Hoax Museum Blog: Entertainment

Watching Paint Dry — UKTV has come up with the ultimate reality TV show: Watching Paint Dry. As the name suggests, viewers get to watch the thrilling spectacle of paint drying, broadcast live, 24 hours a day. And viewers can vote for their favorite paints: Matt, Gloss, Silk, Satin, etc. UKTV notes that, "Every other reality show is full of boring drips so we thought that we would go one step further." Is this real? Well, sort of. UKTV feels watching paint dry is "too boring" for TV, so it's only going to be broadcast on the internet. (via J-Walk)
Posted: Wed Jun 02, 2004.   Comments (1)

Is David Hasselhoff Making a Rap Album? — Sky News has been reporting that Rapper Ice-T has decided to produce a new rap album by his LA neighbor, David Hasselhoff (of Baywatch fame). The article quotes Ice-T as saying, "He's gonna come out as Hassle the Hoff... The Hoff will surprise people with his rap skills and humour." When I read this article I got really scared, because I figured that if such a thing were to happen, it would definitely be a sign that the end was near. But thankfully it appears to be a hoax. On his website, Hasselhoff denies the reports that he's making a rap album. Thank God for that.
Posted: Fri May 28, 2004.   Comments (1)

The Knee Trumpet — image Musicians will appreciate this. It's a little known instrument, popular back in the Middle Ages, known as the Tromba Da Gamba, or Knee Trumpet. According to Virgilanti (who managed to acquire one of these rare instruments): "It was gaining a lot in popularity by the start of the 17th century but encountered a bit of a PR problem in 1619 when, according to the story, the pope (presumably Pope Paul V) saw the instrument being played by a woman. He was shocked at the suggestiveness of the performance and made his displeasure very apparent. It wasn't long before most of the upper class throughout Europe regarded the instrument as crude and vulgar." (Thanks, Virge)
Posted: Tue May 18, 2004.   Comments (2)

American Idol Scandal — To be honest, the whole American Idol thing has completely passed me by. I've never watched a single episode of it (though I have spent some time listening to William Hung... I don't know why). But it didn't surprise me to read that American Idol's voting system is essentially a sham, highly vulnerable to manipulation by gamblers.
Posted: Mon May 17, 2004.   Comments (2)


What Badgers Eat — image In case you were confused, here's what you need to know about what badgers eat. According to Jeff, who sent me the link, the site derives from an episode of The Simpsons (one that I haven't seen). I guess you could also figure out the Simpsons connection from the logo at the bottom of the screen.
Posted: Sun May 16, 2004.   Comments (4)

Lady Heather — image Lady Heather is a professional dominatrix, and this is her website. When she says 'My command is your wish,' you know she means it. Actually, she's a recurring character on CSI, which is one of my favorite shows though I haven't had a chance to see it in a while. Unfortunately you can only view her site for about two seconds before you're automatically redirected to the main site for CSI. Which is a pity. I think they should develop Lady Heather's Box a little more. (Thanks, Jeff)
Posted: Fri May 14, 2004.   Comments (2)

Allied Chemical — image Allied Chemical (motto: "It's a better world through chemicals") is the maker of fine food products such as Farmer Fred's Happydale Ham Spread, Farmer Fred's Happydale Ham Spread Loaf, and Farmer Fred's Happydale Ham Squeezy Spread. Oh, and they also make products for the military, but those are top secret. Definitely check out their mouth-watering recipes such as Farmer Fred's Pigriffic Pasta. Actually, Allied Chemical seems to be the faux front page for a music download service that represents independent artists.
Posted: Fri May 14, 2004.   Comments ()

Quarantine — What would you be willing to do for a brief shot at fame? Would you embarrass yourself on national TV? Of course, who wouldn't nowadays. But would you lock yourself in a lab and allow yourself to be exposed to all manner of infectious diseases? That sounds a bit dodgy, but this was the premise of the new reality TV show, Quarantine, recently advertised in the Daily Mirror. Remarkably, hundreds of people applied to be on it, and the applications are still rolling in. Thankfully the whole thing was a hoax, an experiment "to discover just how far people will go in their pursuit of fame." (Thanks, 'Ed the doc').
Posted: Tue May 11, 2004.   Comments (1)

