Alan Abel

From Academic Kids

Alan Abel (b. 1930) is an American writer, musician and hoaxer. He is famous for a series of hoaxes that he was able to turn into major media circuses with surprising ease.

Abel graduated from Ohio State University with a B.S. in Education.

One of Abel's earliest hoaxes took place in the early 1960s. In the 1960s Abel posed as a golf expert who taught Westinghouse executives how to employ ballet positions to improve their game.

During the Watergate scandal, Abel hired a man to pose as Deep Throat. The man called a news conference in Washington and literary agent Scott Meredith offered to buy the rights to his story. The would-be-Deep Throat argued with his wife, who did not want him to testify, and he was spirited away in a limousine.

Omar's School of Beggars was a supposed school for professional panhandlers. In his new disguise he was invited to the Tomorrow Show by Tom Snyder, whom he had angered before.

With S.I.N.A. Society for Indecency to Naked Animals, Abel claimed that low moral standards in USA are due to publicly naked animals. Their motto was A Nude Horse Is a Rude Horse. The society even managed to attract contributions.

In 1966-1967 Abel wrote a humor column for San Francisco Chronicle.

In 1979 Abel staged his own death from a heart attack on the Sundance ski Lodge. He hired a fake funeral director to collect his belongings and his "widow" notified the New York Times. The Times published a long obituary January 2, 1980 (a rare example of a premature obituary). The next day Abel held a news conference to announce the hoax and the Times published a retraction the next day.

In 1997 Abel invented a special gift; a gift-wrapped pint of urine from Jenny McCarthy. The product was supposedly offered in the name of CGS productions, with a contact named Stoidi Puekaw ("Wake up idiots" backwards). Her copyright lawyer threatened to sue. Abel's pun was based of a McCarthy's appearance in a shoe commercial where she was sitting on a toilet.

Abel also ran for Congress in a platform that included paying congressmen based on commission; selling ambassadorships to the highest bidder; installing a lie detector in the White House and truth serum in the Senate drinking fountain; requiring all doctors to publish their medical school grade-point averages in the telephone book after their names and removing Wednesday to establish a 4-day workweek.

In 2005, his daughter Jenny Abel along with Jeff Hocket made a documentary film on his life called Abel Raises Cain. It played at the Boston Independent Film Festival and the Slamdance festival in 2005.

Alan Abel's Books

  • The Fallacy of Creative Thinking
  • The Panhandlers Handbook (as Omar the Begger)
  • Confessions of a Hoaxer
  • Don't Get Mad, Get Even
  • How to Thrive on Rejection (1984, originally as W. W. Norton)

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