Thursday, February 24, 2011


Click here for a podcast of today's DeltaTalk Radio show (February 24, 2011)


It's Oscar time this Sunday -- and in honor of the Academy Awards and this year's bumper crop of amazing pictures, we invited some of Mississippi's most talented production gurus to be on the show. We also talked a little business, too. Featured in today's DeltaTalk show are (in order of appearance):

Tommy Green
Community Development Foundation 
The Community Development Foundation's newest Vice President (Chamber of Commerce). In a short telephone interview, we talked to Tommy about the success of this year's "Business to Business Connection" at the BancorpSouth Arena.

Daniel Odom 
DBO Animation 
Daniel -- who lives and works in Starkville, Mississippi -- is a premier animator. He uses high end software to do the kind of corporate animation work being done in much larger cities. His work rivals that of animators anywhere, including New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

Pat Rasberry
Tupelo Film Commission
Pat's the head of the Tupelo Film Commission, the key organizer behind the Tupelo Film Festival in mid-May this year. She knows every key filmmaker and agency in the state, and then some! No one's working harder to build the film community in North Mississippi than Pat Rasberry. She is perhaps the best "connector" there is, connecting people, projects, and resources (and recognition for them all).

Ward Emling
Director, Mississippi Film Office 
An accomplished actor (Ward's appeared in such series as St. Elsewhere, Knot's Landing, Matlock, Matt Houston, and in many feature films), he's shepherded film projects in Mississippi since 1990. Since returning to the Mississippi Film Office in 1990, Ward has guided the in-state productions of THE GUN IN BETTY LOU'S HANDBAG, THE ADVENTURES OF HUCK FINN, SISTER ISLAND, A TIME TO KILL, THE CHAMBER, GHOSTS OF MISSISSIPPI, MY DOG SKIP, COOKIE'S FORTUNE, RED DIRT, THE RISING PLACE, O BROTHER WHERE ART THOU?, JOHN JOHN IN THE SKY, THE PONDER HEART, BIG BAD LOVE, WALK THE LINE, and BALLAST, in addition to several short films, documentaries, and commercials.

Anne Palmer
Owner/Producer, PalmTree Productions 
Perhaps Tupelo's most accomplished -- if not prolific -- producer. She's worked with Toyota, Coke, Atmos Energy, The Community Development Foundation, Tupelo Public School District, and many more companies and institutions. Anne says she "wears a lot of hats. I'm the bookkeeper, videographer, editor and plumber!" Sixteen years of working in the corporate world has helped her bring a lot to the table for her clients. "More and more, customers come to me to create a video-and we end up talking about sales strategies and the many ways that their video can be packaged to reach a target market-whether that's on a thumb drive, DVD, Blu-ray, web video or any number of other formats. The digital age we live in is so exciting. The tools are available to us-we are only limited by our imaginations!"

James Hull
Multimedia Consultant 
A writer at heart, James Hull is another of Mississippi's most accomplished media professionals. A graduate of Ole Miss, he's worked in virtually all forms of media for 30-plus years -- an award-winning writer, political consultant, producer/director, media relations professional, and communications advisor.

Thursday, February 17, 2011



So how do you start off a radio show with the perhaps the most famous American media hoaxers of all time as your exclusive guest? Why, with a HOAX of course! We welcomed "Irwin Leba," the creator of a new plan to replace our Federal income tax with an "apparently" popular system that instead determines your tax rate based on your weight; the more you weigh, the more you pay.

Well, of course there is no such plan. And there's no Irwin Leba, either. Our guest was in fact famed--and prolific--media mischief-maker Alan Abel, who came to our studio with his daughter. the man responsible for irking the likes of Tom Brokaw, Walter Cronkite, and hundreds of others network and local TV newspeople with stories like "Citizens Against Breastfeeding" and the "Society for Indecency to Naked Animals" (SINA). the producer of Abel Raises Cain, a hugely compelling documentary about her father's hijinks. That documentary was screened in Tupelo as part of South Arts' "Indie Film Series" (click here for more info).

Our interview could have gone on for at least another hour, to say the least. Between our two guests, we were completely "en-Abel'ed," armed with enough stories and questions to fill at least TWO shows. But alas, we were confined to only 25 minutes in this segment. But it was a lively 25 minute, that's for sure!

