Tuesday, Dec. 08, 2009

Balloon Boy

Not since the moon landing has a nation been so transfixed and fearful over the journey of a silvery object in the sky. According to a 911 call from a distressed father, there was a 6-year-old boy somewhere inside that flimsy Mylar balloon. Except there wasn't. After the balloon was brought to earth, the boy was discovered hiding in a box in the attic. Except he wasn't. The whole thing was a publicity stunt to make the family, the Heenes, known already to avid reality-TV viewers as two-time participants on Wife Swap, seem more attractive to the producers of other reality shows. Falcon, the boy who innocently gave the game away when Larry King asked him why he hid ("You guys said we did this for the show," he told his dad), then proceeded to accompany his family on a full round of media interviews. In a way, the Heenes got their wish of making a splash on TV: Falcon threw up on the Today show.