were to be used to destroy tanks (and failed because the Russian tanks had been used for the training, [[HoistByHisOwnPetard causing the dogs to attack them instead of the German Panzers]]). Since he describes it as a secret military project, it's safe to assume it's just the usual Hideo Kojima insanity and just another detail in a game about psychic bee soldiers and electric megalomaniac Communists. It isn't. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-tank_dog The bomb dogs were real]] and the plan ended up that way.
** The ''Metal Gear'' series is what the world would be like if the fringe military research projects actually worked. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_MKULTRA Mind control]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stargate_Project psychic soldiers]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entomological_warfare weaponized animals]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unmanned_ground_vehicle robot assassins]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategic_Defense_Initiative space lasers]], and most of the rest of it have all been given serious research dollars at one time or another.
** There's another take on the antitank dogs, and it's even more hilarious. Y'see, the original idea was to train dogs to run to the tank, drop the mine and return back. After all, the multi-use dogs are much more practical. Only the dogs weren't as stupid as to run all the way to the tanks under fire. They would leave the trenches, drop the mine right there and then jump back.
** Additionally, the flying platforms seen in ''Metal Gear Solid 3'' were jet versions of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HO-1_Pawnee this]] experimental U.S. aircraft. Oh, and the drone used by Naked Snake at the beginning of Operation Snake Eater, and the WIG? [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_D-21/M-21 Both]] [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bartini_Beriev_VVA-14 real]].
*** The flying platforms were actually a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Williams_X-Jet real thing]]. They really flew. Their main drawbacks were their short flying time, difficulty to fly, and incredible vulnerability and lack of redundancy.
** And the Shagohod. One look at the Shagohod and you might think Kojima was going overboard with the mechanical designs. Thing is, however, there really were [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_cannon tanks designed to fire nuclear artillery]]. They don't actually function like the Shagohod does.
*** Also, the Shagohod's Archimedes' Screw propulsion system? [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBjlSJf4274 Some early snowmobiles used similar systems]], and the Soviets built the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4lzLvcowbE ZIL-29061]]. It works best on snowy, icy, or muddy terrain.
*** Speaking of tanks and the Shagohod. Those tanks that Snake briefly saw at Groznyj Grad, which Volgin later destroys while rampaging across Groznyj Grad? [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Object_279 those were actually real]], and Sigint's description when calling them is also their real history (although there were more factors to their cancellation besides simply a lack of funds).
** A lot of people think [=CalorieMates=] are a fictional product but you can actually buy them in Japan. In fact, the only fictional products in the entire series are probably the cigarettes.
** This may have been the case with the original ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid'' in terms of the weaponry, since they sounded and looked exotic enough to a lot of gamers first exposed to them. Every weapon is real, except the Nikita (though the concept is in missiles such as the TOW) and personal chaff grenades (chaff is usually an aircraft thing).
** For those who are skeptical enough to believe that the Markhor is a fictional animal (considering ''Metal Gear Solid 3'' has added fictional animals like the Baltic Hornets), they will be surprised to know that the markhor does exist and that its name really does mean "snake eater."
** In a world of artificially intelligent robots, Huey's electronic cigarette may look like this. What's interesting, however, is that [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_cigarettes there was a patent for such product in the right timeframe]] however, they were not developed until early 2000.
** The Cypher {{surveillance drone}} from ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid2SonsOfLiberty'' exists in real life, albeit only in prototype form. The game also has a fictional AttackDrone variation.
** ''VideoGame/MetalGear2SolidSnake'' had singing sand imported from Nariko, Japan. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singing_sand Singing sand exists, as it can be found all of the world, and it does make a squeeking noise when stepped on]]. However, there is no Nariko sand.
** The Ear Pull event that Vulcan Raven mentions [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ear_pull is a very much real event]] designed to test endurance although some Arctic Sports communities have banned it due to the squeamishness of their audience and the inherent danger it poses to the competitors (bleeding, stitches and the like).
*** The Stick Pull and Four Man Carry events mentioned in ''The Twin Snakes'' are also real events in the Eskimo-Indian Olympics.
** Oh, and even [[http://www.weio.org/mm_videos/index.php?VidCat=2001&VidID=2001MuktukEatingContest&PHPSESSID=bff5291976721a438b9a4dd40862aa31 The Muktuk Eating Contest]] mentioned in the original is a real event, meaning Snake wasn't just being snarky about Raven's size.
* In a similar vein as the above: at one point in ''VideoGame/AlphaProtocol'', nutbar conspiracy theorist Steven Heck asks the protagonist, à propos of nothing, if he knew the CIA once wired a live cat with radio equipment back in the 60s. Operation Acoustic Kitty [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acoustic_Kitty really]] [[http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB54/st27.pdf happened]].
* ''VideoGame/SamuraiWarriors''. The self-proclaimed "demon king", the rampant homoeroticism, the [[http://www.vjc2010.sg/blog/evonne/blog_images/20_1.jpg ridiculous headgear]]; all well-documented historical facts.
* ''Namco Museum Volume 4'' for the original PlayStation contained an arcade game called ''Genpei Toumaden'', which up until then had not been released in the North American. Retitled ''The Genji and the Heike Clans'', the game features a "character" called "Taira no Kagekiyo". A number of American game players may or may not know that he isn't a character created by Namco for the game. Kagekiyo was a true historical person. A member of the "Taira" ("Heike") clan, he fought during Japan's "Genpei" Wars where he died in battle. In the game, he comes back to life and seeks revenge on the Genji clan.
* "Dr. Ryuta Kawashima" isn't a character Nintendo created for the ''VideoGame/BrainAge'' series, he's a RealLife Japanese scientist whose research inspired the creation of the games.
* The world of ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}'' mirrors quite a number of ideas from the '50s and back, and believe it or not, the idea of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radithor selling beverages containing a healthy dose of radioactive elements]] is not just the game's invention. In fact, it's OlderThanTelevision -- the first such products appeared back in [[TheGayNineties 1890s]]! The radioactive energy drink "Bonk!" in ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'' is a similar, though [[ILoveNuclearPower exaggerated]], reference to this.
** The Fat Man? [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Davy_Crockett_%28nuclear_device%29 It's a real thing.]] Though it's a different thing than the actual [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fat_Man Fat Man]], which was far larger.
** The [[http://fallout.wikia.com/wiki/Grenade_machinegun grenade machinegun]] sounds like the sort of over-the-top weapon that only an FPS could come up with. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automatic_grenade_launcher Except that there really are grenade launchers capable of fully-automatic fire.]]
** Remember the [[http://fallout.wikia.com/wiki/Punch_gun Punch Gun]], or its latest incarnation, the [[http://fallout.wikia.com/wiki/Ballistic_Fist Ballistic Fist]]? There existed a [[http://www.imfdb.org/wiki/OSS_Pistol_Glove real version]] of those gun-gloves, used mainly by spies as a concealed weapon. Not only that, but it functioned the same way- to fire the gun, you had to push down the plunger on the front by punching your target with it.
*** They use those in ''Film/InglouriousBasterds'' to take out [[spoiler:Hitler's guards]].
** The company General Atomics International may sound like just part of the pre-War Fallout world's obsession with nuclear power. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Atomics General Atomics]] is a real and still extant company. They even have robots (specifically, [=UAVs=]) as one of their major product-lines.
** [[VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}} Raven Rock]] is a real [[http://whitehouse.gov1.info/raven-rock/ underground military command center]].
** The abandoned fairground in ''Point Lookout'' has a number of White Star pinball machines, which was the real-life name of an arcade system board used by Sega Pinball and Stern Pinball from 1995 to 2005.
** ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'':
*** The Goodsprings General Store, Pioneer (Prospector) Saloon, and Jean Sky Diving school are all real businesses, although the last is in ruins in the game.
*** Most of the towns and settlements in the game are real. New Vegas is obvious, and Primm and Boulder City slightly less so, but Goodsprings, Nipton, Sloan, and Nelson are all real towns near the California-Nevada border (though all are ''very'' sparsely populated today, with Nipton being the most populous with around ''60'' inhabitants).
