Originally created 08/23/96

Fake gator lands locals on TV



James Young almost died of fright. His friends almost died of laughter.

Now they're all getting ready to live high-on-the-hog on Sunset Boulevard for a few days.

Mr. Young, the victim of a hunting prank last fall, and his joke-playing friends will be traveling to Los Angeles later this month - all expenses paid - for the filming of America's Funniest Home Videos.

Millions of people will watch as the practical joke unfolds on Keith Evans' videotape: Mr. Young quietly returns from an errand to the hunting group's Burke County clubhouse. Suddenly a long, green creature darts out at him.

He screams, turns and tries to run, slipping and sliding and slamming into a tree before fleeing for his life.

Then he hears his friends laughing and sees the inflated, 6-foot plastic alligator that terrorized him.

The joke, concocted by Mr. Evans, of Evans, and Dan Wilson, of Hephzibah, was quite a success. But things could have gotten scary. Used properly, a snarling float and a little fishing line can take a lot out of a man.

"You jokers could have given me a heart attack!" Mr. Young, 53, panted after learning what he'd seen.

"I wasn't laughing too much 'til I seen the video," the Grovetown man added recently.

Now the three hunters, along with Mr. Evans' wife, Wanda, will head to Hollywood. They'll win at least $2,000 - part of which will go to another hunting buddy, Steve Brown - if their video is selected to be a finalist on the show, which will air Oct. 6. If their video is chosen, they'll win $10,000 and be eligible for a yearly $100,000 prize.

They didn't know last November that their shenanigans would take them so far, Mr. Wilson said.

"It was one of our better jokes," Mr. Evans said. "But it's the first one we've videotaped."

James Young almost died of fright. His friends almost died of laughter.

Now they're all getting ready to live high-on-the-hog on Sunset Boulevard for a few days.

Mr. Young, the victim of a hunting prank last fall, and his joke-playing friends will be traveling to Los Angeles later this month - all expenses paid - for the filming of America's Funniest Home Videos.

Millions of people will watch as the practical joke unfolds on Keith Evans' videotape: Mr. Young quietly returns from an errand to the hunting group's Burke County clubhouse. Suddenly a long, green creature darts out at him.

He screams, turns and tries to run, slipping and sliding and slamming into a tree before fleeing for his life.

Then he hears his friends laughing and sees the inflated, 6-foot plastic alligator that terrorized him.

The joke, concocted by Mr. Evans, of Evans, and Dan Wilson, of Hephzibah, was quite a success. But things could have gotten scary. Used properly, a snarling float and a little fishing line can take a lot out of a man.

"You jokers could have given me a heart attack!" Mr. Young, 53, panted after learning what he'd seen.

"I wasn't laughing too much 'til I seen the video," the Grovetown man added recently.

Now the three hunters, along with Mr. Evans' wife, Wanda, will head to Hollywood. They'll win at least $2,000 - part of which will go to another hunting buddy, Steve Brown - if their video is selected to be a finalist on the show, which will air Oct. 6. If their video is chosen, they'll win $10,000 and be eligible for a yearly $100,000 prize.

They didn't know last November that their shenanigans would take them so far, Mr. Wilson said.

"It was one of our better jokes," Mr. Evans said. "But it's the first one we've videotaped."