The Truth About Loch Ness — image Greg Atkins (or someone calling themselves Greg Atkins) has created a website, truthaboutlochness.com, in order to expose an incident he claims occurred on the loch during filming of Werner Herzog's upcoming movie, The Enigma of Loch Ness. He says that one of the production company's boats was rammed by something in the water (could it have been Nessie!!!), resulting in the death of two of the crew. All this has been hushed up, of course, which is why there were no news reports of these deaths. He also has video footage on his site of a large creature moving beneath the surface of the loch. Cynics are speculating that his site is simply yet another hoax website created by a movie studio in order to create buzz about Herzog's film, in the same vein as the Blair Witch Project. Probably is. But I have a softspot for Nessie (I'm rooting for her to be real), so in this case I'm happy to play along with the site, even if there are some obviously hoaxy things about it.
Posted: Mon May 10, 2004.   Comments ()

Stephen Hawking is on the Mic — You may know Stephen Hawking as the brilliant theoretical physicist and best-selling author of A Brief History of Time. But did you also know that in his spare time the man is a gangsta rapper? Perhaps you're familiar with his album, A Brief History of Rhyme. Hawking's other career as a 'lyrical terrorist' is lovingly explored on this fan site, MC Hawking's Crib. Yeah, it's a hoax, but it's amazingly detailed, even including MP3 samples of Hawking's songs. (And thanks to Bill Boldt for gently pointing out to me my initial misspelling of 'Mic').
Posted: Thu Apr 29, 2004.   Comments (3)

Afterlife Publicity — As Gawker reports, a great 'take-this-job-and-shove-it' email has been making the rounds recently. It's penned by Bob Rubenstein, a publicist for a record label, who lost his job soon after the lead singer of the band he was supposed to promote, Pre)Thing, died of a heart attack. Bob, embittered for being fired, dishes some dirt on the company he was canned from, revealing how they brought in a psychic to talk with the departed spirit of the singer to see if he'd be willing to do any interviews with music journalists, via the psychic, from beyond the grave. But it turns out there's more to this story than Gawker realized. Rolling Stone reveals that the Bob Rubenstein email is actually a hoax created as an ingenious viral marketing campaign in order to get the word out about Pre)Thing, since their lead singer really did die recently and therefore really can't do publicity. (via BoingBoing)
Posted: Tue Apr 27, 2004.   Comments ()

Katz, Cohen & Phelps — image Are you a woman who needs a really good divorce lawyer? Then check out the law firm of Katz, Cohen & Phelps where their motto is "Is he cheating? Let's nail him." Actually, that's not really a law firm. It's just another fake website used to promote an upcoming movie, in this case The Laws of Attraction starring Julianne Moore and Pierce Brosnan. In this case, it's a really half-hearted attempt at a fake website. I mean, that's obviously Julianne Moore posing on the website, and they stuck a movie rating on at the bottom of it. Still, it continues the trend of using fake websites to promote movies.
Posted: Mon Apr 26, 2004.   Comments ()

Petition to Stop the Godsend Institute — I talked about the Godsend Institute (the website of a cloning lab that's really a promo for an upcoming movie of the same name) a few days ago. I said that I really didn't think the site was that convincing. But maybe others have been fooled by it because someone started an online petition to ban the Godsend Institute. Of course, I'm not above suspecting that the petition was started by the movie studio itself as a way to generate faux controversy. This was a favorite ploy of P.T. Barnum. Back in 1835 he was exhibiting Joice Heth, an elderly black woman whom he claimed was the 161-year-old former nurse of George Washington. When attendance at the exhibit began to decrease, he sent an anonymous letter to a local paper angrily declaring that Heth was a fake, a "curiously constructed automaton, made up of whalebone, India-rubber, and numberless springs." Sure enough, attendance immediately picked up again as visitors returned to see if Heth really was an old woman or a mechanical automaton.
Posted: Sun Apr 18, 2004.   Comments (1)

