Alan Abel

Alan Abel. Source: Wikimedia


This, from the Times obituary, should brighten up your day:

In the late 1950s Alan Abel, a young jazz drummer, was driving through Texas and found the highway blocked by a copulating bull and cow. The horrified expressions on the faces of other motorists gave him an idea. He founded the spoof Society for Indecency to Naked Animals (Sina), which campaigned to “clothe all naked animals that appear in public, namely horses, cows, dogs and cats, including any animal that stands higher than four inches or is longer than six inches”.

Abel hired an actor friend to play Sina’s earnest, bespectacled president, G Clifford Prout. He invented slogans — “A nude horse is a rude horse” and “Decency today means morality tomorrow”. He air-dropped clothes into a field of cows, added shorts to the Greyhound bus logo, and staged a demonstration outside the White House to urge Jacqueline Kennedy to cover her horse’s private parts.

The hoax — a satirical take on the moral censoriousness of the times — succeeded beyond his wildest expectations. The media was totally hoodwinked.

It gets better. But the finish is, I believe, unique:

Alan Abel, hoaxer, was born on August 2, 1924, and really did die, after a heart attack, on September 14, 2018, aged 94.

The whole thing is here (behind a paywall). The Wikipedia version is here.

I have never heard of Abel before reading the obituary. Sounds like he was one of those guys that gives power to the saying ‘nowt so queer as folk.’ But I do like how often he took the media for a ride.

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