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Filmmaker Jenny Abel explores the life and career of her father Alan Abel, known to many as "the world's greatest hoaxer."


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Credited cast:
Alan Abel ...
Jeanne Abel ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jenny Abel ...
Narrator (voice)
Richard M. Dixon ...
Himself (as Richard Nixon) (archive footage)
Phil Donohue ...
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (as G. Clifford Prout) (archive footage)
Paul Hiatt ...
Herself (archive footage)
Tom Snyder ...
Himself (archive footage)


Filmmaker Jenny Abel explores the life and career of her father Alan Abel, known to many as "the world's greatest hoaxer."

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23 January 2005 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


Alan Abel: You can poke holes in the ozone layer, but God forbid you poke holes in someone's psyche, and get them upset. That's a no-no.
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Features The Faking of the President (1976) See more »

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User Reviews

It's nice to know that there are folks out there weirder than my dad!
24 June 2012 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

This film is about a famous hoaxter--a guy who loves to be in the limelight and make the media buy into patently ridiculous stories. Interestingly, the film was created by the man's daughter and it's a portrait of his life and exploits. I was surprised when I first started watching this documentary. Although Jenny Abel was talking about her father, so much of what she said sounded a lot like my dad. Her father, Alan Abel, is a provocateur--a man who LOVES antagonizing people and pulling their legs. And, on MANY occasion, he's created very elaborate hoaxes that got him or his confederates on TV as supposedly real news stories. Such crazy stuff as campaigns that were anti-breast feeding, anti-naked animals, KKK orchestra (for a kinder, gentler Klan), selling kidney for $25,000, Females for Felons (i.e., prostitutes for prisoners) as well as pretending to have the missing 18 minutes of Nixon tapes! Yet all these and many more were swallowed with little question by the media! My father, to a smaller extent, also liked doing things like this--and I grew up assisting him in fake invasions from outer space and the like! And, like Abel, my father certainly never got rich doing any of this--he just liked the pleasure of shocking and fooling people as well as occasionally showing up in the news. And, like Abel, worked freelance jobs for years and was one jump ahead of various creditors. Now I am not comparing my father to Abel--he wasn't THAT good at carrying out national hoaxes, though he did make a habit of messing with folks' minds--something I did, in my own inimitable fashion, when I was teaching (it's AMAZING what kids will believe). And so, it's no surprised that I loved this documentary! And, unless you have no sense of humor, you, too, will have a great time watching about this wacky guy.

By the way, this film reminds me of web hoaxes like "People Against Poodles" or "Black Market Babies". These sites had to be taken down because of the outcry by idiots who THOUGHT they were real. What was most amusing weren't the crazy claims they made but real letters sent in by people who believed it! The vitriol and time spend writing these letters about FAKE websites was pretty funny.

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