A couple weeks ago, Dustin Rowles from Pajiba wrote about an alternate ending to You’ve Got Mail, citing the Mandela effect (a collective false memory).
Immediately after reading it, I started polling friends because I too remembered the “Shop Around the Corner inside Fox Books” ending that Dustin referred to. A few friends, when prompted, agreed with me in a vague kind of way. I badgered Lainey about it. I also searched Reddit (as Dustin did in his piece), where I found a few like-minded people, including one person who recalled that the book was about Eeyore. And no, we weren’t confusing it with the “Shoe books” scene in which Kathleen directs a customer to the correct book after a Fox employee can’t find it. We aren’t You’ve Got Mail amateurs!
Then I took my research to the next level: YouTube. I searched alternative endings/versions, which was fruitless. I re-watched it on Amazon Prime, all the way to the end, just in case it was like a Marvel post-credits deal. No luck. I read every single piece I could find on it, from when it was released until now. I thought about contacting someone from Warner Brothers but wasn’t sure if anyone from that era would still be working there. At my lowest point, I even toyed with committing a cardinal sin (DMing a celebrity) but managed to control myself.
Then, searching IMDb, I saw that Nora Ephron’s sister Delia, an accomplished novelist, co-wrote the script and was a producer on You’ve Got Mail. She has an active website with a contact page, so I decided to shoot my shot. I filled out the web form, introduced myself as a writer and fan of the film and asked whether or not the alternate ending was real. After I hit send, I felt like Kathleen Kelly, sitting in a café with a rose and a well-worn copy of Pride and Prejudice. I didn’t expect her to respond, but hoped she would. Now if this were a movie, what do you think would happen next?
Well reader, I’ve got mail.
Delia Ephron wrote me a very kind note which read, in part, “The movie always ended in Riverside Park. And no one has messed with the movie since it was released.”
I wrote Ms. Ephron back to say thank you for taking the time to answer and for all the joy that she and her sister Nora have given us over the years. And continue to give us.
And that’s the final word. The scene in question does not, and never did, exist. Dustin Rowles was correct in his assessment of a collective false memory. That extra scene was just our brains and imaginations mixing up faces and places, but in a way, that’s the ultimate compliment to the film. We love it so much, we tried to create a little more of it.