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A Tumblr blog titled "Today is the Day Marty McFly Went to the Future" posts a new photo every day, indicating that today is the day McFly arrives in the future, as indicated by the Delorean's onboard time monitor in Back to the Future Part II (1989).

It's the latest take on the perennial return of Future Day (an ongoing internet prank in which people claim that the date of McFly's arrival is closer at hand than it really is).

The actual date of McFly's arrival is October 21, 2015.
Categories: Entertainment, Future/Time
Posted by Alex on Thu Feb 27, 2014
Comments (0)
As Chris Tarrant departs from the UK version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, The Express takes the opportunity to review the history of the quiz show, including some of the hoaxes and frauds associated with it.

For example, the show spawned an internet meme of screenshots of contestants getting absurdly simple questions wrong. Many of these are hoaxes, such as the most famous one which seems to show contestant Fiona Wheeler (not Kathy Evans as some email captions claim) deciding that an elephant is larger than the moon.


In reality, Wheeler was asked "What is the everyday name for the trachea?" (Breastbone, Windpipe, Kneecap, or Heelbone). And she got the answer right, going on to win £32,000. A screenshot of her answering this question was posted on ukgameshows.com, and someone altered it to create the elephant version.


But sometimes contestants really have gotten absurdly easy questions wrong. Such as the French contestant who asked the audience for help on figuring out which celestial body orbited the earth: the sun, moon, Mars or Venus. The audience chose "sun," so that's what he answered. Laughter from the audience suggests some of them may have been pranking him.


Who Wants To Be A Millionaire also has a history of allegations of cheating and game rigging. For instance, £1million prize winner Charles Ingram was convicted of cheating by having an accomplice cough whenever the correct answer was read.

And many accused the producers of the show of feeding contestant Judith Keppel easy questions, so that they could have a big winner (and thus big ratings), thereby overshadowing the final episode of the BBC sitcom One Foot In The Grave.
Categories: Entertainment
Posted by Alex on Thu Oct 24, 2013
Comments (0)
Tom Woottwell had an interesting career. He was a "mock strong man," performing to crowds during the late nineteenth century. From The Strand magazine, July 1897:


The show indicated in the photo here reproduced was screamingly comic. First, as to the costume of the mock "strong man." he is dressed in dilapidated old tights, which are supposed to be strained almost to bursting point at the arms and calves, owing solely to the abnormal muscular development of those parts. The calves are particularly funny — far less sinew than sawdust, however.

And observe the showman's leer as he strikes an attitude for the great feat of breaking a thick iron chain on the "muscles" of his arm. "Keep your eye on me, and you'll be astonished," he is saying. You would be, by the way, if you saw the next stage of the show. The man's mighty arm bends slowly but surely; his breath comes quick and short, and at the supreme moment the chain snaps asunder with an extraordinary uproar and flies right up into the wings — hauled up there, of course, by invisible wires.
Categories: Entertainment, Sports
Posted by Alex on Wed May 16, 2012
Comments (0)
The new movie The Fourth Kind tries to blur reality in the same way that movies such as Paranormal Activity and The Blair Witch Project have successfully done. But according to io9.com, The Fourth Kind doesn't manage to pull it off convincingly:

Alien abduction flick The Fourth Kind bills itself as containing "actual footage" from case histories. But this footage is so poorly faked that it insults the audience's intelligence...
The movie stumbled out of the gate by hanging most of its fear power on a fundamental dishonesty. There is no "archival footage." There are no "actual case studies." Instead, we get badly-acted, blatantly fake documentary footage which fuzzes out whenever anything alien happens...
I'm not against fake documentaries. I loved Paranormal Activity, which was effective because the actors seemed so effortlessly real. Nothing felt stagey or artificial about that movie's "documentary" evidence.
What pushes Fourth Kind from the merely bad into the actually insulting was the filmmakers' insistence that the documentary evidence was real. Actors from the "documentary" portions of the movie are uncredited, and many media outlets are still reporting that the footage is real.

I'll probably see it anyway (on dvd). My standards for horror movies are pretty low.

(Thanks, Joe!)
Categories: Entertainment
Posted by Alex on Thu Nov 05, 2009
Comments (4)
I've purposefully avoided watching "Jon & Kate Plus 8," and on a personal level I couldn't care less about what happens to Jon & Kate, but in recently filed divorce papers Kate Gosselin states that she and her husband have lived "separate and apart" for the last two years. [Link] This is interesting because, apparently, on last season's show they made a big deal out of renewing their wedding vows in Hawaii. Evidently the whole thing was staged.

