Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Moonraker, Dolly's braces and the Mandela Effect

Do you remember the scene in Moonraker?

Dolly helps Jaws out from wreckage of the ski-lift. He looks at her showing his metal teeth. She smiles back, showing the braces on her teeth.

His heart is softened and he is eventually redeemed by his love for her.

Except... that scene never happened. When Dolly smiles she shows nothing more than her teeth.

I thought I remembered seeing braces, but I was wrong.

Equally, I thought that Brian Dennehy, the American actor who starred in Peter Greenaway's The Belly of an Architect in the 1980s was dead. But he is still with us.

Both these are favourite examples of the Mandela Effect. This is the idea that our memories do not always fit the public record, not because they are faulty, but because that record is somehow falsified.

The Mandela Effect gets its name from the fact that many people were convinced that the death of Nelson Mandela had been announced many years before he was released from prison.

It seems pretty clear that this is because people's memories of the death of Steve Biko have somehow become muddled up with their memories of Mandela.

I suspect this is an American phenomenon. Opposition to Apartheid was central to the British left when I was young - I even heard Biko's friend Donald Woods speak when I was at university - and Britain has many historic links with South Africa.

Dolly's nonexistent braces seem to have lodged themselves in our minds because the scene would have been wittier if she had worn them.

And there was a false report of Dennehy's death in the US, though I have no idea how I came across it.

I have seen it suggested that the Mandela Effect is a creation of the internet. Once, if we looked something up and found our memory was wrong, we would probably have accepted it.

Today, we can go online and find a community of people who have just the same memory as us.

And that must prove something really weird is gong on, right?


Frank Little said...

I thought that Brian Dennehy, the American actor who starred in Peter Greenaway's The Belly of an Architect in the 1980s was dead.

Judging by his appearances in "The Good Wife" and "Rizzoli and Isles" he is not as mobile as he used to be, but clearly still in demand by US show-runners who want to add a bit of weight (in both senses!) to their productions.

His signature part in my opinion was the DA in "Presumed Innocent".

Ned H said...


So I think she DID have braces. Either they painted them out, or they shot her scenes with and without braces, and then did her on-set photography without them, too (probably not so as not to spoil their 'joke').

Also, I never thought Brian Dennehy or Nelson Mandela were dead. Until Nelson Mandela died. It should be called the Abe Vigoda Affect.