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Scam I just read a new twist on an old trick. This time they are using a Mystery Shopper ploy. Here is how they go: You receive a check in the mail, often times a cashier's check that looks very real. It is always made out for a large amount, they tell you to cash it and send the difference back to them. The problem is the check will bounce, you will be liable for the money and penalties and you just mailed real money to the crooks. In this case they are send out $4,000 checks, telling you to spend $600 on start up expenses and a few test purchases. When you fill out the paperwork on this test you are to send them the $3,400 to them to see if you qualify as a mystery shopper.
Tags: Scam  alert  Mystery  Shopper  Bogus  Check 
Added: 26th March 2009
Views: 945
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Posted By: Steve
Swiss spaghetti harvest hoax As an April Fools joke in 1957, the respected BBC program Panorama broadcast this bogus news feature about the springtime spaghetti harvest...in Switzerland. Many people were duped by the prank and contacted the BBC to request more information about spaghetti farming.
Tags: spaghetti  harvest  hoax 
Added: 1st October 2007
Views: 5136
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Posted By: Lava1964
Fatty Arbuckle Scandal 1921 One of the most tragic figures in movie history was Roscoe (Fatty) Arbuckle. A onetime cabaret singer, Arbuckle was among the most popular actors in silent comedies from 1914 to 1921. Starting as an extra at Keystone Studios, the surprisingly nimble Arbuckle quickly graduated to starring roles in the studio's slapstick comedy films where he was noted for his terrific accuracy in throwing pies and other missiles. Later, like Charlie Chaplin, Arbuckle matured as a performer, adding brilliantly subtle aspects to his comedy routines. A box-office favorite, he was making a seven-figure salary at Paramount Pictures in 1921. Midway through that year Arbuckle was so popular that he was put to work on three feature comedy films simultaneously! Shortly after completing them, Arbuckle's career abruptly ended in scandal. He was accused of sexually assaulting small-time actress Virginia Rappe at a party he was hosting in a suite at the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco on Labor Day 1921. Rappe died four days later in a maternity hosptal of peritonitis from a ruptured bladder, presumably caused by the 266-pound Arbuckle forcing himself on her. (There was also an apocryphal story of Rappe being raped with a champagne or cola bottle. How this slanderous story started is anyone's guess.) Rappe had become violently ill and irrational at the party. Arbuckle and several partygoers tried to succor Rappe and eventually moved her to another hotel room where she was examined by three different doctors over the next three days. A postmortem on Rappe's body found no signs of sexual assault whatsoever. In all likelihood Rappe death's was due to medical negligence or malpractice. Moreover, Rappe was hardly the virginal victim that the popular press and D.A.'s office portrayed her to be. The mistress of director Henry Lehrman, Rappe had had at least four abortions by the time she was 16, she had an out-of-wedlock child that she had abandoned, and she was afflicted with gonorrhea. In the summer of 1921 the 26-year-old Rappe, who hadn't had an acting job in two years, recently underwent another illegal abortion. Rappe was also suffering from a chronic illness that was exacerbated by her taste for poor-quality Prohibition booze. The accusations against Arbuckle were based solely on a malicious complaint fabricated by party attendee Maude Delmont, a known extortionist who claimed to be a "lifelong friend" of Rappe's--but had only known Rappe for two days prior to the Labor Day party. Arbuckle was astounded when a horde of reporters descended upon his Hollywood mansion to tell him he was being investigated for rape and possible murder charges in Rappe's death. Beginning in late September, Arbuckle was tried three times for rape and manslaughter in the space of seven months. He spent $700,000 on legal fees to beat the bogus charges. The prosecution's case was absurdly weak and should have been dropped. In fact, complainant Delmont was never called as a witness because her wild story of Arbuckle assaulting Rappe for an hour did not jibe with the physical evidence nor the timeline of events at the party. Nevertheless, the San Francisco D.A.'s office doggedly pursued the charges against Arbuckle because of intense pressure by reformers and moralists. The first two trials resulted in hung juries. At the first trial, Arbuckle fared terrifically when he eagerly took the stand to defend himself. It ended with the jury voting 10-2 in favor of acquittal. One stubborn holdout was a militant feminist so determined to convict Arbuckle that she refused to read any portions of the trial's transcript or listen to other jurors' opinions--to the point of childishly putting her hands over her ears! The second trial, in which Arbuckle's legal team badly advised him not to bother to take the stand because his innocence was obvious, was surprisingly 9-3 in favor of conviction! At the third trial, in April 1922, Arbuckle wisely took the stand. The jury deliberated for a mere six minutes before returning with a not guilty verdict that was loudly cheered by the gallery. Furthermore, the jury also insisted a formal apology to Arbuckle be read into the trials' official transcript. Film historians generally believe Arbuckle was totally innocent of any wrongdoing and was the victim of malicious prosecution. Nevertheless, his acting career abruptly ended because newly appointed Hollywood censorship czar Will Hays banned distributors from showing any Arbuckle comedies despite being acquitted! Although filmdom was deprived of a master comic's work, Arbuckle stayed in movies by directing films under an assumed name. He was just beginning to make an acting comeback--with six two-reel comedie--when died of heart failure in 1933 at age 46. According to Arbuckle biographer David A. Yallop, in an era when Hollywood stars routinely engaged in all sorts of debauchery, Roscoe, ironically, "was probably the most chaste man in Hollywood."