And so they become another footnote in the ongoing history of fake reality TV. As I wrote in Hippo Eats Dwarf: "As long as there’s been TV, there’s been reality TV. And as long as there’s been reality TV, producers have been faking the reality portion of it."

Thanks, Bob!
Categories: Entertainment
Posted by Alex on Wed Jun 24, 2009
Comments (2)
Here's a question the world needs answered: Did Robert Pattinson (star of Twilight) have makeup artists use liquid body paint to make it appear as if he had six-pack abs for a scene in the forthcoming New Moon? Well, that's the rumor.

Given that it was for a scene in a movie, I think it would be more surprising if makeup wasn't used. But for chiselled abs it's actually more important to be really skinny than to workout a lot. And the guy looks like he's genuinely skinny.
Categories: Body Manipulation, Celebrities, Entertainment
Posted by Alex on Wed Jun 24, 2009
Comments (5)
Posted by Peter in the forum:
TV station airs Lost as Air France crash footage
A BOLIVIAN television news channel has been left red-faced after falling for a hoax that saw it claim pictures from the hit TV show Lost were actually the last moment of Air France flight AF447 before it plunged into the ocean on June 1. Source

This confirms my theory that should a suitably dramatic picture of a major event not exist, one will be created. It's because our culture craves visual images. And hoaxers are always ready to supply what we crave.

For more examples of this phenomenon, see the gallery Imagining Disaster in the Hoax Photo Archive. In particular, the photos that circulated after the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, supposedly taken by an Israeli satellite, but really screen shots from the movie Armageddon.
Categories: Entertainment, Journalism
Posted by Alex on Tue Jun 23, 2009
Comments (1)
The highlight of Sunday night's MTV Movie Awards came when Sacha Baron Cohen, dressed up as Austrian fashion reporter Bruno, floated across the room on wires, but then somehow fell and landed face down in Eminem's lap (his butt in Eminem's face). Subsequently Eminem stormed out of the show.

The award show's head comedy writer, Scott Aukerman, is now admitting it was not a spontaneous mishap. The entire scene was choreographed and rehearsed. In fact, Paris Hilton had reportedly been Cohen's first choice of victim, but she declined to participate.

I can't imagine this revelation will surprise anyone. It would only have been a surprise if the stunt wasn't staged.
Categories: Entertainment
Posted by Alex on Tue Jun 02, 2009
Comments (8)
The authors of The Science of James Bond note that the movie Goldfinger has spawned two enduring urban legends: 1) That if you shoot out the window of a plane flying at 35,000 feet, the resulting depressurization will create enough force to suck a person through the hole. Not true! The authors say the airflow wouldn't even be enough to lift a person.

2) It is possible to suffocate by completely covering yourself in gold paint. Therefore, professional dancers who paint themselves know to leave a small bare patch of skin for air. Again, total myth. The authors state that the only danger of being covered with gold paint is "pores being clogged by the paint, causing overheating."

Link: Pasadena Star-News
Categories: Entertainment, Urban Legends
Posted by Alex on Tue Feb 03, 2009
Comments (8)
The site wonder-who.com claims to reveal that Megan Fox will be starring in a new Wonder Woman movie. The site looks professionally made. Someone obviously put some effort into it. But according to JoBlo.com, Warner Brothers has issued a denial, insisting that no such movie is planned.

So why did someone spend so much time creating the site? I have no idea. A really over-eager Megan Fox fan perhaps? Or maybe a studio was testing the response to the concept?

Links: pfunn.com, io9.com.
Categories: Celebrities, Entertainment, Websites
Posted by Alex on Thu Nov 06, 2008
Comments (7)
Ken Campbell recently died at the age of 66. The Telegraph's obituary describes him as "an actor, writer and director of wilful eccentricity" who worked in experimental theater. However, he was perhaps best known for a hoax he pulled off in 1980, when he sent around letters announcing that the Royal Shakespeare Company was renaming itself the Royal Dickens Company.