**** Incidentally, many people seem to think Boulder City is supposed to be (or is based on) Boulder, Colorado, but there is a Boulder City in Nevada, and is the second most populated location depicted in the game after Las Vegas itself.
**** The Legion's LotteryOfDoom in Nipton, believe it or not, is also based on reality. Not the "of doom" part -- Nipton was where Nevada residents went to buy tickets for the California state lottery, as Nevada's constitution forbids a state lottery. Incidentally, Nipton lost this appeal when a store just on the California side of the border near Primm was opened. And yes, Nipton's in California despite being southeast of Goodsprings and Primm.
*** NCR Correctional Facility's real life counterpart is the now-defunct Southern Nevada Correctional Center.
*** The real world Whiskey Pete's Casino in Primm houses the exhibit of Bonnie & Clyde's death car, who were the basis for the Fallout verse's Vikki & Vance and the casino of that name.
**** As the above sentence implies, Primm is a real town -- its other notable in-game feature, the Bison Steve Hotel (with its rollercoaster the Diablo) is based on the real Primm's Buffalo Bill's Hotel (with its rollercoaster the Desperado)
*** The Helios One power plant is present in the real world as Nevada Solar One.
*** Although the town itself is completely fictional, Dinky the T-Rex in Novac is modeled after the Mr. Rex sculpture in Cabazon, California, and named after the neighboring Dinny apatosaurus sculpture.
*** One quest has you raise a sunken B-29 that crashed into Lake Mead in 1948, which was a real event, and the real plane is still down there.
*** REPCONN is an ersatz of the real rocket fuel production company PEPCON, whose Henderson, NV plant was destroyed by a fire and explosion in 1988.
*** There is also an actual Old Mormon Fort in Vegas.
** You ''can't'', however, see the Statosphere (the inspiration for the Lucky 38) from Primm in real life. And the Stratosphere doesn't dominate the Vegas skyline in general the way it does in the game.
** There are several real-life vintage hamburger stands named Dot's Diner. The one in Bisbee, AZ most resembles the chain in the ''Fallout'' verse.
* A surprisingly large number of people think the [[http://www.rt66.com/~korteng/SmallArms/m3irsnip.htm M3 Carbine]] in ''VideoGame/ReturnToCastleWolfenstein'' is some crazy fictional gun. Nope, it just wasn't silenced.
** Same for the [=FG42=] Paratrooper rifle, another [[RareGuns rare real-life gun]].
* The Demoman from ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'' is a [[ScaryBlackMan black]] [[ViolentGlaswegian Scotsman]]. While this may seem like RuleOfFunny, Scotland actually does have [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Scottish_people a small population of African descent]].
* In ''VideoGame/KingdomOfLoathing'', one can mine for asbestos ore (a fibrous material used in fireproofing, until it was discovered that tiny particles of it tended to get ''everywhere'' and foul up people's lungs). There's a whole family of different minerals called "asbestos", you ''do'' mine for them, and some of them ''are'' chunky. Although the ''Kingdom of Loathing'' version was created when prehistoric fire-breathing dragons died and then were buried in landslides and such, undergoing a process similar to the creation of crude petroleum, which is probably not how the real thing forms.
* ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedBrotherhood'' has you destroy a prototype tank designed by LeonardoDaVinci. You might think that's over the top, right? [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_and_inventions_of_Leonardo_da_Vinci#War_machines Wrong.]]
** What's more, those wanted posters in the series from ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedII'' weren't just made up to give the games a bit of an Old West flavour. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pittura_infamante#Imagery There really were wanted posters in Renaissance Italy.]]
* ''Franchise/KingdomHearts'' has Sea Salt Ice Cream, which is a favorite of many a character from the second game on. It sounds too weird to exist and if it did, the salt would lower the freezing point of the mixture, making it difficult to maintain a solid form in the real world. Not only does this stuff exist, it's sold in Tokyo Disneyland, where the creator of ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts'' tried it and loved it so much he put in ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII''.
* Baslam in ''VideoGame/{{Ys}}: The Ark of Napishtim'' is a merchant who built a town, gathering the stone by dismantling ruins of priceless historical value. It sounds like a comically over-the-top bit of CorruptCorporateExecutive behavior, medieval fantasy-style... unless you know this has actually been done in real life. Multiple times. Medieval Cairo was built by raiding limestone from the pyramids, the Renaissance Italians would tear marble off of Roman buildings and melt down statues in order to get the materials needed for their own works, and numerous houses built in the immediate aftermath of the English Civil War contain identifiable pieces salvaged from castles destroyed by artillery.
* The CopyProtection of ''[[VideoGame/LeisureSuitLarry Leisure Suit Larry 5]]'' (the Aerodork pamphlet) includes many destinations that sound fake, being [[UnfortunateNames overtly sexual]] (Intercourse, PA; Spread Eagle, WI; Loveladies, NJ; etc.) All of these towns/cities are real.
* The ''VideoGame/SoulSeries'' has Cervantes, who {{Dual Wield|ing}}s Soul Edge and a pistol sword, that is, a sword fused with a gun. This may sound like just another over-the-top detail about [[NinjaPirateZombieRobot Ghost Zombie Pirate Lich]], but it isn't. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pistol_sword Pistol swords did exist and were in use since the XVI century]]. They were, however, considered AwesomeButImpractical, and were thus quite rare. They were quickly eclipsed by the much more practical bayonet.
* Most of the tourist attractions in ''VideoGame/SamAndMaxHitTheRoad'' are based on exaggerations of real ones. ''Including the [[RealityIsOutToLunch Mystery Vortex]]'', although the size-changing effect isn't quite as drastic in real life.
* With all the weirdness and silly humor associated with ''VideoGame/{{Portal}}'', you'd think that Cave Johnson's moon rock poisoning was just another silly joke. In fact, lunar dust is an actual hazard to humans. It's just as destructive to human lungs as asbestos, since it's just as sharp and brittle unlike earth dust, which has been rounded by natural actions (wind, rain, etc) that don't exist on the moon, and you will die a slow, horrible death if you breathe in too much of the stuff.
* The ocarina, featured in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime'', was a real musical instrument even before the game came out. In fact, it was (though not as prominently) in [[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaALinkToThePast other]] [[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaLinksAwakening Zelda games]] before ''Ocarina of Time''.
** And the rupee is a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rupee real currency.]] In real life it's represented by coins and bills, not colorful gems.
* The [[MascotMook mud crab]] is not something made up for the universe of ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'', [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scylla_serrata it's a real species of crab]]. In ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Oblivion]]'', they even look like the real thing!
** In ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]]'', one of the materials that can be used for item crafting is corundum, depicted in the game as a brownish metallic ingot. Most people assume that it's a CallARabbitASmeerp version of bronze or copper, like how ebony is such to obsidian in this game and others in the series. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corundum In reality, it's a real-life substance that has nothing to do with either bronze or copper.]] You might know it better as some of its common varieties--rubies and sapphires.
** Speaking of ''Skyrim'', many farms in the game feature shaggy big-horned bovines that are labelled and referred to as cows. Their appearance has led some players to mistake them for yaks or claim that Bethesda got things mixed up. In fact, the cows are a very accurate rendering of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highland_cattle highland cattle.]]
* Some of the more memorable enemies of ''VideoGame/EarthBound'' are its animated enemy trees which explode when defeated. Not quite as farfetched as one would think: UsefulNotes/{{Australia|nWildlife}} ([[EverythingTryingToKillYou no surprises there]]) is home to the eucalyptus tree genus, which are prone to exploding when exposed to fire. Admittedly, they don't look much like ''VideoGame/EarthBound'''s exploding trees, and they certainly aren't animated or otherwise trying to kill you (at least, not ''intentionally'' trying to kill you).
* The Rocketbelt featured in ''VideoGame/{{Pilotwings}}'' [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell_Rocket_Belt actually exists]], although [[AwesomeButImpractical impractical]], since it burns through its fuel in 30 seconds. A similar vehicle, the [[http://martinjetpack.com/ Martin Jetpack]], is under development and has [[http://martinjetpack.com/technical-information.aspx quite a bit more air time]].
