Friday, March 05, 2010

Your Mental Sorbet: Streaker at the 46th Annual Academy Awards

Here is another "Mental Sorbet" that we could use to momentarily forget about those things that leave a bad taste in our mouths.

Perhaps the most widely-seen streaker in history was 34-year-old Robert Opel, who streaked across the stage flashing the peace sign on national US television at the 46th Academy Awards in 1974. Recovering quickly, the bemused host David Niven quipped, "Isn't it fascinating to think that probably the only laugh that man will ever get in his life is by stripping off and showing his shortcomings?" Later, some evidence arose suggesting that Opel's appearance was facilitated as a stunt by the show's producer Jack Haley, Jr. Robert Metzler, the show's business manager, believed that the incident had been planned in some way; during the dress rehearsal Niven had asked Metzler's wife to borrow a pen so he could write down the famous ad-lib. Niven's brush with the streaker was voted the top Oscars moment by film fans in 2001. Ironically, Opel's run across the stage occurred with Niven mostly between him and the camera, so nothing below the waist was visible to the TV audience. The first one or two frames of Opel's appearance do provide a blurred view of Opel's genitalia, but since they appeared at the very edges of the image they were probably never seen by viewers due to the overscan common in TV sets at the time.

Stay Tuned

Tony Figueroa
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