Saturday, April 01, 2006

The Devil and/in Miss Jones Prank

It’s the biggest stunt I was ever in on. The Devil and/in Miss Jones Prank went over so well, sometimes it’s hard to believe it really happened in Richmond, Virginia. “...To Stop Worrying and Love Getting Bombed” is a section of a work-in-progress to document the times of the Biograph Theatre. For April Fools Day here’s my story of a one-of-a-kind hoax -- performance art? -- that made headlines coast-to-coast in 1974:

“...The next day a press conference was staged in the Biograph lobby to make an announcement. Every news-gathering outfit in town bought the premise and sent a representative. They acted as if what was obviously a publicity stunt was actually 24-carat news because it served their purpose to play along. After Dave DeWitt -- who represented the theater as its ad agent -- introduced yours truly to the working press, a prepared statement was read for the cameras and microphones. The gist of it was that based on the demand, the crusading Biograph would fight the TRO in court and The Devil in Miss Jones was being held over for a second week. During the lively Q & A session that followed, when Dave scolded an eager scribe for going too far with a follow-up question, it was tough to hold back the laughing fit that would have surely broken the spell.”
Photo: SLANT

1 comment:

tvnewsbadge said...

That's not the way I remember it.
I recall either the Biograph or the Lee Art down the street got busted for showing "Miss Jones" and got even by putting a full page ad in the papers claiming they were going to show "Beaver Valley", uncut and uncensored.. a film of nature gone wild... the next night.
Sure as shootin, the vice squad showed up with half the Richmond Police Force. The screen went dark and up pops "Beaver Vally" as promised. It truly was "nature gone wild", as produced by....pause.... Walt Disney.