Return of the Naked Stranger

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For some reason, there's a new edition of the notorious 1969 literary hoax, Naked Came the Stranger, a work that was admired as much for the shape of the ass on its cover as for anything else. Even so, Seattle Weekly's Tim Appelo uses the occasion for a rich look back at the spectacle.

The novels' credited author, "Penelope Ashe," was really a gang of Newsday journalists, led by writer Mike McGrady, who decided they could write best-selling crap as well as Jacqueline Susann. Each one of them wrote a different chapter; they then hired a woman who looked like Susann to pretend to be "Ashe." The book was a sensation, and sold even better when the hoax was revealed. Appelo points out that among the Naked Stranger's consequences was that Newsday's publisher, one Bill Moyers, lost his job.

Thanks to: ArtsJournal

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  1. hah! i remember bob greene (who was/is a journalism professor at hofstra) talking about this book…he had the best frickin’ stories.

    didn’t know about moyers though.

  2. Damn, why’d they have to fire him? He might still be there and the country might have been spared three decades of sanctimonious pabulum.

  3. Damn, why’d they have to fire him? He might still be there and the country might have been spared three decades of sanctimonious pabulum.

  4. Is it possible to fire him again? Sort of a “nostalgia firing”?

  5. When I see Moyers on that PBS show he has (or had, anyway) he reminds me of some old grandpa who got woke up early from his nap.

    Time to go back to sleep, grandpa.

  6. The cover was awesome, and the Suzanne-impersonator was really cute…but the chapters actually WEREN’T as funny as the Suzanne novels they were meant to parody.

  7. So when’s the lid gonna come off the “Danielle Steele” and “Harold Robbins” hoaxes?

  8. > a work that was admired as much for the shape of the ass on its cover…

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