* ''VideoGame/TheWorldEndsWithYou'' has the sewer at the end of the game: just another AbsurdlySpaciousSewer, right? Nope, that sewer really exists in Shibuya.
* Followers of the LetsPlay thread for ''VisualNovel/HatofulBoyfriend'' were convinced that the bird photograph used for Anghel Higure was either Photoshopped or a bird that had been shot (or [[TakeAThirdOption 'shopped from a bird that had been shot]]). [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luzon_Bleeding-heart Bleeding-heart doves]] do exist, and the namesake red stain on their chest is natural.
* Before Wikipedia or the Internet, it was difficult to explain that Franchise/{{Pokemon}} were inspired by mythological animals (for example, [[MagikarpPower Magikarp's evolution into Gyrados]] is based on the legend of the "Dragon's Gate", a waterfall that will turn any carp that swims all the way up into a dragon).
** Moonstone and sunstone are actual semiprecious stones.
** A lot of Pokemon are also based on real-life animals that are better known in Japan than in other parts of the world. Manaphy and Phione are based on [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_angel sea angels]], for example.
* ''VideoGame/SyphonFilter 2'' has the caseless round-firing H11 assault rifle. Looks and sounds like science fiction, but it's actually a [[AKA47 renamed version]] of the [[RareGuns G11]]. Also, the BIZ-2 is a renamed PP-19 Bizon, which used a unique helical magazine. Even HarsherInHindsight, there have been real-life cases of people being set on fire by tasers.
* The antlions from ''VideoGame/HalfLife2'' are indeed named after a real insect (though real-life antlions share almost nothing in common with ''Half-Life'''s, except that they both like to hide under sand), in contrast to the obviously-fictional bullsquids from the first game.
** ''VideoGame/GoldenSun'' had giant antlion pits in the Lamakan Desert, where they could trap the player characters into a battle. A PaletteSwap version showed up in RandomEncounters in the Suhalla Desert.
** Another appearance by antlions is in ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}''-- the Trapinch line are based on them.
*** Many a Pokemon fan complained about Trapinch's seemingly random evolution from a small, orange, big-headed bug into a green dragonfly-like creature, not realizing that it's based on the actual life cycle of the Ant Lion.
* Even the most die-hard ''Franchise/MortalKombat'' fans may be surprised to hear that [[McNinja the Lin Kuei]] was (and is) a real organisation. However, they had very little to do with the ones in the games (they were not actually ninjas - they were more like a secret monastic order of {{Crazy Survivalist}}s), although there ''is'' a mostly-discredited theory that they inspired the Japanese ninja, as in the games.
* For many non-US players, ''VideoGame/TheSims 2'' was their introduction to [[TrademarkFavoriteFood grilled cheese sandwiches]].
* The [[MascotMook Big Daddy Bouncer]] from ''VideoGame/BioShock1'' is actually based on a real-life diving suit, specifically the French [[http://bioshock.wikia.com/wiki/Bouncer?file=Carmagnolle_001.jpg Carmagnolle]].
** The Carmagnolle suit is also shown on the inner cover of Juno Reactor's ''The Golden Sun of the Great East'' album.
* ''VideoGame/{{Borderlands 2}}'' features a lot of crazy weapon concepts: [[GatlingGood Belt-fed Gatling assault rifles,]] [[UpToEleven and rocket launchers]], weapons that get more accurate with sustained fire, weapons that are [[ThrowAwayGuns thrown away instead of reloading them]]... Among these, [[TestosteronePoisoning Torgue]] guns [[AbnormalAmmo shooting miniature missiles]] seem like another crazy invention of the development team - but no. Those are [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gyrojet Gyrojets]], and those did exist.
* The second ''VisualNovel/{{Ace Attorney Investigations|MilesEdgeworth}}'' game's third case has several characters suffering from a rare condition that causes them to lose their sense of taste as a major plot point. One may be surprised to learn this [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ageusia is actually a real disorder.]]
* The original ''VideoGame/MonsterTruckMadness'' allows you and your opponents to drive monster trucks on water. As ridiculous and unrealistic as it might sound - not helped by LargeHamAnnouncer "Army" Armstrong--a modified Bigfoot monster truck actually [[http://youtu.be/PqLbNTptasw?t=20s drove on water]] in real life.
* Putting aside that the game is set in a world where the laws of physics [[FloatingContinent are very different]], critics deride ''VideoGame/{{Hammerfight}}'' for breaking WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief with the premise of flying machines fighting by swinging maces at each other. Thing is, helicopters [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCgr0VzJrzU have actually been used]] to [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afI58PRmTJ0 swing wrecking balls.]]
* When ''VideoGame/AceCombatAssaultHorizon'''s announcement trailer demonstrated an Apache attack helicopter rolling over on its side ''VideoGame/StarFox'' style, a lot of armchair aviation experts [[JustPlaneWrong cried foul]]. Too bad [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTtX6GF6D3I that is an actual thing]] Apaches can do, even if it's a bit embellished in ''Assault Horizon''.
* The majority of ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'' fans most likely don't realise that "Master Chief" (or, more formally, Master Chief Petty Officer) is an actual rank in the US Navy. This has been exacerbated from the rank's use in fiction being heavily subject to the OneMarioLimit.
* In ''VideoGame/FireEmblemAwakening'', some people thought that [[http://static3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20130502171447/fireemblem/images/f/f4/Lissa_%28FE13_Artwork%29.png Lissa's dress]] was unrealistic and too over the top. Actually, it was inspired by wire-cage dresses which actually ''do'' exist.
** Ditto [[http://static4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20080531172217/soulcalibur/images/5/5e/Sc4-ashlotte.jpg Ashlotte]], one of [[VideoGame/SoulSeries Soul Calibur IV]]'s bonus characters.
* One of ''F/A-18 Hornet'''s final missions, "Hole in One", has you destroy a nuclear shell-firing "supergun" built on the side of a mountain. One of these was actually partially constructed as part of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Babylon Project Babylon]].
* During her gag reel in ''VideoGame/BlazBlueChronophantasma'', Makoto has her tail snapped off by Taokaka, which Kokonoe chalks up to Makoto having traits from the Kagutsuchi Island Squirrel. In reality, some species of squirrel actually ''can'' have their tails snap off as a one-time defense mechanism against predators.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* In the ''WebAnimation/HomestarRunner'' short "Meet Marshie," the titular talking marshmallow mascot advertises "all-marshmallow mayonnaise." To those not in the know, it just sounds like a silly (and rather disgusting) idea, but ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshmallow_creme marshmallow creme]]'' is an actual product and is used for making actual sandwiches--for example, a peanut butter and marshmallow creme sandwich is called a Fluffernutter.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* A lot of readers of ''Webcomic/{{Harkovast}}'' believed the strange, forward curving Junlock swords were a concept invented by the author (referred to by some readers as 'crowbar swords'), rather than based on the falx used by Ancient Dacians.
* A number of ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'' readers on the ''Webcomic/MSPaintAdventures'' forum didn't realize that John's TrademarkFavoriteFood, Fruit Gushers, are an actual product. Ditto for WV's and Gamzee's [[TrademarkFavoriteFood Trademark Favorite Drinks]], Tab and Faygo, respectively. More understandable if you're viewing the comic from somewhere outside of North America.
** American Homestucks well aware of the existence of Fruit Gushers likely didn't realize that said fruitsnacks were a product of Betty Crocker until reading the comic either. Even then, they probably thought that was made up as one of the smaller examples of how much of the world the Betty Crocker corporation has control over.
** The troll culture might seem like an over-the-top spoof of militaristic civilisations and {{Proud Warrior Race|Guy}}s. In fact, many elements of troll society - including all citizens above a certain age being automatically drafted into the military, a strict class-based society with the lower classes being freely abused by the higher classes, and babies being left in a hostile environment at birth to fend for themselves - were practiced by the original {{Proud Warrior Race Guy}}s, the Spartans.