Tags: Roscoe  Fatty  Arbuckle  scandal  1921 
Added: 16th November 2007
Views: 2059
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Posted By: Lava1964
Martian Invasion Panic - 1938 On Sunday, October 30, 1938, a young Orson Welles and his Mercury Theatre On The Air presented their version of H.G. Wells' 1895 science fiction novel 'War of the Worlds' as a radio drama on CBS. About two-thirds of the 55-minute broadcast comprised of faux news bulletins. They began with accounts of a supposed meteorite landing in a New Jersey township which turned out to be a Martian spacecraft. The aliens then began a reign of terror across New Jersey and into New York City, killing everyone with heat rays and poison gas. The show was given an air of authenticity by using interviews with various fictitious officials and a bogus Princeton astronomy professor who speculated on the Martians' strength and motives for invasion. Although the broadcast featured no fewer than four instances when it was declared to be a radio drama, many people did not hear these disclaimers. Civil authorities were inundated by telephone calls. Panic was especially high in some parts of Washington state where a power outage coincidentally occurred just after the part of the broadcast where the Martians began their destructive rampage. It is estimated that six million Americans heard at least a portion of the broadcast, and about 1.7 million of them thought it was real. Still, most radio listeners that night were oblivious to the so-called 'panic.' Welles' broadcast ran opposite the hugely popular Edgar Bergen program on NBC.
Tags: Martians  radio  Orson  Welles 
Added: 22nd October 2009
Views: 1485
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Posted By: Lava1964
The Crucified Soldier One enduring controversy about the First World War is a grisly tale of a Canadian soldier who was allegedly found crucified to a wall of a barn in Belgium. The unsettling incident is said to have happened following the terrible Second Battle of Ypres in April 1915 where the Germans first used poison gas. Rumors abounded that the enraged Canadians were not too interested in capturing German prisoners. According to the story, the Germans retaliated by crucifying a random Canadian prisoner. According to reports form three Canadian soldiers, they witnessed a comrade, Sgt. Harry Band, impaled on a wall by five German bayonets. The tale, which spread quickly around the world through newspaper stories, was dismissed by many people as wartime propaganda. Depicting this event is this 32-inch bronze scultpure titled Canada's Golgotha. It was removed from a post-war art exhibit after formal complaints by the Germans who insisted the story was bogus. As late as 1989 the sculpture was hidden from public view. In 2002, a war researcher uncovered letters from supposed witnesses to the event that were written to Band's sister. These letters attest that the awful story was true. Band's body was never recovered. He is still listed among the missing in action.
Tags: First  World  War  crucified  soldier 
Added: 25th October 2009
Views: 2394
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Posted By: Lava1964
College Football Hoax 1941 In the autumn of 1941 many football fans began following the exploits of Plainfield (NJ) Teachers College. Too bad the school and its football team didn't really exist. It was an elaborate hoax that fooled hundreds of newspapers--even the New York Times' sports department--and thousands of college football fans. Stockbroker Morris Newburger and radio announcer Alexander (Bink) Dannenbaum concocted the idea of a mythical college football team. Using the name 'Jerry Croyden,' Newburger telephoned the New York City newspapers while Dannenbaum phoned the Philadelphia papers with fantastic stories of Plainfield's lopsided victories over nonexistent schools. With the newspapers printing Plainfield's scores week after week without question, Newburger and Dannenbaum got bolder. They began writing creative press releases about the new football powerhouse. One release praised Plainfield's star runningback, a 'full-blooded Chinese-American' sophomore named Johnny (The Celestial Comet) Chung. Chung's amazing abilities on the gridiron were credited to the handfuls of wild rice he ate during huddles. The Teachers' offense operated out of an innovative 'W' formation in which all the linemen but the center faced backwards. Colorful Hopalong Hobelitz was named as Plainfield's coach. Six weeks of spectacular Plainfield victories raised speculation that the team might secure a bid to a coveted bowl game. Curious journalist Red Smith of the Philadelphia Record journeyed to Plainfield to find the college. Of course, there wasn't one. Their fraud exposed, Newburger and Dannenbaum confessed--but only after Jerry Croyden issued one final bogus press release. It announced Plainfield was forfeiting its remaining games because Chung and several other players were declared academically ineligible after flunking their exams.
