How the First Movies Based on True Stories Site Got Started...and My Obsession with Lifetime Movies and Movies Based on True Events
It was 1996. I was feeling really blue because I had been hanging out at a late night skating rink. If you've ever been to African American based skating rinks, you know it's more like a disco-dance club more than anything. I didn't like the atmosphere anymore. The scene had become gritty and messy. While I was standing in the mirror putting on my make up, I had butterflies in my stomach because I really didn't want to go. It wasn't fun anymore; it had turned into something that I no longer recognized. I looked in the mirror and said, "you don't have to go anymore." I took off everything, wiped off my make up and hopped on the couch in front of the tv. I turned the channel and listened as the narrator stated "This movie is based on a true story." I was hooked from that point on. In those days the fact based movies-inspired by actual events debuted on stations like NBC, CBS, and ABC. They don't do it now, but back then there was a narrator that would announce that it was based on fact. It was really dramatic and it really made you want to watch. The movies became known as "movies of the week." From that point on, every Sunday and Monday, I was watching these real life dramas. I started writing down each movie in a tablet so that I could remember the events in the movie. But, I asked myself questions like: "Is this movie really true, who are the real people, and what do they really look like?"
At the time the net was not very popular. Most people would go to the library to use it. One evening after work, I decided to go to the local library to see what I could find out. I didn't know what I was doing. The librarian showed me how to search on the net. But, I couldn't find any information online about the real people. Long story short, I had to learn to use library databases and dig through old newspapers and magazines. Not only did I find the true stories, but many of the articles had pictures of the real people. Boy, was I excited. I started archiving the information in a tablet with old newspaper clippings. Then I learned how to create a site on Geocities and the Movies Based On True Stories website was born. I had not intended to make the site for other people to see. I just needed a place to archive all of the true stories. Soon, I decided to publish it in 1997. The first story that I researched and published was A Matter of Justice starring Patty Duke. Then later, Death of a Cheerleader, and then A Killer Among Friends. People started writing. They were fascinated that they could actually see the real people, and that there was a useable archival system to find the movies. The movies eventually stopped showing on the regular channels, and then the cable channels such as TNT and Lifetime started to pick them up. Geocities died out, and I eventually had to transfer everything over to a new space. In 2009, I changed the name from Movies Based on True Stories to The Movies Based on True Stories Database. It is now Movies Based on True Stories Archives.
So who else is obsessed with true stories?