Believe Lennon jacket ad, or let it be
By AMANDA CUDA
Article Last Updated: 01/29/2008 12:41:10 AM EST
Nestled in the "Lost & Found" column, next to ads about lost pets, was the item: "FOUND: John Lennon's Denim jacket & Personal Diary & other items in downtown Bridgeport."
Clearly, this wasn't your typical classified ad in the Connecticut Post, where it has appeared over the past few days. It was provocative and mysterious and, well, completely false.
Unfortunately, no memorabilia belonging to the late ex-Beatle has surfaced in the city. The ad is the work of Los Angeles-based prankster Rory Emerald, and is one of about 40 false ads he has placed over the past few years. His escapades have been written about in media outlets around the country, making him something of a cult figure. But Emerald said his goal has less to do with attaining notoriety and more to do with entertaining others.
"I do it because it makes people happy," Emerald said of his "hobby." "It makes people laugh."
Born Julian Lee Hobbs, Emerald changed his name in the early 1980s. He's been running bogus ads off and on for several years.
He's placed classifieds touting the discovery of an "adorably unique two-headed kitten" and H.G. Wells' time machine. He put an ad in a Lubbock, Texas, paper claiming to have found a gold cigarette case and lighter belonging to first lady Laura Bush.
He pinpointed Connecticut as the site of his latest goof for several reasons. First, he's never done a prank here. Second, since Lennon used to live in nearby New York City, it was at least plausible that Lennon had traveled to Connecticut.
"I figured that was someplace John Lennon had been," Emerald said. "It just seemed like the right place."
It was even more plausible than Emerald knew, as Bridgeport's Main Street was once the site of a recording studio used by several prominent artists.
Given the believability of his invention, Emerald said, he's gotten many calls inquiring about the Lennon items. "What really made it intriguing wasn't the denim jacket," Emerald said. "It was the diary."
When Emerald told them it was a prank, most callers were good sports. In fact, many weren't surprised by the revelation.
"A lot of people know it's a prank," he said.
Emerald declined to provide details about how he placed the ad, stating that he didn't want to give away any tricks of the trade to aspiring pranksters. However, Shirnet Kelly, who works in the Post's classified department and took the ad request, said she received a call from a woman claiming her daughter had found the items. Like everyone else, Kelly said her curiosity was piqued by the ad.
"I asked her if her daughter read the diary," Kelly said. "She said no — she wasn't interested."