2/20/18

THE NAKED OSCAR



Meet Robert Opel, the most famous man ever on the Oscars telecast whose name you don't know. Opel was the streaker who ran naked ('streaked') behind emcee David Niven at the 1974 Oscars. Streaking was a fad at that time and the producer of the Oscars, Jack Haley Jr., clearly had this in mind when he arranged this little stunt. What makes me so sure it's a stunt? Well, look at how well timed his ignominious moment is and how excellent Niven's retort is. Nobody, not even a clever Englishman with a little moustache, could have ad-libbed that 'shortcomings' line. (I'll leave the entire quote out, thus forcing you to watch the two-minute clip). And how did Opel get backstage in the first place? And what did he do with his clothes? And why is Liz Taylor wearing that hideous yellow dress? Ah, don't try to fool me, Oscar. You'll get nowhere--but quick!

Opel was a photographer and something of a renegade--click here for the obligatory Wikipedia bio--who, unfortunately, only lived another five years after this moment of Oscar glory. He was murdered in his apartment in San Francisco, a victim of a robbery gone awry. Or was it something more complex? A subject for further research...

 Subscribe in a reader