Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction

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Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction
Beyond belief fact or fiction.jpg
Genre Science fiction
Created by Lynn Lehmann
Presented by James Brolin (1997)
Jonathan Frakes (1998–2002)
Narrated by Don LaFontaine (1997–2000)
Campbell Lane (2002)
Theme music composer Al Kasha
Composer(s) Al Kasha
Mark Northam
David E. Russo
Tim Simonec
Steve Zuckerman
Robert Alpert
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 45[1]
(225 Segments) (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Barry Adelman
Dick Clark
Al Schwartz
Running time 7-9 Minutes
(Individual Segments)
44-45 minutes
Original network Fox
Original release May 25, 1997 (1997-05-25) –
September 5, 2002 (2002-09-05)

Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction is an American television anthology series created by Lynn Lehmann, presented by Dick Clark Productions, and produced and aired by the Fox network from 1997 to 2002.[2] Each episode featured stories, all of which appeared to defy logic, and some of which were allegedly based on actual events. The viewer was offered the challenge of determining which are true and which are false. At the end of the show, it was revealed to the viewer whether the tales were true or works of fiction.

The series was hosted by James Brolin in season one and by Jonathan Frakes in seasons two, three and four. The show was narrated by Don LaFontaine for the first three seasons and by Campbell Lane for the fourth and final season.


The stories told in the program all had some connection with the supernatural, ghosts, psychic phenomena, coincidences, destiny, and/or with other such unusual occurrences.

Each episode of the show, as well as all stories within, were introduced with a pun or some other form of witticism pertaining to the particular story and episode, and they all included the underlying moral that not everything we perceive as truth and falsehood is as such, and that it can often be difficult to truly separate fact from fiction, hence the show's title.

The majority of true stories on the show were based on first-hand research conducted by author Robert Tralins, while many of the ones that turned out to be fiction were simply modern-dressed re-telling of urban legends.

From season two onwards Jonathan Frakes would end each story with a pun related to the story, for comical effect.

Popularity and cancellation

Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction has gained a cult following.[citation needed] The show was often aired sporadically, sometimes going for weeks or even months between airings. There is a two-year lag between Don LaFontaine and Campbell Lane's stints as narrator for the show, during which time it was believed that it had been cancelled, only for it to be brought back for another season in the summer of 2002. It was eventually cancelled after its 2002 season. During his stint as narrator, Lane played the character John August in the story entitled 'The Cigar Box' shown in episode 12 of the season 4.

In Germany, where Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction is known as X-Factor: Das Unfassbare (The Unfathomable), the show was especially successful and still has a cult following. This led to the X-Factor brand being extended to other shows: The Paranormal Borderline became X-Factor: Die fünfte Dimension (The Fifth Dimension), X-Factor: Wahre Lügen (True Lies) is a German series, and Scariest Places on Earth became X-Factor: Die wahre Dimension der Angst (The Real Dimension of Fear).[3][4]

Starting on 4th November 2018, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the series' premiere in Germany, RTL II produced new episodes under the name X-Factor: Das Unfassbare kehrt zurück (The Unfathomable Returns), hosted by Detlef Bothe. However, this revival was heavily panned by audiences due to the much poorer quality in comparison to the original.[5]


Each episode featured five stories, all of which defied logic, but some of which were based on actual events. The viewer was offered the challenge of determining which were true and which were false. At the end of the show, it was revealed to the viewer which tales were true (the stories bolded on this list) and which ones were works of fiction.

Of the 225 stories told over the course of the 45 episodes, 132 (59%) were revealed to be "fact." Each episode of the series' run had at least one "fiction" story and at least two "fact" stories.

Series overview

Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
1 6 May 25, 1997 (1997-05-25) August 3, 1997 (1997-08-03)
2 13 January 23, 1998 (1998-01-23) July 24, 1998 (1998-07-24)
3 13 May 19, 2000 (2000-05-19) August 18, 2000 (2000-08-18)
4 13 June 27, 2002 (2002-06-27) September 5, 2002 (2002-09-05)

Season 1 (1997)

No. in
Story titles Host Narrator Original air date [1]
1 1 "The Apparition, The Electric Chair, On the Road, Number One With a Bullet & Dream House" James Brolin Don LaFontaine May 25, 1997 (1997-05-25)
2 2 "The Viewing, The Subway, Kid in the Closet, Justice is Served & The Tractor" James Brolin Don LaFontaine June 1, 1997 (1997-06-01)
3 3 "The Prophecy, Couch Potato, Love Over the Counter, Imaginary Friend & Last Man on Earth" James Brolin Don LaFontaine June 8, 1997 (1997-06-08)
4 4 "E-Mail, Cup of Joe, Secret of the Family Tomb, Wheezer & The Unknown Patient" James Brolin Don LaFontaine June 15, 1997 (1997-06-15)
5 5 "Needle Point, Toy to the Rescue, Mystery Lock, The House on Baker Street & The Train" James Brolin Don LaFontaine June 22, 1997 (1997-06-22)
6 6 "The Candlestick, The Diner, From the Agency, The Magic Rose Garden & The Jeep" James Brolin Don LaFontaine August 3, 1997 (1997-08-03)

