Do you remember Street Sharks? If not, you wouldn't be alone. The forgettable mid-90s cartoon was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Tutles ripoff that featured four brothers who were turned into shark-men because science. The brothers even had a classically terrible catch phrase: "Jawesome!" Like a lot of cartoons back then, it only really existed to sell toys. And while there are some '90s shows that seem to be making a revival, Street Sharks surely isn't among them.
Why am I bringing this mostly forgotten slice of nostalgia to your attention? Well, it's because if you do remember it, the chances are what you think you know about it are wrong.
The man responsible for that is Jordan Minor, who made himself the editor for the Street Sharks section of TVTome.com. The user-edited site has since been subsumed into TV.com, but not before Minor turned his little corner of the internet into a treasure trove of totally made up Street Sharks facts.
In real life, the DIC Entertainment cartoon ran for three seasons, but Minor's alternate reality contained an extra season and a TV movie. He tells the full story over at Geek, and it's more than worth a read. Minor gave his fictional episodes titles ("Going Clammando" is a particular favorite of mine) and synopses, but didn't stop there. He made up the character of a female shark called Roxie and a villain called Meathook (among others) and claimed legends like Adam West and Henry Winkler were cast members.
The lies gradually found their way onto other sides including the likes of Wikipedia and IMDb. Minor points out that fastidious editors of various sites have by now largely erased his fictions, but they still creep out into the world every now and again. For instance, when Netflix hosted the show, they listed Winkler and West as cast members.
But here's where it gets weird: In his article, Minor cites examples of people believing his lies to such an extent that they claim to remember watching episodes that never existed. One reviewer on IMDb claims to have the TV movie "The Shiva Saga" on VHS, even though it's totally made up. Real Street Sharks cast members have retweeted fans talking about Henry Winkler's appearances on the show, even though surely they must know they never worked with him!
It makes you think — how much of the information we read online can really be trusted? Plenty of website employ copy editors to make sure facts and sources are check, but there are many that do not (perhaps especially when it comes to things as obscure as Street Sharks). In truth, it's a bit of a concern when more and more people turn to Wikipedia as their first port of call for information.
Think about this next time you read a Wikipedia entry or a cast list on IMDb. How can you be sure what you're reading is true? And how can you be sure you won't just go along with it, like the Street Sharks fan with his video of a movie that was never made? It just goes that show that we should all take care with the information we put on line, and take from it. Minor himself puts it best:
"I believe my lies have highlighted an important modern truth: history is more mutable than it has ever been thanks to the explosion of information on the internet."
Did you ever watch Street Sharks?