I remember the first time I ever saw laser beams shoot from my dad’s eyes. It had something to do with admission, either a movie or the PNE or the like. He paid for my older sister and then looking down at me said, “He’s only seven.”
I hadn’t grown up for so long to be cheated of it in front of a stranger!
“Nah, Dad! I’m EIGHT!” was the proclaimation. Cue laser beams. Either my father didn’t know how old I was (punishable by spouses and highly unlikely) or he was trying to screw $5 out of wherever it was we were trying to get into (punishable by law and extremely likely).
So my dad lied to one zit-faced ticket taker over wanting to save $5? No one called the Air Force. Paramedics, police, and fire departments weren’t mobilized. No one shut down Vancouver International Airport. He was trying to sucker one person until my bout with honesty stymied him. A lie is a lie but I think Balloon Boy’s pop has my dad hands down on this one.
Richard Heene wanted a reality show.
After all the mess that these shows have created, no one in their right mind would want one; therefore, it must be someone else’s fault. To this end, I have compiled a list of likely suspects.
John Langley – creator and producer of “COPS.”
On March 11, 1989 (six years minus a day after Buckwheat was killed on live TV by publicity hunter, John David Stutts), “COPS” hit the air. It was decided that people who are drunk, high, and/or stupid we’re much better at acting drunk, high, and/or stupid than actors were and you didn’t need a script or actors. Imagine how much it would cost a producer in today’s market to pay Lindsay Lohan and Brittney Spears to do the stuff they did for free outside nightclubs.
Kato and Ken and the Tokyo Broadcasting System
In the mid-80s, the Tokyo Broadcasting System had a hit with “Fun TV with Kato-chan and Ken-chan.” This show included a segment which asked for Japanese families to send in funny home videos. American producer, Vin Di Bona, saw it and liked it and WHAMMO… America’s Funniest Home Videos. Some of the more adept of you may have wondered why, during the first couple seasons, an inordinate amount of American families sending in their home videos appeared to Japanese.
It should be noted that both these series were developed during the Writers Guild[s] of America (East and West) strike which lasted between March 7 and August 7, 1988. It was the longest strike on record and producers were getting nervous.
Allen Funt – creator of “Candid Microphone” then “Candid Camera.”
At 7:30pm on June 28, 1947, “Candid Microphone” hit the airwaves via ABC Radio. August 10, 1948, “Candid Camera” hits TV for the first time and the rest is, as they say, history.
It should also be noted that I’m not sure Funt can be blamed here. Firstly, both of his shows had writers (Woody Allen was one) so they effectively weren’t Reality TV. Secondly, people didn’t know they were on TV so they couldn’t ham it up for the cameras.
In 1997, the UK production company, Planet 24, produced a show called, “Expedition Robinson” for Swedish TV. The show featured a group of “castaways” being marooned and then voting each other off one at a time. Mark Burnett paid for the idea and in May, 2000, “Survivor: Borneo” hit the air.
Finally, I blame Nancy Grace. She just can’t help herself. She gives the John David Stutz treatment to everyone and can’t figure out why people with no discernable talent or prospects want to be on TV so bad. As for Nancy, she’s had her hand slapped twice by the Supreme Court of Georgia for Prosecutorial Misconduct and once by the panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals for the same thing.
She claims it was the murder of her college fiancee that led her to law school and victim advocacy. She makes these claims in the book [she had the nerve to title], Objection! – How High-Priced Defense Attorneys, Celebrity Defendants, and 24/7 Media Have Hijacked Our Legal System (emphasis mine). A reporter from the New York Observer compared her telling of the story to the police reports and found that her version was wrong on several points, points that seemed to pad her credentials as victim advocate: the murder wasn’t random, the killer did confess the night of the murder, and the killer did not appeal the conviction. Also, according the other New York newspapers, entire sections of her book are plagiarized, word for word, from a New York Times article by Sabra Chartrand. My favourite Nancy Grace fun-fact is that she has two kids with her husband David Linch (not the director) and, therefore, actually has a “Linch mob.”
Okay, so the spelling of “lynch” is wrong, but all things considered, I’m allowed one cheap shot.
Is Richard Heene a bad parent? I am going with “Yes” on this one. In the end, I guess he did get his reality show. He just never got paid for it and might lose his family before any episode is even shot. And THAT, is why he is such a lousy parent: he wagered the well being of his family for fame and lost them all.