Thursday, April 07, 2016


Robert Crichton, The Great Imposter, Perma Books, 1960


Mike Doran said...


In 1968, Avon brought out a double mass-market paperback of this book and Robert Crichton's follow-up, THE RASCAL AND THE ROAD, which told of how Crichton and Fred Demara met and came to work on the first book.

I was still in high school, starting to lapse in my Catholicism, and Demara's whole story fascinated me.

Not long afterward, THE GREAT IMPOSTOR movie got its first Chicago TV showing.
My brother and I watched, and since I'd read the book, I one-upped him all the way through.

The movie stuck surprisingly close to the book's account, events-wise; the major change was putting Demara's prison-warden days before his Canadian Naval service (dramatic flow, I guess).

... Well, the real major change was casting Tony Curtis as Demara.
The real Fred Demara was quite fat; I saw him first when THE HYPNOTIC EYE got a TV showing (I now have both pics on DVD, and the comparison is a bit unsettling, even now).

In subsequent years, I was able to view some appearances that Fred Demara made in support of the original Crichton book, with Groucho Marx and Ernie Kovacs on their game shows. Years later, Tom Snyder got him on TOMORROW, when Demara had gone into full-time ministry.
I don't know how much of this might be available on YouYube or elsewhere; I'll be looking into this later.
Just thought I'd get this up while it's fresh in my mind.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the great comment. I'm glad I got you started.