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Hoax Messages Involving Celebrities



Various messages about Jane Fonda


Did actress Cindy Williams write an article about denying pay raises to military personnel?


Did a man named Russ Hamblin, a hard drinking friend of John Wayne's, give his life to Christ and write the song, "It Is No Secret?"


Did band leader Tommy Dorsey write the song "Precious Lord, Take My Hand?"


Are Lee Marvin, Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Rogers war heroes?


Did Denzel Washington "whip out his checkbook" and make a large donation to the Fisher House at Brooke Army Medical Center?


Are radio stations refusing to play a Diamond Rio song called "In God We Still Trust" because of religious or conservative content?


Is Bill Cosby planning on running for President and does he present his ideas in the article that follows?

bulwinkle star

A true celebrity!

Jane Fonda Allegations

Was Jane Fonda asked to leave a Montana restaurant?

This bit has been passed around the internet since 1996.

The supposed restaurant has had many names and sometimes no name.  Sir Scott's Oasis, Rocky Mountain Pasta Company, Land of Magic Steakhouse, Silver Dollar, Longhorn Bar & Grill are among the restaurants named.  Certainly it has all the red lights one would expect in a false tale.  It is told by an unnamed someone who heard it from a friend or relative.  The writer is not named nor is the person who supposedly witnessed the event named.  No dates are given. 

At one point, Snopes contacted every restaurant on this list.  None had any recollection of such an event.  Sir Scott's said that Fonda did indeed come in one time, but that there was a long wait and she left, no words, no confrontations.  Consider Fonda's own words in 1994 about such an event: "If you're ever in a situation where you're not getting served or you can't get what you need, just cry," she recommends. Fonda, who attended the Goodwill Games in Russia with her husband, Ted Turner, said she tried the crying game when an elevator operator in Moscow was too busy reading a letter to take her upstairs, and once again when she couldn't get served in a restaurant. Worked every time."

Was "Hanoi Jane" named Woman of the Year?

The "Hanoi Jane" message has been floating around since 1999 when this supposed "honor" occurred.  The "honor" came from the Ladies Home Journal for a TV show, April 30, 1999 which was hosted by Barbara Walters.  Wow.  Some honor! 

The Hanoi Jane message makes false statements about 2 POWs.  The problem with this message is not with the Fonda allegations (which are very true), but with supposed statements by ex-POW's that they never made. As you will see below, these POW's have asked that the message no longer be forwarded because of these claims.

I am in no way trying to underplay the serious nature of what happened when Jane Fonda and her then husband Tom Hayden went to North Vietnam. I do, however, believe that it is totally wrong and dishonorable to put lies into the mouths of the brave men who faced torture at the hands of the North Vietnamese. The information below is in their defense, not in defense of Fonda and Hayden. They really did go to N. Vietnam and really did call our POW's liars. That doesn't excuse the message's shortcomings.

The message claims that statements were made by Ret. Col. Larry Carrigan and former Air Force pilot Jerry Driscoll about how Fonda was involved in some of their torture. Both men have claimed that these allegations are not true and would very much like for these false allegations to stop. No one who claims to honor these veterans should continue to forward this message. Fonda once called our POW's liars - let's not make them out to be liars either.  Carrigan was shot down over North Vietnamese in 1967, but was never in a POW camp and says that he never met Fonda.  Driscoll has denied that this information came from him as well.

The third accuser is Michael Benge and he says the statements are true. He claims that his North Vietnamese captors wanted him to meet with Fonda and tell her how well the POW's were being treated. He agreed to meet with her, but told them that he would tell her the truth about their treatment. He was tortured for this and never met with Fonda.  He has also never accused Fonda of having any personal knowledge of his torture.

Fonda has apologized more than once for her past actions (most recently in April 2005). Some have said that her apologies were insincere. I don't know about that. I'm no judge of the intents of her heart. Many people do things they are later sorry for. Many people will never forgive.  Certainly I do not know whether or not she truly repented of her actions during that time.  My take is that Fonda simply adjusts herself to fit every man she's with.  She was a sex-kitten for Vadim, a liberal activist for Hayden, a workout guru on her own, a socialite for Turner and a low-key giver to the poor for Jesus. Unfortunately, none of those relationships lasted and the Jesus thing doesn't seem to have panned out very well, so she is rather personality-challenged at this moment.  Why keep this going when Fonda is nothing more than a has-been star with little or no influence any more?

