Crash Pulled From Theaters Following Real-Life Car Crash

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Vol 31 Issue 15

Viewer Outraged

SHREVEPORT, LA—Longtime television viewer Abraham Frank, 78, expressed outrage Tuesday over a Married With Children episode in which a swimsuit beauty pageant featured many scantily clad young ladies, many with oiled skin. "I am outraged," Frank said. "I did not care for that program one bit." In the past, Frank has been outraged by televised displays of violence, interracial romance and the use of the word "booty."

Unpopular High-Schoolers Downplay Significance Of Prom

DOVER, DE—With Dover Central High School's May 11 prom fast approaching, unpopular seniors Kenneth Edmonds, 17, and James Montauk, 18, are actively downplaying the significance of the dance. "I feel sorry for those kids who have to dress up in those monkey suits all night," said Edmonds, a top-notch science student who plans to attend Cornell University in the fall. "They won't have any idea how dumb they look." Montauk, who dismissed the event as "stupid and lame," plans to spend prom night participating in an on-line Duke Nukem 3D tournament.

Major League Baseball To Retire All Black Players

NEW YORK—In honor of Brooklyn Dodgers legend Jackie Robinson, who broke baseball's color barrier 50 years ago last week, Major League Baseball officials announced Monday the retirement of all black players, effective immediately. "Jackie Robinson was a true pioneer and an extraordinary human being," said acting commissioner of baseball Bud Selig in a formal ceremony. "Today, we honor his memory in the greatest way possible—by making sure that no other athlete ever occupies his role as a professional black baseball player." Among the players retired Monday in Robinson's honor: Ken Griffey Jr., Barry Bonds and Frank Thomas. NHL officials said they would do the same.

My Night In Hunk Heaven

How's this for a triple threat: It's Monday, I have a yeast infection, and it's my birthday. (Fortunately, I've learned how to halt the aging process--I stopped counting at 29!)

Horoscope for the week of April 23, 1997

You will be attacked by knife-wielding maniacs who will stab you 27 times, but take heart—a simple mixture of salt and lemon juice should get the stains out of your clothes.

Why Didn't Anyone Tell Me Jerry Garcia Was Dead?

Whoa, dude, shit. This is heavy. This is so... God, I don't know. Let me tell you, man. I was sitting down with all these people on the sidewalk in front of Beads 'N' More Beads one day last year, just playing the guitar and making bracelets, and everybody was talking about Jerry Garcia.

Is The President Above The Law?

Last week, President Clinton's Whitewater business partner was sentenced to three years in prison, while the president avoided standing trial. Days later, Attorney General Janet Reno announced she would not order an investigation of Clinton's questionable 1996 election fund-raising. Should presidents in some cases be exempt from prosecution?

Curse You, Rogue Highwayman!

For the past week the Zweibel Estate has been transformed into a vast fortress. The servants have been busy boarding up the windows, digging trenches and sandbagging the grounds. Why, you ask? A rogue highwayman rides loose in the county, robbing wealthy landowners and distributing the ill-gotten gains to the destitute peasantry. Bring me the head of Black Scarlet, bandit and fiend!

C-SPAN Courts Viewers With 'Mr. Slotnik,' Congress' Cantankerous Landlord

WASHINGTON, DC—Citing lackluster ratings in an increasingly competitive cable market, C-SPAN announced Monday that it will beef up the cast of characters on its daily congressional broadcasts with "Mr. Slotnik," a gruff but lovable landlord who owns the Capitol Building where sessions of Congress take place.
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Just Like Everything Else!: Fox 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. ABC Pete's wife is still on him about building that darn shed, these kids are going to be the death of Sheila and Dave, and the hot next-door neighbor is up in EVERYBODY'S business! Sunday nights on ABC couldn't be any more familiar!

Special Coverage

Comfort

  • Child Visiting Ellis Island Sees Where Grandparents Once Toured

    ELLIS ISLAND, NY—Pausing to imagine the throngs of people who must have arrived with them that day back in 1994, 12-year-old Max Bertrand reportedly spent his visit to Ellis Island this afternoon walking around the same immigrant station his grandparents once toured.