* How many people realized the "Sogs" featured in [[http://pbfcomics.com/?cid=PBF224-Commander_Crisp.jpg this Captain Crunch parody]] were actual characters in old Captain Crunch commercials?
* ''Webcomic/{{Digger}}'' by Creator/UrsulaVernon frequently invokes this trope; most notably with the Hyenas' creation myth, and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vampire_pumpkins_and_watermelons the vampire squash.]] A direct result of the author having been an anthropology major in university, and being fond of [[ShownTheirWork showing her work]] (she often comments on her website about the sources of the various odd myths, folklore, and biological quirks used in her comic).
* The comments section in ''[[{{Webcomic/Morphe}} morphE]]'' were skeptical on the idea of Billy Thatcher being able to play a game of chess with Curio from dictation alone (no board and nothing to note where the pieces were). A comment read "how anyone could hold a game of chess entirely in his brain. Once there is a disagreement over the positions, it’s basically over.". It turns out that not only is a dictated game of chess possible but grandmasters, such as Billy, are capable of running multiple games at once in their head. The present world record is 32 games running at the same time.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Original]]
* ''TrintonChronicles'' features seemingly impossible ''future'' technologies, several of which are actually being tested in Europe and Asia right now, including:
** Meg-Lev Trains: Trains that ride on magnetic thrusting power like a roller coaster using LMS launch systems. Japan is a world leader of this super silent and fast system but France is building an infrastructure based on Maglevs. The first commercially operated Maglev train was a 1984 low speed system at Birmingham airport. The first commercial high speed Maglev line is the Shanghai Transrapid, which was developed by the German company Transrapid International and completed in 2003.
** Recycle Tanks: Pay-As-You-Recycle devices that give change for weight of aluminum, plastic, and paper.
** Paper-Thin Phones: Actually real world tech is going into making cellphones disposable and paper-thin using nano fibers and microchips the size of ants.
** Hydrogen Power Cars: A new fuel source using hydrogen gas to power cars. Testing in Germany mostly, although there was a bit of a push in California in the mid 00s. The main problem is people's fear of what will happen in an accident (The ''Hindenburg'' was filled with hydrogen, and look how that turned out.)
* Parody example: In ''[[WebAnimation/AwesomeSeries Metal Gear Awesome 2]]'', the player is skipping through an annoying CutScene when Snake first meets Otacon ([[NoFourthWall at Snake's suggestion]]). Halfway through, he stops skipping just when Otacon is complaining about Snake coming onto him, causing Snake to get [[ArmoredClosetGay annoyed the player had to stop skipping at that part]]. People not familiar with the game but familiar with the flash thought this was so weird it had to be a straight up ShallowParody gag, but in fact the scene is a fairly direct spoof of an out-of-place HoYay moment that actually ''is'' in that cutscene, in which Snake starts feeling up Otacon asking if anything's wrong, and Otacon complains that Snake's "getting friendly all of a sudden" (in reality, Snake is checking Otacon for symptoms of [[TheVirus FOX-DIE]]). It's also immediately after a cutscene 'chapter break', so a player skipping through could easily stop skipping exactly at that scene.
* In a Literature/WhateleyUniverse story, Bladedancer and Phase complain about Generator's love of Hello Kitty gear. Bladedancer complains about a 'Hello Kitty maternity ward'. Readers found this one pretty silly. There is a real Hello Kitty maternity ward in Asia.
* Judging by the comments in several Website/YouTube videos of ''Series/TattooedTeenageAlienFightersFromBeverlyHills'', a lot of people were surprised to find that the show was real and not just a joke in ''WebVideo/DragonBallAbridged''.
** A clip of that same show used as a gag on [[AgonyBooth Mr. Mendo's Hack Attack]] sparked so much confusion, he had to [[http://www.agonybooth.com/video779_Tattooed_Teenage_Alien_Fighters_from_Beverly_Hills_S1E1.aspx amend his reviewing schedule]] just to prove it was real.
* In {{Mega64}}'s video of a fictional newscast reporting about the hype of ''VideoGame/ModernWarfare 2'', Derrick reports that Obama plans to restrict the release dates of ''Modern Warfare 2'' and all future ''Call of Duty'' games to Sundays only in order to prevent disruptions. This sounds like a cheeky joke that Mega64 would make but it's based off an urban legend where Japan decided to restrict sales of ''VideoGame/DragonQuest'' to weekends due to children skipping classes and violence over lack of supply. While it's true that there were children skipping class to buy the game, the legend is false; there never was a law placed to restrict sales and the games being released on weekends was just a coincidence.
* With more commonly used synonyms going around, you've probably never heard of the term "expunge" before reading anything from the SCPFoundation. The rather [[MemeticMutation frequent]] and {{narm}}y use of the term doesn't help it sound too much like a real word either.
* In one of [[Creator/StuartAshen Ashens]]' 80's toy videos, he reviewed a toy that came with a story on cassette tape. He dragged out an actual tape deck to play it, and fast-forwarded through the tape in order to find the interesting bits. Several of his younger viewers were surprised to discover that cassette tapes actually ''do'' make a high-pitched, garbled noise when fast-forwarded, and that it wasn't just a sound effect invented by foley artists.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark''
** [[NotMakingThisUpDisclaimer A disclaimer noted]] that [[ChurchOfHappyology Scientologists]] ''really do'' believe that all our problems are caused by nuked alien ghosts, which they really don't tell their minions until they're quite involved. It's hard to believe that all that is necessary.
** The episode about Mormons has a similar disclaimer.
** Another episode features Cartman tricking Butters that the world is coming to an end just so he can take his place when Kyle and his friends go to [[http://www.casabonitadenver.com/ Casa Bonita]]. What some people may not realize is that the place isn't a figment of the creators' imagination, but rather an actual restaurant in the Denver, Colorado area. They have everything featured in the episode, from the more tacos flags to professional divers. There's even a second one in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
** Music/TheJonasBrothers spraying foam on preteen girls in season 13 premiere "The Ring"? [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfgqEiXW-OU That's real too.]] The little girl saying "My giney tickles" was actually based on a daughter of a member of the production staff saying it when she was at one of their concerts.
** A lot of people would be surprised to learn that South Park, Colorado, itself is in fact a real place (as is Park County). While there is no town in Colorado by the name of "South Park", it is, in fact, a basin adjacent to Middle and North Park.
** Some might not know that super AIDS is a real form of AIDS discovered in 2005.
** Judging from Website/YouTube comments, many people saw the parody of the Creator/AdamSandler movie ''Film/JackAndJill'' before they saw the trailer, and didn't think the movie was real.
** P Diddy's 'Vote or Die' campaign in [[http://southpark.wikia.com/wiki/Douche_and_Turd Douche and Turd]] is [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizen_Change real]].
** Quite a few Europeans were more than a bit surprised that [[Series/HereComesHoneyBooBoo Honey Boo Boo]] is an actual child pageant participant, not being familiar with American television.
** A number of fans were horrified to learn that NAMBLA (the North American Man/Boy Love Association) is a real organization.
** In fact, thanks to the extremely fast turnaround time for Parker and Stone to make episodes, they can cram in the issue of the week in the very next episode. This leads to many moments when people watching some episodes years after the fact think that Parker and Stone made up some plot points out of whole cloth, if they're not outright {{Unintentional Period Piece}}s.
** Mexico really does have a space program (as seen in ''Free Willzyx''), but it's not called MASA and they don't have any spacecraft capable of travel to the moon. They don't even have any satellites or rockets, all they really do is operate some big telescopes. MASA (Mexicano Aeronáutica y Spacial Administración) was just a play on NASA, the actual name of the organization is Agencia Espacial Mexicana (AEM), which translates to Mexican Space Agency.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons''
** If you saw the episode parodying Creator/WilliamShakespeare's ''Theatre/{{Hamlet}}'' before reading the actual play, you might be surprised to discover that the ear poison was used in the original, and not merely a comedic prop used in the parody. Shakespeare's usage was based on a contemporary urban myth circulating in the day (the murder of that myth was well-known, the method was unverified).
