How far will someone go to gain the 15 minutes of fame that the late Andy Warhol prophesied that everyone would have?
Richard Heene thought he had an answer. It wasn't enough that the Heene family had previously appeared on ABC's Wife Swap. Not once, mind you, but twice. Richard Heene had gained the dreaded addiction to the spotlight, and now he wanted to extend what little fame he had. He had been in negotiations with a cable network, presumably the Learning Channel, for his own reality show. His idea of an audition tape was to pretend his 6 year old son, Falcon, was on board a home-made balloon that went on its now-infamous joyride on Oct. 15. The little rugrat wasn't aboard the craft at all, but safely tucked away at home. As it turned out, Falcon foiled his father's plans by innocently---and inadvertently----telling the truth in an interview, in which he blurted out that his father told him they were "doing this for a show".
That one sentence all by itself changed the entire picture. In the space of the last five days, Richard Heene has been recast from concerned father to scheming huckster. Colorado authorities are considering pressing charges, including filing a false report, against Heene, whose sons would conceivably be either placed in foster care or with relatives in the area, if there are any, if their parents end up going to jail.
That might not be the end of the story, though. In today's society, we've been conditioned to believe that bad behavior---and the attendant controversy that goes with it----is more profitable in the long term. The truth is, there is no long term benefit. The clock is ticking on the Heenes' flirtation with fame, and perhaps by this time next year, they'll be little more than a footnote.
Art Linkletter had a feature on his iconic series, House Party, entitled, Kids Say the Darndest Things, which was later spun off into a stand-alone series with Bill Cosby. Neither could've imagined how true that is.