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Praising Abel, Raising Cain
August 14, 2006 2:30 PM   Subscribe

Alan Abel is a self-described "professional hoaxer" active since 1959. His classic hoaxes include the Society for Indecency to Naked Animals, the 1964 presidential campaign of Jewish housewife Yetta Bronstein, a topless string quartet (slightly NSFW), and the wedding of Idi Amin. He also released two mockumentaries long before Spinal Tap was a gleam in Christopher Guest's eye. Now Abel's daughter Jenny has released a documentary tribute to her father, Abel Raises Cain, which has some great You Tube clips, including 1970s talk show staple, Omar's School for Beggars. (some clips may be NSFW)
posted by jonp72 (15 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
"Is there Sex After Death" is one weird movie. My friend made me watch it years agobased on the title alone. Somehow right before i clicked on that link I thought that movie may have been one of his.
posted by piratebowling at 2:54 PM on August 14, 2006


I love dadaist humor. We need more weird people who are not afraid of action.
posted by homodigitalis at 3:03 PM on August 14, 2006


Just for the record, Spinal Tap was directed by Rob Reiner.
posted by Outlawyr at 3:05 PM on August 14, 2006


I read one of his books. Apparently he wanted to have an old caboose as a playhouse for his daughter (Jenny) and there was some hold up so he took his daughter to the office of the folks holding up the works and had her cry on cue. He then ‘explained’ to her how it just wasn’t possible and there were regulations and such. And here’s this cute little kid and she’s bawling away, and the bureaucrat ultimately relented. I thought that was a pretty cute story. Capone was right - you can get further with a kind word, and a gun, than you can with just a kind word. But Abel’s better - a crying child is a Howitzer of situational leverage.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:10 PM on August 14, 2006


Just for the record, Spinal Tap was directed by Rob Reiner.

Yes, but Christopher Guest was the true auteur behind the film, as his subsequent work with Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, and A Mighty Wind demonstrates.
posted by jonp72 at 3:10 PM on August 14, 2006


agreed jon , as reiners subsequent work also demonsrates.
posted by sgt.serenity at 3:38 PM on August 14, 2006


he was great--and way ahead of his time--a sorta-proto Ali G/Borat/Sasha Cohen.
posted by amberglow at 3:41 PM on August 14, 2006


He graduated from Ohio State University with a B.S. degree...
No additional comment required.
posted by hal9k at 4:01 PM on August 14, 2006


Alan Abel has been a friend of mine since the late 70's. In fact, this past February, I flew to Nebraska to participate in his latest hoax. I pretended to be the winner of the largest Powerball lottery in American history. No sooner did I set up in a local diner and told the manager that I was paying for everyone's meals, when I was besieged with media. At one point, I had three TV cameras, two print reporters and a radio guy around me, all asking me questions all at once. It was great fun!

By the way, you can see me in Abel Raises Cain if you look close. I'm the security guard in the background of the Idi Amin wedding scenes.
posted by Cranky Media Guy at 4:58 PM on August 14, 2006


By the way piratebowling, Is There Sex After Death? IS Alan's first movie.
posted by Cranky Media Guy at 4:59 PM on August 14, 2006


We need more weird people who are not afraid of action.

Indeed.
posted by Meatbomb at 6:23 PM on August 14, 2006


Excellent post, most amusing! Thanks, jonp72 - I love the culture jammers, particularly when they pull a really ludicrous hoax off in the media. The HBO "shorty" story was very funny, although I can see why they fell for that. How many men would be willing to go on national TV claiming to have the world's smallest penis, even as a joke?

Another culture jammer who has pulled some good hoaxes is Joey Skaggs.
posted by madamjujujive at 8:35 PM on August 14, 2006


Also check out the classic media hijinks of SF locals Coyle and Sharpe. True heros of getting Joe Public to believe the absurd.

I myself joined the Bay Area Rotessiere Friends for the 4th Annual Pigeon Roast (the other, other white meat) in Union Square and handed out meat samples from East Bay's hottest new bistro Seoul Food, all dog-meat restaurant at the How Berkeley Can You Be Parade.

I'm am nothing to this man, he even put Skaggs to shame. He may have a small penis, but huge balls.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 5:21 PM on August 15, 2006


"Omar's School for Beggars" joins the ranks of great-name-for-a-band tradition at Mefi.

I had never heard of Abel before. Thanks.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 8:10 AM on August 16, 2006


"Omar's School for Beggars" joins the ranks of great-name-for-a-band tradition at Mefi.

I had never heard of Abel before. Thanks."

Back in the late 70's, when I first met Alan Abel, I played Omar's bodyguard for several media appearances. At the time, I was employed as a security guard for the Yankees, Mets and Madison Square Garden so I had a police uniform. I used it when I "worked" for "Omar," the explanation being that a "lot of people resent Omar's line of work and he carries a lot of cash on him so I walk him to the bank night drop."

"He may have a small penis, but huge balls."

I've never actually seen Alan's "junk" (as the kids say) but, yes, he has a HUGE pair of balls, metaphorically speaking.
posted by Cranky Media Guy at 6:28 PM on August 16, 2006


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