Godsend Institute, and other movie sites — image A few people have written to me about the Godsend Institute, which is supposedly a Massachusetts fertility clinic that offers human cloning as an option for its patients. Its website is quite slick and well produced, but the Godsend Institute is, of course, not real. The site is part of the advertising campaign for the upcoming movie Godsend starring Robert De Niro. Wired published an article about this yesterday. Ever since the Blair Witch Project succeeded in creating such a buzz five years ago with its companion website, movie studios have sought to repeat this trick by creating sites that try to convince websurfers that their fictional characters or companies are real. The site for the upcoming I, Robot, starring Will Smith, is a recent example. As is Lacuna, Inc., which is a fictitious company featured in The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I would say the strategy is wearing a bit thin now because a) the sites usually aren't that believable (for instance, you can kind of recognize Robert De Niro on the Godsend Institute site, which blows the whole cover), and b) they're not that interesting even if you do believe they're real. They give surfers little to do or explore. The Blair Witch site worked not only because it suggested the witch was real, but also because it gave people lots of interesting background material on her to browse through. One recent studio-created site that did understand this was Kingdom Hospital (from the ABC miniseries). It didn't simply try to convince you that Kingdom Hospital was real. Creepy things also started to happen as you navigated around the site, which made it fun to explore.
Posted: Thu Apr 15, 2004.   Comments (2)

Reality TV is Rigged — Keith Hollihan lives downstairs from an apartment that was featured on an episode of The Apprentice. The show's contestants were challenged by Trump to renovate and rent the apartment (as well as other ones throughout the city) for the highest price possible. Hollihan writes about how after the show was done, he got to know the new renter and discovered from her that the rental price she had agreed to on tv was a sham. It was far higher than the price she actually paid. In other words, the outcome of that episode was rigged. And if that episode was rigged, one can assume that other episodes of The Apprentice are also rigged. In which case, are Survivor and all the other Reality TV shows also faked?
Posted: Wed Apr 14, 2004.   Comments (6)

New Zealand Rapper MC Emu — On the Fighting Talk weblog journalism student Patrick Crewdson gives an example of how hoaxes can make the leap from being fiction into becoming fact. He once edited a journal called Critic that published a joke article about "New Zealand's least-known musician": rapper MC Emu. Of course, MC Emu was fictitious, but now references to this rapper have begun to appear in serious histories of New Zealand music... references that seem to credit MC Emu with being a real character.
Posted: Tue Apr 13, 2004.   Comments (1)

Actor Wanted, Preferably Dead — A British theater group is auditioning actors for a part in its next production. But there's one catch. They're only interested in people who can promise that they'll die before the play begins its run. Your body, if you get the part, will then lie lifeless on stage. Evidently it's not a speaking role. It's hard not to suspect that this is all a big publicity stunt and that when the time comes there will be no body on stage. Wouldn't you need a license for something like that? It reminds me of Hell on Earth's Suicide Stunt from last September.
Posted: Thu Mar 25, 2004.   Comments ()

The X-Files of Music — image Did you know that David Duchovny released a record of trashy love songs with titles such as "Alien to Your Arms," "You Must Be From Venus," and "X-File of Love"? Or that Herman Melville wrote a novel called "Symmes' Hole" that was lost for decades but has been recently rediscovered and is now available as an audiobook read by David Byrne of the Talking Heads? I certainly didn't. So I was surprised to discover these rare CDs (and others) discussed at the Entropic Empire. Now I've decided that these rare CDs are all fake, but I only concluded that after spending fifteen fruitless minutes searching for that rediscovered Herman Melville book on Amazon.com. Why would someone make this stuff up, I kept thinking. The attention to detail is certainly impressive.
Posted: Thu Mar 18, 2004.   Comments ()

Kingdom Hospital — image Kingdom Hospital. It's the 'Hospital that brings out the best in you.' From its website you would think that it's a real hospital, until you start poking around it a bit. Then it gets creepy. It's a tie-in, of course, with ABC's Kingdom Hospital miniseries. But it's pretty well done. (submitted by Brian Flynn).
Posted: Wed Mar 10, 2004.   Comments (3)

David Manning Update — In 2001 Sony Pictures got caught promoting its movies by using glowing quotations from a non-existent movie critic named David Manning to hype them. When the non-existence of Manning was pointed out, Sony pulled the ads, but to this day it has maintained its right to have printed the quotations, claiming they were protected as free speech. Yesterday Los Angeles Justice Reuben Ortega disallowed that defense. His remarks were notable: [if the case against Sony succeeds] "no longer will people be seen lurching like mindless zombies toward the movie theatre, compelled by a puff piece. What a noble and overwhelming undertaking."
Posted: Wed Mar 03, 2004.   Comments ()

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