Why “The Impostors” is 1 Story Worth Ghostwriting

It's no hoax. These guys really did get into places they didn't belong.

Fourth in an occasional series about stories and ideas that are worth telling.

Would you be interested in reading about that time a guy crashed an awards show and then was politely asked to guard the bathroom door so Elizabeth Taylor could have privacy?

How about the time that same guy walked onto the Universal Studios lot and gently poked a man with a pencil to get him to move so he could watch a scene of “Simon & Simon” being filmed, only to learn that man was the episode’s director?

My guess is these stories would pique your interest. As a ghostwriter, they certainly caught my attention. That’s why I’m excited to work on a book about two average Joes who have harmlessly and humorously got themselves backstage at award shows, studio lots, and concerts as well as down in auto racing pits.

Last week, I met the two gentlemen and was awed for three hours as they regaled me with tales of interactions with famous and not-so-famous people. One of them accidentally ate Candice Bergen’s salad at the Emmys. One walked up to Sammy Davis, Jr. and asked what he thought of Billy Crystal’s impression of him (Davis said he didn’t like it). They created a fictional TV station to get press credentials. They pretended to be the relatives of various industry bigwigs and got backstage passes, hotel rooms, and pictures with celebrities.

As they talked, I kept thinking, They’re doing what people wish they could do. People are going to live vicariously through these guys. “Truth is stranger than fiction” has nothing on them!

Their stories also checked various ghostwriting boxes. Specifically:

Their overall story is unique. I couldn’t find any books that tell stories about nobodies doing what these guys did for 40 years — 40 years! I found books about imposters, such as  “The Ultimate Book of Impostors: Over 100 True Stories of the Greatest Phonies and Frauds” by Ian Graham. But Graham is not one of them. His book is not a first-person account. 

I also found books about famous people who got caught (Frank Abagnale, Jr., Charles Ponzi). This pair never got caught, although they came close once, and you’ve never heard their names.

The closest I could get to this kind of harmless fun was “The Lazlo Letters,” a book by actor/comedian Don Novello in which he wrote letters to famous people under the guise of Lazlo Toth. Just about everyone wrote back, including Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and top business leaders of the day; and Novello published his and their correspondence. But that book originally came out in 1977.

  • Their stories carry name recognition. Besides the people mentioned above, they’ve interacted with Robin Williams, Michael Jackson, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Plant, Chevy Chase, Roberto Guerrero, and Dick Clark, among many, many others. People want to read about the rich and famous.
  • It offers memorable images. Even though most of us don’t know what the bathroom door backstage at the Beverly Hilton Hotel looks like, we all can imagine standing in front of a door to protect Elizabeth Taylor while she does her business. We can see them sitting at an empty awards show table eating a salad meant for somebody else. And we can see them walking with Robin Williams, who came into the building with two bodyguards but walked around inside with four.

As one of them told me, “If you act like you belong there, people think you belong there.”

It wouldn’t surprise me if some people feel incredible envy/jealousy when they read these stories; nor would it shock me if it inspires others to take their own chances, loosen their inhibitions, and try something different. 

That isn’t the authors’ intentions, but that’s a possible result of such a compelling story that has to be told.

Are you ready to work with a ghostwriter in Los Altos, CA? Contact Lee today!

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