In 1999, A ‘Star Trek’ Actor Had To Write A Magazine To Prove He Wasn’t Online

Anyway, the ’90s was also the time when anyone could sign an email with “Bill Gates” and people would go, “Holy crap, the real Bill Gates just wrote me to say my computer is gonna explode if I don’t forward this to 400 people in 30 seconds!” In 1994, a specific hoax email spread so widely that, weeks later, Microsoft had to put out a public statement saying that no, they didn’t buy the Catholic Church. It didn’t help that Rush Limbaugh read the email on the air and a good number of his listeners ended up outraged that the Church would give Microsoft exclusive electronic rights to the Bible in exchange for some stock and a “Senior VP of Religious Software” title for Pope John Paul II.  

Ironically, while the internet has made celebrity impersonation much more widespread (look at all those Twitter accounts sharing stolen jokes or self-help advice as “Bill Murray” or “Chris Rock”) it’s also much, much easier to debunk. Before, these scams could go on for decades — like the case of the guy who spent 30 years pretending to be Buckwheat from Our Gang and ended up going on ABC News’ 20/20 as him (the producer resigned over it). 

Even after being found out, the guy insisted that, no, he was Buckwheat, and he didn’t care what his co-stars of his own orphaned son had to say. A hoax like that would last about 30 minutes today. Now, if you’ll excuse us, we have something to do: Neil Gaiman just offered to let us join his new cryptocurrency business venture through his secondary Instagram account with zero followers. 

Follow Maxwell Yezpitelok‘s heroic effort to read and comment on every ’90s Superman comic at 

Top image: CBS Television Distribution 

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