Tags: Plainfield  Teachers  College  football  hoax 
Added: 12th November 2009
Views: 3087
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Posted By: Lava1964
Talking to Americans Rick Mercer is a Canadian television personality. One of his most popular shticks is similar to Jay Leno's "Jaywalking" routine. Mercer interviews Americans about obviously bogus current events in Canada to see how they react. They usually have no idea that their ignorance about their neighbors to the north is being highlighted. Here's a brief compilation from the early 2000s.
Tags: Rick  Mercer  Talking  to  Americans  ignorance 
Added: 1st January 2014
Views: 584
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Posted By: Lava1964
Kazakh National Anthem Gaffe At an international shooting competition in Kuwait in March 2012, a major error in protocol occurred: During the medal ceremony, the gold medal winner from Kazakhstan was serenaded on the podium with the bogus Kazakh anthem from the 2006 satirical film Borat rather than her country's true national anthem. Maria Dmitrienko remained calm while listening to lyrics from the made-up song that insults other countries and touts Kazakhstan's "clean prostitutes." The movie portrays Kazakhs as backward and degenerates. Nevertheless, Dmitrienko left the stage smiling, possibly realizing what had happened. Kazakhstan's shooting team understandably demanded an apology. Ilyas Omarov of Kazakhstan's foreign ministry called the error "a scandal" and promised to undertake an investigation. The event's organizers apparently downloaded the wrong song from the Internet--and also got the Serbian anthem wrong too. This isn't the first time Kazakhstan's national anthem was messed up. At a ski event in northern Kazakhstan earlier that same month, a bit of "Livin' La Vida Loca" by Ricky Martin was played briefly in error before the true anthem played.
Tags: protocol  error  Kazakh  anthem  Borat 
Added: 27th July 2012
Views: 1126
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Posted By: Lava1964
Elusive Andy Griffith Show Character - Mr. Schwump The Andy Griffith Show has some of the most fanatically devoted watchers of any sitcom in history. Despite their zeal, no one has been able to positively identify the actor who played 'Mr. Schwump' in at least 26 episodes from 1964 through 1968. Actually, fans of the show can't even agree on the character's name. The late Everett Greenbaum, who wrote many of the scripts, claimed the character was actually written as 'Mr. Schwamp,' but it seemed to be pronounced as 'Schwump' whenever he was acknowledged. Whatever the case, Mr. Schwump was the classic background character: He can be seen in crowd shots at Mayberry's social gatherings, at public meetings, at private parties, at church services, sitting on a public bench, as a customer in stores, etc. He never once uttered a single line in any episode nor was he given any screen credit. He is only noteworthy at all because in several episodes Andy Taylor passes by him and says, "Hello, Mr. Schwump." It is generally acknowledged that he appears to be about 60 years old and wears a hairpiece. Efforts by zealous fans to find out who the actor was have proven fruitless. On April 1, 2012 an elaborate post was made on the Facebook page of The Andy Griffith Show Rerun Watchers Club declaring that researchers had determined Mr. Schwump was an actor named Patch S. Wimmers originally from Camp Threw, MS. Although it was supposed to be an obvious April Fools Day prank, many die-hard fans did not realize the information was bogus and still accept the Patch S. Wimmers story as gospel. None of the surviving cast members ever remembers learning Mr. Schwump's real name. One theory claims the mysterious actor was a friend of Andy Griffith and his occasional appearances in the show were an inside joke. Mr. Schwump's true identity remains unknown.
Tags: Mr  Schwump  Andy  Griffith  Show  sitcom 
Added: 4th March 2015
Views: 3528
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Posted By: Lava1964
First Name of Lt Columbo During the long run that Peter Falk's beloved Columbo detective mysteries had on both NBC and ABC, Lt. Columbo's name was supposedly never revealed. In one episode, Columbo is asked if he has a first name. The detective coyly replied, "Only my wife uses it." However, Columbo's name was revealed in two NBC episodes via quick glances at his LAPD ID. In both Dead Weight and A Matter of Honor, Columbo's ID is shown onscreen just long enough for eagle-eyed viewers to see that it his first name is Frank. However, many trivia buffs wrongly believe Columbo's first name was Phillip. Why? Despite having zero evidence to back up his assertion, Fred L. Worth, the author of a trivia book, wrote that Columbo's first name was Phillip. This factoid was seized upon by the creators of Trivia Pursuit--and it appeared as a question in the first edition of the game. Worth attempted to sue the Trivial Pursuit people for copyright violation, but facts--even bogus ones--are not protected by copyright.
Tags: Columbo  first  name  Frank 
Added: 25th November 2017
Views: 73
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Posted By: Lava1964

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