Did actress Cindy Williams write a piece about denying raises to military personnel?

The Cindy Williams who wrote the article identified herself directly in the article as a Senior Research Fellow at MIT and a former Assistant Director for National Security in the Congressional Budget Office. The article that MIT Cindy Williams wrote was not necessarily anti-military, but was about what she believe to be the gap in the wages of military vs. civilians. Lest anyone mistake the reason for my writing about this, I fully disagreed with her premises. Comparing the jobs of people who put their lives on the line for this country with people who work in offices is like comparing apples and artichokes. They might both be somewhat round in shape, but that's all they have in common. The "young airman" who wrote the rebuttal, knowing full well he was not writing to the actress, is named Michael Bragg. His rebuttal to the actual issues brought up in the Williams article were well put. He sent his rebuttal directly to Ms. Williams and meant it for her eyes only. He told me that he made the unfortunate mistake of also sending a copy to his father and a few friends. The well-meaning friends sent it on. At some point, some doofus did not read the Williams article and decided that anyone by the name of Cindy Williams must be the actress. That version stuck. It upset Mr. Bragg greatly.

Very definite changes have been made to Mr. Bragg's original reply and he is also unhappy with that. In later versions there is a line that says, "But, tomorrow from KABUL, I will defend to the death your right to say it." At the time he wrote this, we were not even in Afghanistan. Bragg was not serving overseas. His actual words were, " To borrow from Voltaire, I will defend to the death your right to say it." The deliberate change was made after we entered Afghanistan to make the issue seem more current and to make it more upsetting.

Did Russ Hamblin, a former hard-drinking buddy of John Wayne's, give his life to Christ after a Billy Graham crusade and go on to write Christian songs?

I'm going to present the original message first, then take it apart.  Some parts are true, some are false.


Original Message:  

Back in the 50's there was a well known radio host/comedian/song writer in Hollywood named Russ Hamblin who was noted for his drinking, womanizing, partying, etc. One of his bigger hits at the time was "I won't go hunting with you Jake, but I'll go chasing women".

And along came a young preacher holding a tent revival. Hamblin had him on his radio show, presumably to poke fun at him. And to gather more material, Hamblin showed up at one of the revival meetings. Early in the service the preacher announced, "There is one man in this audience who is a big fake."

There were probably others who thought the same thing, but Hamblin was convinced that he was the one the preacher was talking about (some would call that conviction), but he was having none of that. Still the words continued to haunt him until a couple of nights later he showed up drunk at the preacher's hotel door around 2 am. Demanding that the preacher pray for him. But the preacher refused, saying, "This is between you and God and I'm not going to get in the middle of it." But he did invite Russ in and they talked about 5 am at which point Russ dropped to his knees and with tears, cried out to God.

But that is not the end of the story. Russ quit drinking, quit chasing, quit everything that was "fun". And began to lose favor with the Hollywood crowd. He was ultimately fired by the radio station when he refused to accept a beer company as a sponsor. Hard times were upon him. He tried writing a couple of "Christian" songs but the only one that had much success was "This Old House", written for his friend Rosemary Clooney.

As he continued to struggle, an old friend named John took him aside and told him all your troubles started when you "got religion" and asked if it was worth it all. Russ answered simply, "Yes". Then his friend said, "You liked your booze so much. Don't you ever miss it?" And the answer was, "No". John then said, "I don't understand how you could give it up so easily." And Russ's response was, "It's no big secret. All things are possible with God." To this John said, "That's a catchy phrase. You should write a song about it."

As they say, the rest is history. The song Russ wrote was "It Is No Secret" - "It is no secret, what God can do. What He's done for others, He'll do for you. With arms wide open, He'll welcome you. It is no secret, what God can do." etc.

By the way, the friend was John Wayne, and the young preacher who refused to pray for Russ Hamblin was Billy Graham. And now you know "the rest of the story."

(1) The man who wrote the song "It Is No Secret" is named Carl Stuart Hamblin, not Russ Hamblin.  Some newer versions give his correct name.