** The episode "[[Recap/TheSimpsonsS9E11AllSingingAllDancing All Singing, All Dancing]]" opened with the family watching what seemed to be a Western, with [[NoNameGiven The Man With No Name]] walking into a dusty town - and then breaking into song about 'painting his wagon' with Creator/LeeMarvin, horrifying Bart and Homer who wanted them to kill each other. The portrayal is exaggerated in the episode, which also inserts Lee Van Cleef dressed as [[Film/ForAFewDollarsMore Colonel Mortimer]], but it surprised a lot of fans who later discovered the film ''Film/PaintYourWagon'', starring Creator/ClintEastwood and Lee Marvin, actually exists. And it was ''after'' Clint gained his credibility in the [[Film/DollarsTrilogy Leone westerns]]. And, yes, they both sang. Well... okay... but they both ''tried'' to. The song and wagon-painting scene aren't part of the musical, though.
** In the 1996 episode "[[Recap/TheSimpsonsS7E13TwoBadNeighbors Two Bad Neighbors]]", Homer tries to trick UsefulNotes/GeorgeHWBush into coming outside with cardboard cutouts of his sons, Jeb Bush and "George Bush Jr.". According to the DVD commentary, the writers had no idea there really '''is''' a "[[UsefulNotes/GeorgeWBush George Bush Jr.]]", and the joke was that Homer (being a moron as usual) made up a fake son.
** A surprising number of people outside of Mexico and the south-western U.S. are, like Homer's quote above, startled to find that [[WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes roadrunners]] are real. They're only about 6 inches high, they're not purple, and they don't say "Beep beep", but they're real. They're a kind of cuckoo.
** In ''[[Recap/TheSimpsonsS13E8SweetsAndSourMarge Sweets and Sour Marge]]" it is stated that The Duff Book of World Records, an obvious parody of the Guinness Book of World Records, was created to settle bar arguments. This seems like a non-sequitur making fun of the drunks in Springfield but this is the actual origin for the ''Literature/GuinnessWorldRecords''. For the record, yes, it's the same Guinness that makes beer.
** The episode "[[Recap/TheSimpsonsS4E10LisasFirstWord Lisa's First Word]]" flashed back to 1984 and included a running gag about Krusty's burger chain going broke due to an Olympic promotion that didn't anticipate the Communist boycott of those games. As [[http://www.cracked.com/article_19334_the-5-biggest-disasters-in-history-marketing-ideas.html Cracked points out]], that actually happened to UsefulNotes/McDonalds that year.
** When Gary Coleman is seen working as a security guard for a toy company in the episode "Grift of the Magi", it probably just seemed like a rather strange way to write him into the episode and like they were poking fun at the actor's size, but it was actually a very topical joke. Coleman really did work as a security guard for a while, gaining news attention about a year before the episode aired when he assaulted a fan who was pestering him for an autograph and insulting him while he was on patrol.
** A number of people thought that ''ComicStrip/LoveIs'' was something Homer made up.
** Disco Stu's platform shoes with live (well, [[ForgotToFeedTheMonster initially]]) goldfish in them? [[http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/goldfish/discoshoes.php Real.]] As you might've guessed, the goldfish typically didn't live through one trip to the disco.
** When Homer starts hallucinating in "El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer" after eating too many spicy peppers, that's not just a GRatedDrug: eating sufficiently spicy food really ''can'' cause hallucinations. Now, the Merciless Peppers of Quetzalacatenango that Homer ate, ''those'' are fictional. Ridiculously spicy peppers exist though. The currently highest contender is the "ghost chili" which is cultivated in India. For reference, it's described to be ten times hotter than habanero.
** In "Mom and Pop Art", Homer tries to become a modern artist and Lisa suggests that he do something big and extravagant, citing the example of "Christo", who planted hundreds of yellow umbrellas next to a highway - some of which, she worryingly adds next, flew away and killed some children. The cited artist and the incident are real. It happened in Camarillo, California in 1991, and the only thing that contradicts Lisa's account is the fact that the sole victim was an adult woman.
** In "They Saved Lisa's Brain", where the smartest members of Springfield took political power over the town, Skinner announces that Springfield will convert to metric clocks. This seems like an example of the group's snobbery but metric time was an actual concept. During TheFrenchRevolution, there was an active campaign to rid France of any trace of its former regime which included remaking the clock and calendar to fit the metric system meaning 10 seconds in a minute, 100 minutes in an hour, 10 days in a week and so on. Since the common French weren't prepared for the transition, metric time was a complete disaster.
** In "[[Recap/TheSimpsonsS7E6TreehouseOfHorrorVI Treehouse of Horror VI]]", when Homer is trapped in the Third Dimension, he asks everyone if they saw the movie ''Film/{{Tron}}''; no one did[[note]]except for Chief Wiggum, though he quickly denies it[[/note]]. This caused many fans to believe that Homer made up the film until the release of ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'' over a decade later, which includes a world based on the film, and then ''Film/TronLegacy'' in 2010, which caught many ''Simpsons'' fan by surprise.
** In "Homer Badman", Homer gets accused of sexually assaulting a young woman, so he goes on the ShowWithinAShow "Rock Bottom", a parody of the 90s investigative journalism show ''Hard Copy'', to state his case. Unfortunately for Homer, [[ManipulativeEditing they deliberately skew his statements to paint him as a crazed sexual predator]] because it's bringing in high ratings. Many of the tactics they also use, such as setting up camps outside people's homes, were things ''Hard Copy'' would do.
** In "Days of Wine and D'oh'ses", Homer goes to the Kwik-E-Mart and asks Apu for "those chips that cause diarrhea". Apu then returns with bags of what appear to be ordinary Ruffles. This was based on a real-life product known as Lay's WOW Chips introduced a couple years before the episode aired, which famously contained the chemical olestra, a known stool loosener.
* ''ComicStrip/TheBoondocks''
** A hamburger with donuts instead of buns and full of bacon? Surely that was the show's invention! Nope, it's called [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luther_Burger The Luther Burger]], is very, very real, and may or may not have been actually invented by Luther Vandross. Either way, you'll probably die if you try to eat it.
** In ''The Red Ball'', Ed Wuncler tells the story of how kickball was a game invented in ancient China by monks, which his ancestor discovered on an expedition to the country . The actual game of kickball is an American invention, but the earliest known form of association football (soccer) ''was'' invented in ancient China. Its name? Cuju (蹴鞠), which literally means "kick ball".
* On ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddParents'', Creator/AdamWest does [[AdamWesting the trope that was named for him]] by playing a version of himself who thinks he's Catman. One might be surprised to learn he isn't just being a CaptainErsatz of ''Series/{{Batman}}'', but is actually modeled after a small time Batman villain of the same name. Also like three superheroes. Oddly, all the Catmen look the same. One of them has a girl sidekick called 'The Kitten.'
* One episode of ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond'' features Terry trying to see "Batman: The Musical". At the time, Music/JimSteinman was working [[Theatre/BatmanTheMusical exactly that project]] for Warner, though it never came to fruition.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TitanMaximum'', Willy picks up [[BadassAdorable Clare's sword]] and declares it to be made of "aggregated carbon nanorods", a substance harder than diamonds. [[NotMakingThisUpDisclaimer A disclaimer appears on-screen]] adding that despite this being a sci-fi show, ''[[ShownTheirWork this is in fact a real substance.]]''
* ''WesternAnimation/SpongebobSquarepants''
** One of Squidward's favorite foods, canned bread, [[http://www.amazon.com/Brown-Bread-Raisins-16-Ounce-Cans/dp/B001EO5Y8E actually does exist]] in reality.
** In one episode, the French narrator says that for Spongebob, every day is a holiday, even if he has to make one up, and then Spongebob is shown dressed as a viking for "Leif Erikson Day". Believe it or not, this is actually an observance in America, celebrated on October 9.
* ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy''
** In the episode "[[Recap/FamilyGuyS6E8McStroke McStroke]]", Peter claims to be a businessman from Asia looking to invest in Mc Burger Town, as a way to spy on his local franchise. When the restaurant employee tells Peter that he doesn't look Asian, he says �Well, I guess we'll just take our millions of dongs elsewhere�. Most people probably thought that this was just Peter being stupid/a penis joke (or perhaps, a reference to Gedde Watanabe's character of the same name in ''Film/SixteenCandles''), but dongs are a real currency (pronounced "dough-ng"), and in an Asian country to boot: UsefulNotes/{{Vietnam}}. Though at current exchange rates, a million dong is $48 US.
** The German bedtime story in the episode ''Business Guy'' was just a play on the stereotype that Germans are aggressive, or perhaps poking fun at the fact that the original versions of various fairy tales were often way more gruesome, right? Wrong. ''[[Literature/{{Struwwelpeter}} The Story of Little Suck-a-Thumb]]'' is pretty much exactly like it's portrayed in the episode, the only difference being that the person who cut off the boy's thumbs was a tailor his mother warned him about, rather than the mother doing it herself. The designs of the characters were even based on the story's illustrations from the book that it originally appeared in.
* In one episode of ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'', a newspaper claims that [[FriendToAllLivingThings Fluttershy]] has tail extensions. Many viewers will be surprised to learn that horse tail and mane extensions are real products. Even better, using them in certain competition formats would actually be a scandal.
** There is also the [[MemeticMutation popular theme]] amongst the fans of depicting the ponies in socks. A ''lot'' of the fans think the idea is cute but absolutely ridiculous, and are a little more than shocked to learn that socks for horses are a [[http://www.soxforhorses.com/ very real thing]].
** In addition, Daring Do's nemesis, Ahuizotl, is actually a fairly accurate (Albeit LighterAndSofter) portrayal of a mythical Aztec creature.
** Fluttershy's house has a Sod roof - which is actually something that nordic people have had for centuries.
** In a 2014 episode, Pinkie Pie's sister, Maud, visits Ponyville. She's dull, boring, literal-minded, and obsessed with rocks, up to and including having a pebble for a pet, named Boulder. It's funny because, well, all she talks about is rocks and she has one for a pet, but older viewers probably laughed even harder because they remembered the Pet Rock fad in the mid-1970s.
** Pinkie Pie's characteristic hopping-on-all-fours gait is actually performed by some real-world ungulates, including ponies, and is called [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stotting "stotting" or "pronking"]].
** Those feeding bags that the Wonderbolts wear in "Rainbow Falls" are a real horse accessory.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSpectacularSpiderMan'' often shows a statue of Atlas in backgrounds, which is instantly recognizable as the one gracing the cover of ''Literature/AtlasShrugged''. ShoutOut to Objectivist Spidey author Creator/SteveDitko? No (or at least not only that). It is an [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlas_%28statue%29 actual statue]] in front of Rockefeller Center. Also OlderThanTheyThink, since the statue predates the novel by two decades, and wasn't featured on the original cover anyway.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/MarthaSpeaks'' episode, "Ronald is In", [[BigBrotherBully Ronald]] uses a psychology book to screw with Helen and friends and diagnose them with various fake ailments. While "worryitis" & "arrange-o-mania" are fake, one of them "decidophobia", is in fact a legitimate condition that people suffer from (though Alice didn't have it, obviously).
* In the animated series of ''{{WesternAnimation/Clerks}}'', there's a HUGE fanbase and following for a sitcom called, "The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer," about a kidnapped African man who became Abraham Lincoln's valet. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Secret_Diary_of_Desmond_Pfeiffer Turns out that it was a real show.]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/SymBionicTitan'', Ilana and Octus organize a food tasting party, one of the food prepared for it (they're also seen with it before and Lance serves it after the party) is [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fu-fu fu-fu]], which some fans of the show were surprised to discover was real, although it's anyone's guess why a recent visitor from the place where it is common would feel the need to comment on the apparently high quality of an equivalent to mashed potatoes or a bowl of rice.
* One of the stranger episodes of ''WesternAnimation/BeavisAndButtHead'' featured an appearance by "Sterculius, the Roman god of feces". A particularly childish instance of ToiletHumour? No (well, not ''just'' that). Sterculius ''was actually worshiped by the ancient Romans'' (he was in charge of making sure the fields fertilised, so he was more important than you might think).
* In ''WesternAnimation/BeavisAndButtHeadDoAmerica'', Mr. Van Dreissen picks up an acoustic guitar and plays a song called "Lesbian Seagull", which later reprises over the end credits sung by Englebert Humperdinck in the style of an AwardBaitSong. The song is silly enough that you'd think it was made up for the film, but [[http://musicformaniacs.blogspot.com/2013/05/tom-wilson-gay-name-game.html the original version was released in 1979 by gay singer-songwriter Tom Wilson]]: The album it appeared on, ''Gay Name Game'', featured both serious and humorous songs, so it's unclear whether the {{narm}} of this particular song was intentional after all.
* Given the nature of the typical ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad'' Christmas episode, it's understandable that a number of fans were surprised to learn that the Christmas demon Krampus [[http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/12/131217-krampus-christmas-santa-devil/ was not a creation of the show]].
* In the ''WesternAnimation/RegularShow'' episode of the same name, [[http://www.bubbleblabber.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/RS_Tants_Image.jpg Tants]] are a bizarre gift Pops gives to Mordecai and Rigby, pants that double as a table. Turns out, someone had actually already made a similar product in real life called Pic Nic Pants...[[http://theweek.com/article/index/226320/pic-nic-pants-the-jeans-that-double-as-a-picnic-table and they look even more ridiculous than Tants.]]
* The Aracuan bird from ''Film/TheThreeCaballeros'' is actually a real species, called the Aracua or Speckled Chachalaca. However, the real animal looks nothing like Disney's version.
* One episode of ''Series/DrawnTogether'' centers around Xandir coming out to his parents. The other housemates help him prepare for it by staging a scenario. In the scenario, Clara's character of Xandir's old girlfriend is given the surname "Slutsky." To most, it would probably be assumed that it's just a PunnyName. However, "Slutsky" is actually a real surname, of Russian-Jewish origin.
* The RickAndMorty episode ''M. Night Shaym-Aliens!'' has, at one point, Rick telling Morty to mix "Plutonic Quartz, Cesium, and bottled water," in order to create a substance the Zigerions were trying to get their hands on. It turned out to be a fake simulation, and when the Zigerions tried to replicate it with those ingredients, their whole ship exploded. Sounds like sci-fi babble, right? Well, the Plutonic Quartz is, but the Alkali Metal elements (first column in the periodic table) are highly reactive to water, and Cesium is the most reactive element among them that exists in significant quantities (there is Francium, but that barely exists in nature). So while the explosion was exaggerated, it was an odd example of ShownTheirWork for the Rick and Morty writers who usually just throw sci-fi tropes at the wall and see what sticks.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Other/Multiple Media]]
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ambergris Ambergris]]: Yes, it exists. Yes, it's essentially sperm-whale puke. Yes, it ''is'' a component in many high-end perfumes.
** It's mentioned in ''Literature/MobyDick'' and ''Literature/DonQuixote''.
** Also in a ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' episode ("300 Big Boys"[[note]]the one where each character is shown spending their $300 government refund in different ways[[/note]]).
** Ambergris was mentioned in an episode of Adam West's ''Series/{{Batman}}''.
** It's in a StarTrekTheAnimatedSeries episode, too.
** And an Literature/EncyclopediaBrown case.
** And in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheMarvelousMisadventuresOfFlapjack''.
** It is an item required for some of the shopkeeper quests in ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedBrotherhood.''
** In one scene, [[Film/SweeneyToddTheDemonBarberOfFleetStreet The Beadle]] tells Sweeny Todd that a touch of ambergris is his "secret ingredient" to wooing the ladies.
** Also part of a puzzle (to create a new perfume, natch) in ''VideoGame/LeisureSuitLarry Reloaded''
** And [[Literature/TheLegendOfDrizzt a character from R.A. Salvatore's books]] (real name Amber Gristle O'Maul).
* NAMBLA:
** "Cartman Joins NAMBLA" might be the worst ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' episode ever on first viewing because the NAMBLA concept is [[EveryoneHasStandards too creepy]] even for Creator/TreyParkerAndMattStone. Unfortunately, it is a real group (the "man-boy love" one, not the "Marlon Brando lookalikes" one), and once you know this, the satire makes sense. Even Trey and Matt said on the DVD commentary that they couldn't believe an organization like that exists.
