Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Shed a tear for Bat Boy

Sad news from Florida -- the Weekly World News is going six feet under.

If you don't know the Weekly World News, clearly you have not spent any time over the last 20 years in a supermarket. The WWN used to sit in the rack near the checkout of every grocery store and Jiffy Mart in America. It had the eerie ability to leap right off the rack and into your hands. I swear, sometimes I'd get home and unload my bags and find it hiding in there, next to the Wheaties.

Sample headlines:

WORLD'S SMARTEST APE GOES TO COLLEGE

BIGFOOT KEPT LUMBERJACK AS LOVE SLAVE

PHOTO OF ELVIS CURED MY CANCER!

As you can see, the Weekly World News held itself to the highest journalistic standards.

The WWN actually had a Charlotte connection -- Eddie Clontz, who was the editor for years, grew up here. His brother, Derek, also worked for the paper. Eddie died in 2004 -- devoured by the Loch Ness Monster, I'm guessing.

The Weekly world News' greatest story was the continuing saga of Bat Boy, a (duh) half-bat, half-boy who was discovered in a cave in 1992. He turned up every year or two -- in fact, people who didn't read the WWN might not know this, but Bat Boy led U.S. troops into Iraq in the War on Terror. He also became the subject of an off-Broadway musical.

(Believe it or not, that last sentence is true.)

The paper also checked in regularly with a space alien who endorsed presidential candidates. The alien endorsed George W. Bush in 2004. So there's still hope that aliens might not be smarter than us after all.

Apparently the Weekly World News will remain on the Web -- good news for the people who need a regular dose of columnist Ed Anger. But it's easy to see why the print edition is shutting down. The WWN had to compete at the checkout rack with People, Us and Entertainment Weekly.

And frankly, Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears are battier than Bat Boy ever was.

Got a favorite tabloid story? Add favorite stories, UFO sightings, etc., in the comments.

2 comments:

carenkh said...

When I was a child, my sisters scared the bejesus out of me by claiming the watermelon seeds I ate would surely sprout -- then where would I be? Sure enough, several years ago there was a story of a boy who had a tree growing right out of his mouth! Pictures and everything! Still waiting for watermelons, though...

Anonymous said...

My family's favorite WWN story was "Johnny Depp is a Vampire," which also listed other celebrities who kept their youthful good looks by being undead. It's easy to spot them now that WWN has given us the inside story. Watching Live Earth, we saw Kevin Bacon onstage and added him to the list.
Runner-up favorite story was "How to tell if your neighbor is a space alien," which described our family so perfectly that we were glad our neighbors weren't reading WWN.