Season 2 (1998)

No. in
Story titles Host Narrator Original air date [1]
7 1 "The Plane, The Gun, The Portrait, The Pass & The Caller" Jonathan Frakes Don LaFontaine January 23, 1998 (1998-01-23)
8 2 "Firestation 32, The Computer, The Girl Next Door, The Wallet & The Woods" Jonathan Frakes Don LaFontaine January 30, 1998 (1998-01-30)
9 3 "The Wall, The Chalkboard, The Getaway, The Prescription & Summer Camp" Jonathan Frakes Don LaFontaine February 6, 1998 (1998-02-06)
10 4 "The Wrestler, The Escape, Dead Friday, Ghost Visitor & The Lady in a Black Dress (Friday the 13th special)" Jonathan Frakes Don LaFontaine February 13, 1998 (1998-02-13)
11 5 "The Land, Titan, The Diary, Town of Remembrance & The House on Barry Avenue" Jonathan Frakes Don LaFontaine February 27, 1998 (1998-02-27)
12 6 "Bright Lights, Magic Mightyman, The Student, Scribbles & Count Mystery" Jonathan Frakes Don LaFontaine March 6, 1998 (1998-03-06)
13 7 "The Mummy, The Perfect Record, Grave Sitting, Murder on the Second Floor & They Towed My Car" Jonathan Frakes Don LaFontaine March 20, 1998 (1998-03-20)
14 8 "Kirby, Dust, Malibu Cop, A Joyful Noise & The Hooded Chair" Jonathan Frakes Don LaFontaine April 3, 1998 (1998-04-03)
15 9 "Rock & Roll Ears, The Bucket, The Bridesmaid, Voice from the Grave & The Chess Game" Jonathan Frakes Don LaFontaine April 17, 1998 (1998-04-17)
16 10 "The Motorcycle, Blind Man's Dog, Deer Hunters, Tribal Curse & The Card Game (Animal Stories special)" Jonathan Frakes Don LaFontaine April 24, 1998 (1998-04-24)
17 11 "Bon Voyage, The Man in the Model T, The Scoop, Angel on Board & Buenos Dias (Disaster Stories special)" Jonathan Frakes Don LaFontaine May 1, 1998 (1998-05-01)
18 12 "Merry-Go-Round, Red Eyed Creature, Used Car Salesman, Surveillance Camera & Graffiti (A Touch of Evil special)" Jonathan Frakes Don LaFontaine July 17, 1998 (1998-07-17)
19 13 "The Warning, Bus Stop, The Cure, The Guardian & The Gift" Jonathan Frakes Don LaFontaine July 24, 1998 (1998-07-24)

Season 3 (2000)

No. in
Story titles Host Narrator Original air date [1]
20 1 "Morning Sickness, The Curse of Hampton Manor, Wax Executioner, Blood Bank & Ring Toss" Jonathan Frakes Don LaFontaine May 19, 2000 (2000-05-19)
21 2 "One for the Road, The Music Box, Two to One, Damsel & The Horn" Jonathan Frakes Don LaFontaine May 26, 2000 (2000-05-26)
22 3 "The Find, The Golden Cue, The FBI Story, The Gravedigger's Nemesis & Last Rites" Jonathan Frakes Don LaFontaine June 2, 2000 (2000-06-02)
23 4 "E-Mail, Blood Donor, Epitaph, Stitches in Time & Soldier" Jonathan Frakes Don LaFontaine June 16, 2000 (2000-06-16)
24 5 "The Nightmare, The Stalker, The Impossible Car Dream, The Dresser & The Burial (Dream special)" Jonathan Frakes Don LaFontaine June 23, 2000 (2000-06-23)
25 6 "Red Line, Two Sisters, Eclipse, The Ice Box & The Gathering" Jonathan Frakes Don LaFontaine June 30, 2000 (2000-06-30)
26 7 "Connie, Positive I.D., Trucker, Cook Out & The New House" Jonathan Frakes Don LaFontaine July 7, 2000 (2000-07-07)
27 8 "Creepy Comics, Louie the Dip, The Wailing, The Landlady & Curse" Jonathan Frakes Don LaFontaine July 14, 2000 (2000-07-14)
28 9 "For the Record, Halloween, Precious, Get Your Kicks at Motel 66 & Phantom Drifter" Jonathan Frakes Don LaFontaine July 21, 2000 (2000-07-21)
29 10 "Devil's Tattoo, Static Man, The Bloody Hand, Where Have All the Heroes Gone & War Surplus" Jonathan Frakes Don LaFontaine July 28, 2000 (2000-07-28)
30 11 "Dead Beat Daddy (alias Deadbeat Dad), Ghost Town, The Sewing Machine, The Sleepwalker & Money Laundry" Jonathan Frakes Don LaFontaine August 4, 2000 (2000-08-04)
31 12 "The Handyman, Anatole, Makeup Magic, Screwdriver & Charlie" Jonathan Frakes Don LaFontaine August 11, 2000 (2000-08-11)
32 13 "The Dealer, Gratuity, The Cake, 1st Time Offender & The Mirror of Truth" Jonathan Frakes Don LaFontaine August 18, 2000 (2000-08-18)

