Rocco's Modern Life
It's possible that, by censuring trustee Steve Rocco, the Orange Unified School District may be hastening the Second Coming. Not of Jesus, mind you, but of Andy Kaufman.
The Weekly recently received the following graphic from a reader.
At first we were puzzled—the first picture is clearly Steve Rocco, but the second? The bastard offspring of a Belushi and the guy from Counting Crows, maybe? Actually it's Kaufman; the image is taken from his Elvis impersonation on the cover of his 1983 PBS special, The Andy Kaufman Show. Kaufman had several characters he regularly impersonated, including the King of Rock & Roll.
In October the district voted to censure Rocco for saying he would fire former Villa Park High School Principal Bill White instead of reassigning him (supposedly a violation of the Brown Act and the Constitution). But in addition to his censorious District Trustee work, Rocco may be involved in one of the greatest celebrity conspiracies of all time—the faked death and imminent public resurrection of Andy Kaufman.
In 2004 the Weekly identified Rocco as the conspiracy theorist behind andykaufmanlives.com, a site which suggests that Kaufman did not die of lung cancer at Cedars-Sinai on May 17, 1984. The evidence:
- In "The Tony Clifton Story", an unfinished biopic about one of Kaufman's characters, Kaufman appears as himself towards the end to announce Clifton's death from lung cancer at Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles. Later the film reveals that Clifton still lives. Kaufman supposedly died of lung cancer at, of all places, Cedars-Sinai. What are the odds?
- The man who died in Los Angeles that day might not have been Kaufman at all, but a man named Nathan McCoy. McCoy supposedly checked into the hospital that day but was never recorded as checking out—maybe because his body was identified as Kaufman's?
- Kaufman is alleged to have told several confidantes of his plan to fake his own death, supposedly telling his friend Mimi Lambert that if he ever faked his death, he would pretend to have cancer.
The Kaufman site is now maintained by an entity called KING, although this King's email is that of Enrique Presley, the proprietor of andykaufmanlives.com before Rocco took over. The surname Presley evokes Elvis, one of Kaufman's characters who is widely believed to have faked his death. Also, Kaufman wore a crown and proclaimed himself King of Tennessee in his epic I'm From Hollywood bit. KING may also be an acronym for something like Kaufman In New Guise, or something like Kaufman INcoGnito.
King/Kaufman/Presley/Rocco has two incredible projects on offer. The first is a link to a new O.J.-esque website, If I Faked It. The tagline: "If Andy Kaufman had faked his own death, this is exactly how he might have done it." Sadly, IfIFakedIt.com is still "coming soon," with nothing but a link back to andykaufmanlives.com. Still, it says it is signed by the author, Andy Kaufman.
The other work advertised on the site, "The Book of Illusion," is cited in a release on PRWeb on May 11, 2006, as "the greatest Illusion in history."
The Book of Illusion is an eight film epic that has been in production for over two decades. According to KING "the first frame of this eight film epic was created the morning of Thursday May 17, 1984. The last frame has yet to be created." The Book of Illusion reveals the greatest Illusion of all time, past, present, and future.
Chapter 2 is called "The Time is Now." What's so now-ish about this current time? Could it be the perfect moment for a comeback, especially in the wake of O.J. Simpson's recent demonstration of how easily a celebrity can get away with almost anything? And just when you thought things were whacked-out enough, King goes all Wonka on your ass.
Chapter 7 is the story of a celebrity who, through the love and devotion of a parent, was presumed dead for years. Chapter 7 will only be released on DVD. This is due to the fact that seven copies of the DVD will contain golden tickets. These Golden tickets will invite the 7 ticket bearers, along with 7 acquaintances, on a Caribbean cruise. On the island of Aruba the seven ticket bearers will attend a private screening of Chapter 8. Chapter 8 is entitled "The Final Revelation". In chapter 8 KING will be revealed to the 7 bearers of the golden tickets.
So who will KING turn out to be? Steve Rocco? Elvis Presley? Andy Kaufman? Here's a hint: the contact details for the release are Steve Rocco at Puzzlementary Productions, with a link to andykaufmanlives.com.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Orange County, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.