If the UAE attracts its fair share of urban myths - 25 per cent of the world's construction cranes were once reputed to be feverishly at work in Dubai, suggested one oft quoted "fact" from the boom years - then it has yet to become attached to a tall story on the scale of say, Walt Disney's body supposedly being frozen (pending reanimation) immediately after his 1966 death.
Maybe there was something in the air in the Swinging Sixties - this was, after all, the era of "fake" moon landings and serial conspiracy theories - because, only two years after that Disney rumour emerged, the speculation about London Bridge began to gather.
Next month marks the 45th anniversary of the sale of London Bridge - the causeway that spawned a nursery rhyme about its shoddy construction - to an American oil baron named Robert P McCulloch, who completed its purchase on April 18, 1968.
McCulloch planned to move the bridge to the Arizona desert, where it would become the centrepiece of his ambitious new Lake Havasu City development, while the vendors needed cash to fund a new bridge fit for the clogged streets of post-war London. The fact that the old one was sinking slowly into the soft Thames riverbed probably helped focus a few minds on the sale too.
The legend attached to this story, however, is that McCulloch thought he was buying Tower Bridge rather than the less architecturally impressive London Bridge, which sits - the latter's successor was opened 40 years ago tomorrow, on March 17, 1973 - a short distance down the river from that instantly recognisable Victorian Gothic landmark.
The story of the sale is the subject of Travis Elborough's entertaining new book London Bridge in America (published by Jonathan Cape) which, given its subtitle, "The Tall Story of a Transatlantic Crossing", tips its hat heavily to the notion that McCulloch might have bought the wrong bridge.
Elborough, whose previous books have considered the famous old Routemaster red London buses as well as ruminations on the British seaside and vinyl records, is pointedly a man who loves nostalgia and, indeed, a good story. He begins with the moment of arrival of the first foundation stone from the 130-year-old bridge in Arizona in September 1968 and poses the question the reader wants answered: "what could Robert P McCulloch possibly want with this old junk?"
Unfortunately, Elborough is not about to quickly surrender that information and instead, London Bridge to America settles into a long exploration of London Bridge's history, which is likely to prove hard going for those readers who only really want to find out if the American oil baron had been duped after all.
Any great urban myth, this one included, relies on the lie being so big that it almost stands up, until, that is, you realise that the concept of due diligence was not at all foreign 45 years ago, even if Google Maps was. That there was, in fact, no way in the world that McCulloch could have been hoodwinked in this way.
Elborough does eventually return to the question of the sale. By that stage of London Bridge to America, however, the reader instinctively knows the answer to his earlier question. Too much smoke and too many mirrors have been expended in his pages to make one feel that there is really a giant fib to expose here.
Instructively, early on, Elborough also appropriates a quote from The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, the 1962 John Ford classic western starring John Wayne and James Stewart, reminding the reader that "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend".
Some people "did confuse" London Bridge with its illustrious neighbour, the author reports, but were quickly corrected. On such moments and in such words, another urban myth, and a very entertaining one at that, is shattered beyond repair.
* Nick March