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The Guy Who Lied For A Living

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The handsome chief of the Canadian Cherokee had it all: good looks, a great story, and lots of money.  Oh, and one other thing: his story was a complete fabrication. 

"Chief White Elk" was really Edgar Laplante, a grifter and vaudeville performer who upped his game by pretending to be someone and something he wasn't.  And people in the celebrity-obsessed culture of the 1910s and 20s bought it. 

The building and busting of Laplante's myth is told in the book King Con: The Bizarre Adventures of the Jazz Age's Greatest Imposter.  Author Paul Willetts pieced the story together; he is our guest, by phone from the UK. 
 

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Geoffrey Riley is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and has hosted the Jefferson Exchange on JPR since 2009. He's been a broadcaster in the Rogue Valley for more than 35 years, working in both television and radio.
John Baxter's history at JPR reaches back three decades.  John was the JPR program director who was the architect of "the split" when JPR grew from a single program stream to three separate streams. We coaxed him out of retirement and he's now a co-producer of the Jefferson Exchange.