(2) Hamblin gave his life to Christ in 1949 after attending a Billy Graham meeting. He was never refused by Graham.  Here is Cliff Barrows recollection of what happened between Hamblin and Graham: Barrows went on to say, “What a delight to be back in Los Angeles again. I was recalling this morning with a group of people about Stuart Hamblin who was a legendary figure back in those days. He had a radio program and he invited us to come on the program and he talked about the crusade in a big tent. He said on the air, ‘Go on down and tell them that Stuart Hamblin sent you down.’ Well Bill [Billy Graham] came to be with us on the program one day and Stuart said the same thing, so Billy said, ‘Well, how about you coming Stuart?’ He stopped a moment and then said, ‘All right, I will.’

He came and we were praying for him. He had a Godly wife and Stuart really needed to know the Lord in a personal way. The upside was that he came and heard the message and he didn’t respond to the invitation then, but he went home and he couldn’t sleep that night and he came and met Mr. Graham at the hotel and gave his life to Christ. The news spread quickly and one day he was walking down Hollywood Boulevard with his friend John Wayne, and John Wayne said, ‘Stuart, what’s this I hear about you hitting the sawdust trail?’ Stuart replied, ‘Oh, that’s no secret John, what God has done for me. He can do it for you or anybody else.’ John then said, ‘That sounds like a song, Stuart. Why don’t you write one?’ So he went home and wrote, ‘It is no secret what God can do…” and Bev Shea has since sung it all around the world. That’s the joy that we’ve had.   (by Dan Wooding, Founder of Assist Ministries from ANS news article dated November 16, 2004).

(3) Hamblin did not make fun of Dr. Graham on the radio show (even prior to his conversion) but actually urged people to go to the meetings. The radio station and Hamblin actually wanted him on the program and he did indeed appear on the program prior to Hamblin's conversion.

(4) John Wayne was at least an acquaintance of Hamblin's from his hard-drinking B-western movie days (both of them). Neither man ever gave this account and no one knows where it started. It didn't start popping up until the late 90's.

(5) Hamblin had great success after "It Is No Secret." He wrote a number of well-received songs prior to "This Ole House."

(6) Hamblin DID (the one known truth in the message) take a stand against alcohol, which caused him to lose his radio program. Snopes reports the following:

lose his radio show, the Cowboy Church of the Air, over his refusal to do a commercial promoting alcohol, but his principled stand led the Prohibition Party to nominate him as their candidate for President of the United States in 1952. Hamblen racked up nearly 73,000 votes and finished fourth in a field of twelve candidates despite appearing on the ballot in only twenty-one states.


Some versions attribute the story to Paul Harvey. This is not true. The author was anonymous. As always, one should always be wary of anonymous articles and messages.

Did Band leader Tommy Dorsey write the song "Precious Lord, Take My Hand?"

The story is true, but it was not written by Tommy Dorsey, the white bandleader of the 40's (as most versions indicate).  It was written by Rev. Thomas Dorsey, a black gospel & blues song writer.

Thomas Dorsey - born 1899, died 1993   African-American, Christian    born in Villa Rica, GA  Spouse:  Nettie Harper

Tommy Dorsey - born 1905, died 1956     White, religious beliefs not in any bio,  born in Shennandoah, PA  Spouse:  Jane New

Are Lee Marvin, Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Rogers war heroes?

There is a grain of truth regarding Lee Marvin, but the rest of the message is completely false.


Lee Marvin received a Purple Heart for injuries sustained in the Battle for Saipan in 1944. He is buried at Arlington Cemetery. He was never at Iwo Jima. He and Bob Keeshan (Captain Kangaroo) never served together. Keeshan never even saw action. He enlisted near the end of the war, two weeks prior to his 18th birthday (he was born on June 27, 1927). Iwo Jima was over by then and we dropped the A bomb two months after he signed up


Fred Rogers was never in the armed forces at all (and therefore not a navy seal) and had no tattoos. He went straight from High School into college, earning a BA in music composition in 1951. He went straight into TV work . He later went to seminary and was ordained as a Presbyterian minister in 1963.


