From Hoaxes to Homicidal Clowns

I’m a big fan of hoaxes, conspiracy theories, urban legends and other such intriguing mysteries. Combine them into a top ten list and I’m all over it. Toptenz.com is a great source to find some far out compilations. This recent post from August 6

“Top 10 Hoaxes of All Time” Posted by Evan Andrews includes:
10. The Howard Hughes Autobiography – A great story, making Clifford Irving a little famous until Hughes called him out on this story and relationship to him – namely that there never was any. The hoaxer Irving and his accomplice eventually spent some time in prison for the stunt, which remains one of the biggest literary hoaxes of all time.
9. Idaho’s Name – that’s right, the state and the potato
8. The Hitler Diaries
hitler444-349x300“The Hitler diaries were a collection of documents penned by master forger Konrad Kujau and passed off as the personal journals of Adolf Hitler. The scammers claimed that after being recovered from the wreckage of a plane that crashed in Germany in 1945, the diaries were  smuggled out of East Germany by a man known as “Dr. Fischer.”  They were eventually bought for 10 million German marks by the magazine Stern, which published extracts from them in one of its issues in 1983. But the extreme amount of secrecy required to keep the story exclusive meant that historians and handwriting experts weren’t able to properly examine the diaries to confirm their authenticity, and it was only after the article was published that they were revealed to be fakes. The ensuing scandal resulted in several of the magazine’s editors resigning, and Kujau and the journalist he was working with both spent time in prison.
7. Paul is Dead- the supposed death and cover up of Paul McCartney in the ’60s

GreatHoax
6. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion
5. The Turk

The Automated Chess Machine of the 1770s

The Turk - an Automated Chess Player of the 1770s

The Turk was a fake “automaton chess player” from the 1770s that gained fame in the courts of Europe and was exhibited around the world for more than 80 years.
4. The Niger Uranium Forgeries – Makes the big list since it allowed a reason for the start of the Iraq war.
3. Piltdown Man – An assembly of parts to make a new whole
2. The Cardiff Giant – a 10′ Giant Fake
1. The War of The Worlds Radio Show – if you’ve never heard a rebroadcast of the original, it is sometimes played around Hallowe’en.

War of the Worlds makes front page News

War of the Worlds makes front page News

“In what is remembered as the most famous hoax in entertainment history, a 1938 radio play version of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds is said to have caused mass hysteria and panic among its listeners. The show aired on Halloween and was directed and narrated by Orson Welles, who would later make the classic film Citizen Kane. It was presented in the form of a special news bulletin and interrupted a weather report, leading many to believe that the story’s description of a Martian invasion of Earth was actually happening. It is estimated that some six million people heard the broadcast, and it is said that police stations were overrun with distress calls. In one small town in Washington, the broadcast coincided with a freak citywide power failure, leading many of the town’s residents to arm themselves with guns and flee into the mountains. The media backlash from the broadcast was huge, and CBS radio, which aired the program, went on to promise never to try a similar stunt again. The whole incident did succeed in jump-starting Orson Welles’ career, and it has been said that when Pearl Harbor was attacked three years later, many people initially thought the news reports to be yet another radio prank like the War of the Worlds hoax.”

The post can be found in it’s entirety here

The Ultimate Joker Article

This article by Achilles on Retrojunk plots the development of the Joker from his comic debut in the ’40s, his evolution through the ’50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and turn of the century in comic books, television and films. He transforms from the clown thief to psychopathic murderer. He changes from thin scarecrow to gritty and grungy wild eyed killer.

The Joker first appeared in 1940’s Batman #1, by Bob Kane and Bill Finger…

The Joker from the 40s

The Joker from the 40s

His look was inspired by 1928’s movie “The Man Who Laughs”

joker_veidt

“Originally, Joker was intended to be killed in the very same issue but the idea was dropped. The editor Ellsworth knew it’s too good of a villain to kill him off.
Joker remained unchanged since his creation. Permanent white skin, emerald green hair, red lips, pointy eyebrows, purple eyeshadow and purple gangster suit with stripes and hat. He was a surreal twist on a middle aged cliche 1940’s gangster.”

The ’50s show an expansion of the Joker’s gadgets – his utility belt, squirting lapel, Jokermobile – all with the practical joke edge to them.

Everything the Utility Belt can hold

Everything the Utility Belt can hold

Jokermobile

Jokermobile

jokerorigin1

Jack Nicholson as Tim Burton's Joker

Jack Nicholson as Tim Burton's Joker

By early 21 century, the franchise seems finished after “Batman and Robin” but in 2005 Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies inject new life into the films. This time we see Batman universe being our universe, and the genre is now a crime action drama.

Heath Ledger's Portrayal

Heath Ledger's Portrayal

I thoroughly recommend reading the article in it’s entirety here

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Published in: on August 10, 2009 at 8:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
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