Before Stephen Colbert, there was Alan Abel. Abel Raises Cain is the story of America’s most notorious media prankster Alan Abel and his wife, Jeanne, told through the viewpoint of their daughter, Jenny. This award-winning, unflinchingly intimate, compelling and humorous portrait of the master of deadpan will screen on Friday, Mar. 15, at 2:15 and 7:15 p.m. in the Taylor Little Theatre at Mercyhurst University.
The filmmakers Jenny Abel and Jeff Hockett will be present after the 7:15 p.m. screening – along with some special guests you won’t want to miss. The film is an offering of the On Screen/In Person Series sponsored by the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation.
As one of his most famous pranks, Abel founded the Society for Indecency to Naked Animals in the 1960s, a zany cause that lured even Walter Cronkite, the most trusted newsman in America. Their motto was, "A Nude Horse is a Rude Horse." A silly idea that caught like wildfire, news of the phony organization landed the front pages of newspapers across America.
Realizing the power of satire, Abel soon carved a niche for himself by rousing the public and poking fun at the media with other zany causes that were just believable enough to be true. For 50 years, he wreaked havoc on the world stage with such hoaxes as a Professional School for Panhandlers, Females For Felons, the KKK Symphony Orchestra, Running a Jewish Grandmother for President and Euthanasia Boat Cruises – among countless others.
"Long before Borat hauled his mustachioed mischief across the Western Hemisphere, Alan Abel was giving interviews in the guise of ridiculous characters and whipping the world into an outraged lather,” writes The Seattle Stranger. “Narrated and co-directed by his daughter Jenny, Abel Raises Cain is a sweet film... a loving portrait of an eccentric father."
For further information about Alan Abel and the documentary, visit abelraisescain.com. Tickets are $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and students, $4 for President’s Cardholders and free for Mercyhurst students with ID. Tickets can be purchased by calling 814-824-3000 or by visiting miac.mercyhurst.edu.