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Only in L.A.

June 04, 1993|Steve Harvey

Advice without consent? When last we spoke with the Free Advice Man he was in the Southland, visiting relatives and dispensing wisdom gratis on a Rodeo Drive sidewalk. The Free Advice Man's practice first achieved recognition in 1987 when the New Yorker magazine reported that he had "given advice to about 6,000 people, only four of whom were dissatisfied."

Now, he has some words for a competitor--the Free Advice Ladies.

"Tell people where you got the idea," implored the Free Advice Man, whose real name is Jean-Pierre Fenyo.

The trio, who are mentioned in this week's issue of Time, provide a similar curbside service in New York City every Saturday and even display a similar sign.

"This amounts to intellectual property theft," said Fenyo, a part-time teacher who started his counseling in Manhattan but now lives in Baltimore.

The disagreement has reached Hollywood. The Free Advice Man wrote to TV's "Entertainment Tonight" to complain about being excluded from the show's interview with the Free Advice Ladies.

Time for a face-off, Geraldo.

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The real fake: David Kenney of Palos Verdes Estates noticed an offer with a double-edged meaning (see ad).

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List of the Day: On Thursday, we mentioned that an assistant manager at a Lancaster theater had set out a fake dinosaur egg in the countryside to promote the opening of "Jurassic Park"--fooling the L.A. Daily News, which published a serious account.

Movie hypes are, of course, an American art form, as the book "Publicity Stunt!" by Candice Fuhrman illustrates. A few other classics:

* An egg was also involved in a spectacle cooked up by publicist Jim Moran to plug the 1947 movie "The Egg and I." Moran, wearing a feathery costume, sat over an abandoned ostrich egg for 19 days, 4 hours and 32 minutes until it hatched. Spectators were charged 50 cents to watch.

* Prior to the opening of "The Mouse That Roared" in 1959 the same Moran dressed up in a military uniform and posed as the Ambassador of Grand Fenwick, the mythical duchy in the film. He even opened an embassy for Grand Fenwick in Washington, D.C., and had himself chauffeured to parties in a Mercedes-Benz that had a mouse as a hood ornament.

* To publicize a "Tarzan" movie in the 1920s, an orangutan was decked out in a tuxedo and high hat and taken to the Hollywood Knickerbocker Hotel to enter high society. The orangutan, which reputedly had a role in the film, let out its own version of the call of the jungle, causing a near riot. The movie was a smash.

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Flintstone favorite: Marshall Oboy of Beverly Hills wore only the necessities when he visited the Renaissance Pleasure Faire in Devore. He said he would have felt naked without his beeper.

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Postal humor: John Schiermeier put a stamped self-addressed envelope in a letter to the city of Burbank. Routine stuff, right? Well . . . the self-addressed envelope did finally come back, but only after it was stamped: "No such person/number."

Fortunately, Schiermeier had taken the precaution of putting his address in the corner, as well. The post office had also stamped the letter, "Returned to sender"--with a hand pointing to the return address.

miscelLAny:

Among the celebrity memorabilia on display at Stars Wares on Main in Santa Monica is a fake arm from the movie "Nightmare on Elm Street."

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