Thursday, April 30th, 2015...10:00 am

Feel a librarian today

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This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.


Before Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert there was a man named Alan Abel.  Actor, writer, filmmaker, comedian, jazz musician and professional prankster these are all the many faces of Abel.  For the past half-century Abel has been pranking the media and the world and it all began in 1951 with S.I.N.A.  The Society for Indecency to Naked Animals had an important mission- to clothe all animals for the sake of modesty.  SINA-1It began as a tounge-in-cheek commentary on censorship in America, but the media went crazy for S.I.N.A. which many took seriously and this is when Abel realized that with little evidence and a straight face he could convince people of this absurd idea.

Thus began a long career of creating hoaxes some small and many much more elaborate.  There was the time that Abel faked his own death and had his obituary published in the New York Times.  The story that was published said that he had a heart attack while skiing in Utah scouting locations for a movie called Who’s Going to Bite Your Neck, Dear, When All of My Teeth are Gone?  Another hoax involved Jenny McCarthy who in 1997 had a controversial ad for Candies featuring her sitting on a toilet.  JENNYMCCARTHY-1

Soon after Stoidi Puekaw decided to market “Jenny’s Pint O’Pee” claiming there were 500,000 cases of her urine ready to be shipped from Mexico.  Her lawyers quickly claimed trademark infringement and when Abel revealed the joke he pointed out his pseudonym read backwards spelled Wake Up Idiots!

 The Button Book was a joint project between Abel and his wife Jeanne with the illustrations by Cynthia Lansing York.  IMG_0003The pages display potential buttons that the reader is encouraged to enjoy on the page or even cut out of the book to wear as real buttons.  As the Abel’s point out they are also extremely useful to conceal a hole in a sweater or perhaps use as a monocle.  The pages of buttons seem to veer between political commentary, satire, puns, and double entendres.


The button book by Alan and Jeanne Abel. Illus. by Cynthia Lansing York. New York, Citadel Press [1967]. PN6162.A22 1967 can be found in Widener’s collection.


Thanks to Alison Harris, Santo Domingo Project Manager, for contributing this post.

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