Season 4 (2002)

No. in
Story titles Host Narrator Original air date [1]
33 1 "The Devil's Autograph, Mail Order Degree, The News Stand, The Murder of Roy Hennessey & Mysterious Strangers" Jonathan Frakes Campbell Lane June 27, 2002 (2002-06-27)
34 2 "Writer's Agent, Crypt Ghost, The Doll, Hubert's Curse & Shared Vision" Jonathan Frakes Campbell Lane June 27, 2002 (2002-06-27)
35 3 "Out of Service, When I Was Big, The Greedy Investor, Seven Hours of Bad Luck & The Secret of the Coins" Jonathan Frakes Campbell Lane July 4, 2002 (2002-07-04)
36 4 "Second Sight, The Fine Line, The Wrong Turn, Who Was I & You Are Next (Sixth Sense special)" Jonathan Frakes Campbell Lane July 4, 2002 (2002-07-04)
37 5 "House of Shadows, One Hand in the Till, Teasdale's Motor Car, The Vision & The Grave" Jonathan Frakes Campbell Lane July 11, 2002 (2002-07-11)
38 6 "The Dorm, The Child Artist, The Weatherman, Sit-Down Comedian & Room 245" Jonathan Frakes Campbell Lane July 18, 2002 (2002-07-18)
39 7 "The Wreath, Terror Night, Tants, The Candidate & The Ring" Jonathan Frakes Campbell Lane July 25, 2002 (2002-07-25)
40 8 "Caitlin's Candle, The Flower Jury, The Mentor, The Old Bike & The Music Teacher" Jonathan Frakes Campbell Lane August 1, 2002 (2002-08-01)
41 9 "The Wealthy Widow, The Witness, The Accident, Bad Dreams & Mental" Jonathan Frakes Campbell Lane August 8, 2002 (2002-08-08)
42 10 "Moonstruck Beach, Healing Hands, Aspen Sunny Side, Night Walker & Hot Car" Jonathan Frakes Campbell Lane August 15, 2002 (2002-08-15)
43 11 "The Mystery of Douglas Hibbard, Wheelchair Man, The Vigil, The Mandarin's Bowl & Ghost Writer" Jonathan Frakes Campbell Lane August 22, 2002 (2002-08-22)
44 12 "Witness to Murder, Roulette Wheel, The Phrenologist's Head, The Bridge & The Cigar Box" Jonathan Frakes Campbell Lane August 29, 2002 (2002-08-29)
45 13 "The Hand, The Battered Doll, Poker Justice, Above the Clouds & Screen Saver" Jonathan Frakes Campbell Lane September 5, 2002 (2002-09-05)

Home media

Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction Season One was released on DVD in Region 1 on August 28, 2007.[6]

As of 2018, Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction is available for video streaming via IMDb's Freedive service[7], which is also part of Amazon Prime.[8]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e "Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction? (a Titles & Air Dates Guide". & Archived from the original on September 8, 2015. Retrieved September 18, 2015.
  2. ^ "Shows A-Z - beyond belief: fact or fiction? on fox". Retrieved June 16, 2010.
  3. ^ kabel eins: X-Factor - Das Unfaßbare Archived April 6, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, X-Factor - Die 5. Dimension, X-Factor: Wahre Lügen
  4. ^ X-Factor: Das Unfassbare, X-Factor: Die fünfte Dimension, X-Factor: Wahre Lügen, X-Factor: Die wahre Dimension der Angst
  5. ^ "„X-Factor: Das Unfassbare": Im Netz hagelt es Kritik für das RTL 2-Comeback". (in German). Retrieved July 18, 2019.
  6. ^ Lambert, David (June 20, 2007). "Beyond Belief - 1st Season Set in August". Archived from the original on January 23, 2015. Retrieved November 11, 2015.
  7. ^ Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction, retrieved May 17, 2019
  8. ^

External links

  • Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction on IMDb
  • Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction at
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