I couldn't find a good description of this hoax online (and, unfortunately, I've never gotten around to writing one up... so many hoaxes, so little time). So here's an account of the hoax from Nick Yapp's book Great Hoaxes of the World:

In 1980, Campbell went to the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of Nicholas Nickleby. A friend in the cast told him that Trevor Nunn, the producer of Nicholas Nickleby, had encouraged the cast at rehearsals to adopt the style of The Ken Campbell Road Show in their approach to parts of the play. Although Campbell sat in the front row, and enjoyed what he saw, the link with his own Road Show escaped him. After the performance, he went backstage where one of the cast had a bowl of fruit in his dressing room. Friends were invited to help themselves from this bowl, but there was a catch in the banana. If anyone touched it, it turned into a penis. Campbell says that it was this that in some way inspired him to create his hoax.

With the help of a couple of friends, Campbell had some headed writing paper printed, a perfect replica of the Royal Shakespeare Company notepaper, save for the replacement of 'Dickens' for 'Shakespeare', and 'RDC' for 'RSC'. He also discovered that Trevor Nunn signed his letters 'Love, Trev'. Campbell wrote dozens of individual letters to actors, writers, directors, producers, designers and composers, as well as to Sir Roy Shaw of the Arts Council. A typical letter read:

Dear X,
As you probably heard there has been a major policy change in our organization.
Nicholas Nickleby has been such a source of real joy to cast, staff and audience that we have decided to turn to Dickens as our main source of inspiration.
So that'll be it for the bard as soon as our present commitments decently permit.

There followed a suggestion for the next production: Sketches by Boz, Bleak House, or The Pickwick Papers. Each letter ended with an individually tailored invitation. For Lindsay Anderson, Campbell signed off with: 'Thinking of you brings The Old Curiosity Shop to mind. What a coup if you could bring Sir Ralph and Sir John together again in a script by David Storey. I feel your cool, intelligent approach is going to be badly needed in these new times.' Max Stafford Clark was offered Barnaby Rudge as a production: 'I find this a compelling piece which could be admirably served by your sparse, clear directorial style -- especially if the whole sweep of the book could be captured with the aid of no more than six chairs.' Norman St John Stevas, the Arts Minister, was told: 'The first production of the RDC is hoped to be Little Dorrit. Any thoughts you have on this will, as always, be treasured.' To accompany the letters and add punch to the campaign, the Aldwych Theatre was covered in RDC posters, in the style of the RSC, giving advance notice of the production of Little Dorrit.

The RSC production of Nicholas Nickleby was spread over two nights, and it was a few nights later that Campbell went to see the second half. He was told that the letter had not gone down well, and that Trevor Nunn had called in the Special Branch. There was no suspicion on Campbell, as Nunn believed it was an inside job. Newspaper reports of the hoax grandly exaggerated the affair, saying that 'thousands of sheets' of RDC notepaper had been printed, and that 'hundreds of letters' had been sent. Trevor Nunn was reported as saying: 'It is deeply embarrassing; a lot of people have written to me refusing, or, even more embarrassing, accepting the offers'.

Some months later, while Campbell was working at the Everyman Theatre, Liverpool, he was phoned by a researcher from the BBC TV programme Newsnight, who accused him of being the RDC hoaxer. Campbell denied it at first, and consulted with his accomplices, who offered him mixed advice. He decided to come clean, and was asked to appear on Newsnight. In the television studio, where he made his confession, he was horrified to see himself, on a monitor, lit like a terrorist, a sinister, dark figure in silhouette. But the affair blew over with no harm done and no recriminations.
Categories: Death, Entertainment, Literature/Language
Posted by Alex on Thu Sep 11, 2008
Comments (6)
Back in January 2008 Variety published a rumor, citing unnamed sources, that Britney Spears had agreed to play a killer lesbian stripper in Quentin Tarantino's next movie, a remake of Russ Meyer's 1965 film Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!.

Seven months later, there's no indication this rumor is true. For instance, there's no listing of such a project on IMDB.

Nevertheless, the rumor is circulating again. It was reported recently in The Telegraph and on popcrunch. It appears that the January rumor is simply being reported again, with no attempt to check the facts.

Taken together with the recent rumor that Spears was to star in a (nonexistent) movie titled The Knoxville Carjacking Party, it seems that there's a deep unmet desire out there to see Spears starring in a slasher movie.
Categories: Celebrities, Entertainment
Posted by Alex on Wed Aug 06, 2008
Comments (9)
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