Enjoy the podcast, and by the way, here's what Wikipedia has to say about Alan Abel, the media prankster:


From Wikipedia...
Alan Abel (born 1930) is an American prankster, hoaxter, writer, mockumentary filmmaker, and jazz percussionist famous for several hoaxes that became media circuses.
Education and early career 
Abel graduated from Ohio State University with a B.S. in Education. One of Abel's earliest pranks took place in the late 1950s. Abel posed as a golf pro who taught Westinghouse executives how to use ballet positions to improve their game.

Beginning May 27, 1959 with a story on the Today Show, the Society for Indecency to Naked Animals (SINA), was Abel's most elaborate hoax. SINA's mission was to clothe naked animals throughout the world. They are best known today for their tagline: "A nude horse is a rude horse". As spokesman for the group, Buck Henry appeared on television and radio several times, including the CBS Evening News on August 21, 1962. The hoax began as a satire of media censorship but took on a life of its own with sympathizers offering unsolicited contributions (always returned), citizen summonses for walking naked dogs, and sewing patterns for pet clothes.

From 1966 to 1967 Abel wrote a weekly syndicated humor column "The Private World of Prof. Bunker C. Hill" that appeared in the San Francisco Examiner and several other newspapers.
Following the Watergate scandal, Abel hired an actor to pose as Deep Throat for a press conference in New York City before 150 reporters. Literary agent Scott Meredith offered $100,000 to buy the rights to his story. At the news conference the Deep Throat impostor quarreled with his purported wife, then fainted and was whisked away in a waiting ambulance.

In the early 70s, Abel appeared on the gameshow To Tell the Truth with his head wrapped in bandages, as it turned out not so much that he would not be recognized, but so the panel would not identify his two imposters -- Larry Blyden and Tom Poston.

Abel wrote, produced, and directed two mockumentaries – Is There Sex After Death? (1971) and The Faking of the President (1976).

In 1979 Abel staged his own death from a heart attack near the Sundance Ski Lodge. A fake funeral director collected his belongings and a woman posing as his widow notified the New York Times. The Times published an obituary January 2, 1980[1] (a rare example of a premature obituary). On January 3, 1980, Abel held a news conference to announce that the "reports of my demise have been grossly exaggerated".

Omar's School for Beggars was a fictional school for professional panhandlers. As Omar, Abel was invited to numerous television talk shows including the Tomorrow Show hosted by Tom Snyder, as well as Morton Downey, Jr., Sally Jessy Raphael, Mike Douglas and Sonya Friedman, who was especially upset because Omar ate his lunch on camera. The hoax was a satirical commentary on the rise of unemployment and homelessness in America. Omar's TV appearances spanned the period from 1975 to 1988, even though he had been exposed several times.
Live from New York 
Abel was behind one of the most talked-about incidents in The Phil Donahue Show's history - on January 21, 1985, soon after the show's well-publicized move of its operations from Chicago to WNBC New York.

On that day's program, seven members of the audience appeared to faint during the broadcast, which was seen live in New York. Donahue feared the fainting was caused by both anxiety at being on television and an overheated studio on a morning that was cold and snowy outside. He eventually cleared the studio of audience members and then resumed the show.

It turned out the fainting "spell" was cooked up by Abel in what he said was a protest against poor-quality television.
In 1993, when euthanasia and Jack Kevorkian were common topics in the news, Abel set up the bogus Florida company "Euthanasia Cruises, Ltd." which would offer cruises allowing suicidal participants to jump into the ocean after three days of partying. He revived this hoax in a column in 2006.

In 1997 Abel launched a new venture, CGS Productions, to promote gift-wrapped pint jars of Jenny McCarthy's urine. (A parody of McCarthy's role in a shoe commercial where she appeared sitting on a toilet.) The name of the communications director for CGS Productions was Stoidi Puekaw – "Wake up idiots" backwards.

Abel once ran for Congress on a platform that included paying congressmen based on commission; selling ambassadorships to the highest bidder; installing a lie detector in the White House and truth serum in the Senate drinking fountain; requiring all doctors to publish their medical school grade point average in the telephone book after their names and removing Wednesday to establish a 4-day workweek.
Not quite retired 
At the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, Abel introduced a campaign to ban all breastfeeding because "it is an incestuous relationship between mother and baby that manifests an oral addiction leading youngsters to smoke, drink and even becoming a homosexual." After two hundred interviews over two years, Abel confessed the hoax in U.S. News & World Report.
In 2004, his daughter Jenny Abel along with Jeff Hockett made a documentary film of Abel's life called Abel Raises Cain, which played at the Boston Independent Film Festival and the 2005 Slamdance Film Festival where it won first prize for Best Documentary. It has been released on DVD, and is also on Hulu.