** The "Right Love" organization from ''Comicbook/{{Transmetropolitan}}'' looks like ''just'' a made-up {{Acceptable Target|s}}.
** ''{{Webcomic/Concession}}'' also had a story arc where the character Artie is taken to a NAMBLA meeting after being MistakenForPedophile, and the author had to assure people that it was a real organization and not something he made up for the comic.
* So real, it's a long (and hilarious) running joke on ''Series/TheDailyShow'' about the greatness of American culture and cuisine... [[http://livingliberally.org/eating/story__stewart_sticks_it_to_american_ingenuity_oct_20_2006_id210 Jimmy Dean's Chocolate Chip Pancakes and Sausage on a Stick!]]
** Baconnaise! And Lite Baconnaise!
** John Oliver did something similar with the Domino's Oreo Pizza.
* In the early decades of the UsefulNotes/NationalFootballLeague, many teams in the NFL and its short-lived rival leagues used the wide appeal of UsefulNotes/MajorLeagueBaseball to their advantage. So, yes, there were UsefulNotes/AmericanFootball teams called the New York Yankees/Yanks (four different teams used this name between 1926 and 1951), Boston Braves (now the Washington Redskins), Brooklyn Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates (now the Steelers. [[{{Pun}} Get it?]]). The lasting relics of that era are the "New York Football Giants" (whose baseball analog are now based in San Francisco). While it may seem as such due to their prior home of UsefulNotes/StLouis, the Arizona Cardinals are not an example of this, as the name dates to their days in Chicago, and came from the faded colour of their once-maroon uniforms (they originally wore used, castoff uniforms from the University of Chicago Maroons).
** Speaking of Chicago, the Chicago Bears are named that because they played in Wrigley Field, home of the baseball Chicago Cubs.
** The UsefulNotes/NationalHockeyLeague attempted this in its early years as well. There was, indeed, a Pittsburgh Pirates hockey team (which eventually moved to Philadelphia to become the Philadelphia Quakers, who later folded.)
* Also, the "Steagles"? An amalgamation of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles? Yes, that happened, too, during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, when both teams sent most of their players to war and had to consolidate their rosters to get a coherent team going.
** And the Card-Pitt 1944 merger of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Chicago Cardinals. It even lent itself to a derisive nickname, the "Car-Pitts" (carpets), due to their poor play.
* A staple of many comedic routines: Lawn darts. Unfortunately, the high incidence of injuries caused by wayward darts led to them being banned in 1988.
** The sharp, pointy metal ones any way. You can find fully plastic ones that look more like a combination of badminton birdies and rugby balls nowadays.
* "This looks Photoshopped." Ladies and gentlemen, Cracked's [[http://www.cracked.com/article_16556_15-images-you-wont-believe-arent-photoshopped.html Images You Won't Believe Aren't Photoshopped]], which is only the first of a multi-part series Cracked did.
%%The xkcd comic you're probably thinking of is a parody of this situation involving physical objects rather than images, and doesn't really apply in this situation. Please don't add it.
* People tend to assume the name Zoltan is a sort of "joke" or made-up name, given the B-movie ''Zoltan: Hound of Dracula'' or the nerd cult from ''Film/DudeWheresMyCar''. It's an actual Hungarian name and is, for instance, the middle name of Hungarian-American author [[Literature/{{Dragaera}} Steven Brust]], Hungarian soccer player Zoltan Gera, fantasy artist Zoltan Boros, Five Finger Death Punch guitarist [[AwesomeMcCoolname Zoltan Bathory]], freelance automotive journalist Zoltan [[MeaningfulName Scrivener]], and orchestral composer Zoltan Kodaly, among others.
** Along similar lines, Kermit is a real name. For several years Lucasfilm's official Darth Vader stand-in for promotional appearances was a man called [[http://www.starwars.com/hyperspace/member/kessel/f20060420/index.html Kermit Eller]], who eventually got sick of the attention ("the whole Muppet thing just got old") and decided to use his middle name, Bryce, instead.
** Along the same line, American President UsefulNotes/TheodoreRoosevelt had a son named [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kermit_Roosevelt Kermit]], who was an explorer on two continents. He in turn had a son, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kermit_Roosevelt,_Jr also named Kermit]], who was a {{CIA}} agent who [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Ajax overthrew the democratically-elected government of Iran]], paving the way for the Shah's autocracy and (eventually) the Islamic Revolution of 1979.
*** Then there's [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kermit_Schaefer Kermit Schaefer]], the original {{Blooper}} collector.
*** And Kermit Washington, who's [[NeverLiveItDown/{{Sports}} most (in)famous for]] nearly killing Rudy Tomjanovich with a single punch during an NBA brawl in 1977.
*** And Kermit Beahan, who was Charles Sweeney's bombardier onboard ''Bockscar'' on Nagasaki raid 9 August 1945.
* In an odd example from a few years ago that has already become almost nostalgic Christmas weirdness, some companies marketed ''upside-down'' [[http://blog.holidays.net/index.php/2006/11/29/upside-down-christmas-tree-nothing-new-but-still-weird artificial Christmas trees]]. Though it started as a department store's cheesy attempt at humour (so you can fit more presents under the tree!), there was a brief period during which they were quite popular. It's OlderThanTheyThink, though, as 12th Century Europeans were said to have hung their trees [[http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/news/2001/dec14.html upside-down from the ceiling]].
* Many Westerners were introduced to eating fertilized duck eggs through reality shows; mainly as a challenge to the contestants. Many still find it hard to believe that it really is a very common and much-loved delicacy (called [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balut_(egg) balut]]) in several Southeast Asian countries like the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. In fact, you can find the eggs sold by street vendors in those countries.
** One of the producers for the show said that (at least, early on) all of the gross-out stunt foods on ''Series/FearFactor'' were a delicacy somewhere in the world, albeit they're usually prepped, cooked, and seasoned a certain way, and not eaten while still squirming.
* Many of the award citations for Medal of Honor/Victoria Cross/etc. recipients qualify. This was {{lampshade|Hanging}}d by Ronald Reagan when he was presenting the award to [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Benavidez Roy Benavidez]].
-->If the story of his heroism were a movie script, you would not believe it.
* Look at [[Wiki/{{Wikipedia}} The Other Wiki]]'s discussion pages, in any language, on the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Liger Liger]]. Apparently there are a lot of people out there that not just doubt it, but actively ''refuse'' to accept that such an animal can exist. It probably doesn't help that occasionally a wiki vandal will add a reference to it being [[Film/NapoleonDynamite "bred for its skills in magic"]]. On a similar note, the narwhal. Narwhals sound utterly ridiculous--effectively a whale with a giant unicorn horn, maybe ''two'' horns?--but are, in fact, entirely real.
* Two suburban boys in their late teens, going camping for the first time, amazed at the fact that fireflies do as a matter of fact, exist, and are not special effects in media and little mythological bugs.
** Or, indeed, ''adults'' from the West Coast of the USA travelling east for the first time.
** They're not just real. They're ''carnivorous''. Well, some are.
*** Not only are some carnivorous, some specifically feed on ''other firefly species''. Fireflies use their light to attract mates, with each species having a unique pattern to the flashes they generate. Those that eat other species can often replicate the prey species' light flash pattern.
** They are also poisonous. This can result in an unpleasant surprise for a pet who thought all bugs were edible.
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bedbug Bedbugs are real.]] However, they're becoming freakishly common in cities in the Northeast US and Southern Ontario (Canada), particularly New York, Boston and Toronto, so nobody really doubts they exist anymore. Some do have problems believing just how brutal the damn things are.
** They're not exactly dangerous to human health (they aren't known to carry any diseases and their bites are more or less the same as a mosquito's). They're just bloody persistent and extremely hard to get rid of. Not only can they go for months without a meal, but fumigation '''does not work very well'''. So you cannot starve them to death or poison them. Luckily, pest control has ways to get rid of them, so call them first before attempting removal.
