To Tell the Truth Hoax
1991, New York, New York

When the oldest running game show in the United States, To Tell the Truth, called Joey Skaggs and invited him to Los Angeles to be a guest, Skaggs could not refuse. This is a game where a panel of celebrities has to guess which of three contestants is really the person they all say they are.

In this case however, when the three Joey Skaggs' took the stage and were introduced to the celebrity guest panel by host Lynn Swan, (the panel included David Niven, Jr., Orson Bean, Dr. Ruth, and Kitty Carlisle), none of them were the real Joey Skaggs.

Unbeknownst to the show producers and the two Joey Skaggs impersonators hired by the show, Skaggs had sent friend Norman Savage to L.A. to tape the show as Skaggs. When Norman agreed to do it, Skaggs took Norman's photograph and pasted it over his own image on a brochure and some press clippings, re-copied them and sent those with a videotape of an Entertainment Tonight piece on hoaxers taped three years earlier in which Norman had previously impersonated Skaggs.

To assure that the producers were convinced, Norman hand wrote a note to accompany the package so they would have his handwriting and signature on file. A store on 6th Avenue made Norman a fake photo ID which came in very handy when he went to pick up his airline ticket!

To Tell the Truth, thought they had a lot of reasons to believe that Norman Savage was Joey Skaggs. However, they had invited Skaggs to be on the show because they had read an article in The New York Times Arts & Leisure section (Sunday, December 23, 1990) about Skaggs' work. In that article there was a photo of Skaggs as Dr. Chenango, native American scalp transplant surgeon. So they should have known what he looked like. Coincidentally, Savage is also in the photo posing as a scalp donor. Weeks after the taping, when the show aired, Skaggs informed both the producers and the news media that To Tell the Truth hadn't told the truth!

© 1997 Joey Skaggs