The Hoaxes of Alan Abel
During the early 1950s, Alan Abel headed to New York City, hoping to establish himself as a comedian. Unfortunately, he had little luck getting work, so he had to take a desk job at the American Automobile Association. Bored to tears, he soon found himself playing pranks on unsuspecting customers by giving them bizarre driving instructions.
It was around this time that he began to realize he was more suited to a career as a full-time prankster than anything else. Still frustrated from trying to break into comedy by traditional routes, he also realized that hoaxing offered a great way to take matters into his own hands and gain media exposure that was otherwise being denied to him. His big breakthrough was the "Society for Indecency to Naked Animals" hoax in 1959 that launched him onto his career as a hoaxer.
By the mid-1970s he had become a well-known public figure, and he continued to practice his brand of irreverent humor during the following decades. Ideas for new hoaxes seemed to flow continually from his brain. He even managed to establish himself as something of a professional hoaxer by appearing for a fee at business conventions. He would pretend to be a serious speaker whose presentation would gradually grow stranger and stranger.
His stunts succeeded in amusing many and angering others, but they almost always commanded attention.
All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.