Both Keeshan and Rogers were indeed heroes though.  They served our nation's children for decades.  I spent many happy mornings of my childhood with Captain Kangaroo, Mr. Green Jeans, Dancing Bear, Mr. Moose and Bunny Rabbit. 

Did Denzel Washington "whip out his checkbook" and make a large donation to the Fisher House at Brooke Army Medical Center?

The email claims not only claims that Washington made this donation, but that there was no media coverage of this patriotic moment.

Brooke Army Medical Center is housed at Fort Sam Houston Army Base in San Antonio, TX.  As a native San Antonian, this is a familiar place to me.  The Fisher House is one of two low-cost motels within walking distance of the hospital especially for family members of service members in treatment at the hospital. 

In December 2004, Washington visited BAMC by invitation and participated in a ceremony in which he presented 3 Purple Hearts.  He was informed that there was a need to expand the facility and offered to make a sizeable donation towards the expansion, which he did later, not on the spot. 

As to the media ignoring it, the San Antonio Express and News was right on the spot.  However, Washington, unlike many of today's celebrities who only do good with publicity entourage in tow, did not invite the press.  The local paper was alerted and promptly took some photos. 

One other allegation made in some versions of the message claims that Denzel had a son in Iraq, but that wasn't true. One son was only a teenager at the time of the write-up and the other was on the practice squad for the LA Rams football team.

Washington is known for his generosity and for his patriotism.

Radio Stations won't play a Diamond Rio song called "In God We Still Trust"

There isn't any truth to this email.  Diamond Rio songs are generally played on Country stations, which also play many conservative and somewhat religiously themed songs all the time.  My guess is that someone started this after requesting that it played and it never was.  Most commercial stations have a rotating list of songs that are to be played every hour.  Even on satellite radio certain pieces are played everyday.  The last place I worked my boss liked to listen to spa music and when given the opportunity, I chose light jazz.  There was a pretty regular line-up throughout the week. 


This particular song simply wasn't released as a single for top 40 airplay.  Diamond Rio has never stated that anything like this has ever happened.  No one passing this along could point to a single station with such a policy.

Is Bill Cosby planning on running for President and does he present his ideas in the article that follows?

No.  Cosby has said that he has no plans to run for any office.  The email piece started circulating in 2008 and the Cosby for President part was added later.  No one knows who wrote the article, which is slightly humorous.




(1) Press 1 for English is immediately banned. English is the official language; speak it or wait at the border until you can.

(2) We will immediately go into a two year isolationist posture to straighten out the country's attitude. NO imports, no exports. We will use the 'Walmart' policy, 'If we ain't got it, you don't need it.'

(3) When imports are allowed, there will be a 100% import tax on it.

(4) All retired military personnel will be required to man one of our many observation towers on the southern border. (six month tour) They will be under strict orders not to fire on SOUTHBOUND aliens.

(5) Social security will immediately return to its original state. If you didn't put nuttin in, you ain't gettin nuttin out. The president nor any other politician will not be able to touch it.

(6) Welfare - Checks will be handed out on Fridays at the end of the 40 hour school week and the successful completion of urinalysis and a passing grade.

(7) Professional Athletes --Steroids - The FIRST time you check positive you're banned for life.

(8) Crime - We will adopt the Turkish method, the first time you steal, you lose your right hand. There is no more life sentences. If convicted, you will be put to death by the same method you chose for your victim; gun, knife, strangulation, etc.

(9) One export will be allowed; Wheat, The world needs to eat. A bushel of wheat will be the exact price of a barrel of oil.

(10) All foreign aid using American taxpayer money will immediately cease, and the saved money will pay off the national debt and ultimately lower taxes. When disasters occur around the world, we'll ask the American people if they want to donate to a disaster fund, and each citizen can make the decision whether it's a worthy cause.

(11) The Pledge of Allegiance will be said every day at school and every day in Congress.

(12) The National Anthem will be played at all appropriate ceremonies, sporting events, outings, etc.

Sorry if I stepped on anyone's toes but a vote for me will get you better than what you have, and better than what you're gonna get. Thanks for listening, and remember to write in my name on the ballot in November.

God Bless America !!!!!!!!!!!

Bill Cosby


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