Fun

  • Night Out Consecrated With Opening Exchange Of High-Fives

    CHARLOTTE, NC—Kicking off the evening with their customary expression of excitement and camaraderie, a group of friends reportedly consecrated their night out on the town Friday with a ceremonial opening exchange of high-fives.

Crash Pulled From Theaters Following Real-Life Car Crash

OVERLAND PARK, KS—In what highway safety personnel are calling "a chilling example of cinema come to life," David Cronenberg's Crash was pulled from the nation's theaters Monday following an automotive accident near Kansas City which claimed two lives.

Remains of the real-life wreck that killed two Saturday.

"Never before in my 16 years with the highway department have I seen such a thing," tow-truck driver Karl Stankiewicz said, surveying the accident site. "This is like something out of the movies."

According to witnesses, at approximately 11 p.m. Saturday, a Ford Aerostar driven by Chris Gosch, 25, of Kansas City, swerved off a county road at high speed and rolled over, killing Gosch and his girlfriend, passenger Lisa Bradley, 24, instantly. No reason was given for the couple's unorthodox behavior, but U.S. Department of Transportation officials say they will closely study footage from Crash to try to find answers.

"There is a scene in the film in which a pair of lovers swerves off the road in an almost identical fashion to the incident involving Mr. Gosch and Ms. Bradley," said Transportation Undersecretary Richard Lathon. "It's chilling. This really blurs the line between truth and fiction."

Less than 24 hours after learning of the accident, executives from Fine Line Features, distributor of Crash, announced they would pull the film from theaters to prevent any further real-life crashes. "Crash was meant to be limited to the realm of the imagination, a product of science-fiction writer J.G. Ballard's fertile mind," said Fine Line CEO Leo Green, announcing the film's withdrawal. "We never dreamed this could actually happen. Crash will end its run in theatres as of today."

Despite the studio's apology and withdrawal of the film, Crash director Cronenberg defended his work in an official statement Monday. "My movie was just that—a movie. It was obviously not intended to be an example of behavior. What happened to Chris Gosch and Lisa Bradley is a tragedy, but it is a tragedy they brought upon themselves because of an inability to discern between fantasy and reality."

In response to fears that "crashing" might become popular among impressionable young people who see the movie, Crash stars James Spader and Rosanna Arquette have agreed to collaborate with the National Highway Transportation Safety Bureau on a series of PSAs. The televised spots will feature a sexily dressed Spader and Arquette addressing the camera while engaged in safe driving. Among the slogans to be used in the spots: "You're On The Street, Not The Screen," and "Remember: In The Real World, Sexy Means Safety First."

Ralph Nader, speaking before a special meeting of the What About The Children? Foundation in San Francisco, said that the entertainment industry must take greater responsibility for the messages it sends out. "We have come to the point where violence and death have become acceptable forms of entertainment," Nader said. "Impressionable young kids can go to a theater and see a car actually crashing into another car. We shouldn't be surprised when the result is tragedy."

Media watchdog groups find it particularly disturbing that real-life victims Gosch and Bradley were romantically involved, just like the characters in the movie. "What's more," said Royce Gehry, chair of the Arlington, VA-based Media Institute, "the car they were driving bore an uncanny resemblance to the ones in the film, all the way down to the four-wheel design and the internal combustion engine. Don't tell me this wasn't a 'copycat'-style accident. The similarities are too great to be denied."

If more copycat accidents follow, some lawmakers feel it may be necessary to close all interstate highways until motorists can receive the counseling they need to distinguish between Hollywood action thrills and the real-life dangers of unsafe car "crashing." Such a proposal could reach the Senate as early as Thursday.

In addition to car accidents, Crash includes numerous scenes of couples having sex. Fortunately, no real-life incidents of sexual contact have thus far been reported. "We can only hope that people do not engage in sex as a result of Crash," Gehry said. "Sexual encounters belong only in the movies."

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