Sunday, January 31, 2010

And then you have the FAKE child stars

There was the case of an old man who appeared on 20/20 or some such show claiming that he played Buckwheat in the old Little Rascals movies. Now he was reduced to working as an elderly bag boy in a grocery store.

Of course it was a lie. Buckwheat worked as a technician at Technicolor and had died a few years earlier.

There have been others. Old timers who usually claim to have played a non-existent character named Stinky in the Little Rascals.


There was little Phillip Paley. I remember seeing him on The Flip Wilson Show. He was a little martial artist. He got a black belt at age 9 at Chuck Norris's karate school. He flipped Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show and beat up Flip Wilson.

I remember being angry about that. It was fake! He didn't really beat up Flip Wilson! He was the youngest person to have a black belt in karate, and he was slightly younger than me, which meant that I would never be the youngest person to hold a black belt in karate. The fact that I didn't study karate was beside the point.

Paley went on to play Cha-ka on Land of the Lost. He spent hours being made up, was on a set sweating all day in the ape suit.

Imagine his chagrin years later when someone called Rodney Sheppard, part of some sort of "band" called Sugar Ray falsely claimed over a number of years to have played Cha-ka. This became part of his official biography. Phillip Paley was aware of it and finally did something about when it appeared in an issue of People magazine.

Paley's lawyers sent a letter and the "musicians" put out a statement announcing that it turned out that Sheppard hadn't played Cha-ka after all.

Kenneth Anger

You can't expect complete honesty from a devil worshipper, I suppose, but Kenneth Anger, the underground filmmaker claimed for years to have played the changeling prince in the old movie, A Midsummer Night's Dream.

I don't know if Anger was in the thing at all. They list him as an extra in But the changeling prince was played by a girl named Sheila Brown.

I can't find the reference to it now, but Anger claimed that there was as accident during the filming and the costumes of of the children playing fairies caught fire which explained his life of sado-masochism.

Is it really so wrong?

I guess it's impossible now, with But if you could claim to have been a child star in a movie that never existed, would it be so terrible? Isn't show business all fake anyway? Aren't you just getting into the spirit of it?

Is it any worse than Steven Spielberg telling that stupid story about how he sneaked into a movie studio and the studio executives were so impressed them gave him a job? It was all a lie, disproven years ago. Just like his claim to have been a victim of anti-Semitism in high school. He used that story when people questioned his qualification to direct The Color Purple. Reporters went to his school expecting to do a story on how Spielberg was persecuted and instead discovered it was a lie. Which makes me doubt the rather implausible story he told after making Schindler's List---that an old timer used his concentration camp tattoo to show him that if you turn a 6 upside down, it looks like a nine.

So why should Hollywood bigwigs be the only ones allowed to lie?

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