* Similarly, a group of non-Americans (primarily early-20s) traveling in the US were surprised to find that IHOP, the Cheesecake Factory, and Denny's were real restaurants and not [[BrandX no-brand-names-were-harmed TV inventions]].
* Ten years ago, a lot of people laughed at claims of "killer mold" in New York city apartments. Then Brittany Murphy and her husband dropped dead. Although the actual cause was determined to ''not'' be mold, it did raise awareness about black mold--which is a major problem in parts of the US that are known for sudden torrential rain, have poor drainage, and do not freeze (for instance, coastal east Texas).
* Tattoos in Britain. Nowadays they are so associated with vulgar lower-class stereotypes that people refuse to believe that people like {{Queen Vic|ky}}toria and UsefulNotes/WinstonChurchill had them. But in fact they were first brought to England by Captain Cook in the eighteenth century, having visited Tahiti, and became a craze among the upper classes (and, obviously, sailors). They were associated primarily with the upper classes until around UsefulNotes/WorldWarII.
** Oddly fitting, given that both "Britannia" and the "Picts" were names derived from being "tattooed".
* Alcoholic root beer. The general consensus is that the soft drink commonly called root beer is actually a recent invention, but recipes for mildly-alcoholic beers using fermented sassafras root bark as a main ingredient have been around for at least some 200 odd years. Fun fact: they still make the stuff.
** In fact a forerunner to root beer, Dandelion and Burdock (made from dandelion and burdock roots), has been around since the middle ages and began as a light mead.
* Similar to alcoholic root beer, alcoholic ginger beer is also a real thing; made by fermenting sugar, water, and ginger juice with [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ginger_beer#Ginger_beer_plant ginger beer plant]] (actually a colony of yeast and certain bacteria). It originated in the mid-18th century Yorkshire, and quickly became popular throughout the British Isles and colonies.
* It is a frustrating experience for history enthusiasts to explain to others that the Ancient Romans, Greeks, Chinese, Aztecs and Egyptians had invented highly advanced technology. Try, for instance, persuading a skeptic that the Ancient Greeks already had steam-power (well, more of a steam-powered toy really, and it was never developed further) long before the Industrial Revolution. In fact, some things manufactured by ancient cultures have yet to be re-manufactured by our modern technology (Greek fire, for example).
** Although in the case of some of the technologies, it's due to the raw materials being either unknown or no longer available. In addition, there are typically more recent discoveries available which replace the old technologies.
*** In the case of Greek fire, the composition and manufacturing processes were closely-guarded military secrets, handed down orally, and only in part, with the total knowledge spread among multiple groups; and no known documents of its composition exist (although it is generally agreed that naphtha, a crude form of petroleum commonly available from wells near the Black Sea at that time, was most likely the primary ingredient).
* Articles in ''Website/TheOnion'' are often [[PoesLaw mistaken for being genuine]] - see [[http://www.literallyunbelievable.org Literally Unbelievable]]. An article called "Creationist Museum Unveils 5000 Year-Old Dinosaur" did the rounds via email several years ago, and while the story obviously ''was'' a fabrication, many people who saw through it were nonetheless unaware that the Creationist Museum itself is real.
* There are several Franchise/{{Transformers}} in Asian markets such as Optimus Prime transforming sneakers and Transformers style Disney characters that are often mistaken for a ShoddyKnockoffProduct of the genuine article. These toys are actually both [[http://tfwiki.net/wiki/Sports_Label official]] and [[http://tfwiki.net/wiki/Disney_Label licensed]]
* Some people don't seem to realize that Santa Claus [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Nicholas was a real person]]. Although in fairness, the confusion can be justified when the only thing the real "Santa Claus" (actually Saint Nicholas) has in common with his modern day counterpart is the gift-giving generosity. (OK, he probably also had a beard, too. But he probably didn't have a sleigh pulled by nine reindeer and definitely didn't live at the North Pole.)
* A few people seem to think that the notion of feathered dinosaurs is just something scientists made up to drive the bird-dinosaur connection home, or at best that only one or two "newfangled" dinosaurs that haven't been known during their childhoods wore feathers. Actually, some exquisite fossil sites (mostly from China) have been churning out feathered specimens non-stop since the middle of the '90s, and reevaluation of some older fossils has produced further proof of feathers. The physical evidence combined with cladistics have convinced paleontologists that pretty much all dinos belonging to the coelurosaurian clade (which to laypeople mostly mean raptors, ''[[TyrannosaurusRex T. rex]]'' and birds) are feathered or at least fuzzy. Even distantly related dinosaurs, such as ''[[UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifePrimitiveOrnithischians Tianyulong]]'', ''[[UsefulNotes/PrehistoricLifeCeratopsidPredecessors Psittacosaurus]]'' and (possibly) ''[[UsefulNotes/StockDinosaursTrueDinosaurs Triceratops]]'', turned out to have been "hairy" quite recently.\\
On the flip-side, some people aren't sure whether the dinosaurs in ''Franchise/JurassicPark'' were real or only made-up. While a lot of them were indeed heavily modified for dramatic purposes, or just plain inaccurate, yes, they were all based on real animals.
* Remember that part in ''Film/TheDarkKnight'' where Batman goes to Hong Kong and gets that guy by hooking a balloon on a rope around his waist and sending him out a window to get picked up by a passing plane? Maybe you have also played ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid3SnakeEater'' or ''[[VideoGame/MetalGearSolidPeaceWalker Peace Walker]]'' and saw it there too, where it was called the Fulton Recovery System? [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fulton_surface-to-air_recovery_system It's real]].
** Another system was devised that used a fairly long nylon rope with a large loop suspended between two poles, to be snagged by a low-flying aircraft with a special hook, the other end being attached to a harness worn by the person to be picked up. This rather terrifying system actually works for recovering people from the ground (only because the nylon rope has enough stretch to act as a shock absorber and prevent the recovered person from being injured or killed). It was not widely used because the system needs a fairly large, fairly open area for pickup, and within a few years of this system being perfected helicopters became available and they could do the same job without needing a lot of special equipment and training for the person being picked up.
* Many people are surprised to learn that [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Morgan there really was a Captain Morgan.]] (And, yes, he really was known for [[TheDrunkenSailor his heavy drinking and partying]].)
* A SnipeHunt is almost always a prank. But few people without a keen interest in animal life (or birds in particular) seem to be aware that the snipe is a real bird. While much less dangerous than most snipe hunt "promoters" would suggest, they ''are'' really hard to catch or shoot (hence the origin of the term "sniper").
* Before Website/{{Twitter}} introduced verification for celebrity accounts -- and occasionally after, as with UsefulNotes/HillaryRodhamClinton -- users not infrequently expressed doubt that a user claiming to be a celebrity was, indeed, that celebrity. Hence the number of handles that include the word "real" or variants, such as [[Creator/NeilPatrickHarris @ActuallyNPH]]
** Still [[JustifiedTrope justified in a way]], as many celebrity accounts still, in spite of their best efforts and much evidence in their favor, have a hard time getting verified.
* When [[EverythingsBetterWithPlatypi the platypus]] was first described and exhibited in London many people refused to believe it was a real animal and not a hoax. In their defense, they were swindled earlier by well-known hoaxes such as the Fiji mermaid.
** The original scientist it was presented to actually declared it to be a fake and tried to "prove" it by cutting off the "obviously" sewn-on bill. This specimen is on display and the marks made by his scissors are still visible.
* The [[WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes Tasmanian devil]] is a real animal -- a marsupial, native to (where else?) Tasmania, also known as "that small triangular island south of the Australian continent". Though it doesn't spin around like a tornado.
* You'd be surprised how many people cry "historical inaccuracy" at any portrayal of non-white people during the Middle Ages, in ancient Rome, Victorian England, and the like. It's actually a very [[http://www.metafilter.com/134575/People-of-Color-are-not-an-anachronism well-documented occurrence]]. See also the Real Life section of BlackVikings.
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