What the title says - I've just realized something, potentially something big. This is quite a doozy, so you'd better sit down. Granted, the fact that you're at a computer all but guarantees that you're sitting down, but this is such a revelation that I can't afford to take that chance. Now sit comfortably, for I have a story for you, a story of deception and dark deeds. You may stop reading if you feel old chest pains flaring up, for make no mistake: this tale is not for the faint among you. Here we go:
In the late 50s, a young Michael Landon's career is beginning to take off. After a period of only minor roles, Landon gains several starring roles over the succeeding decade and a half, most notably in a popular Western (Bonanza), and as punch-happy Pa in Little House on the Prairie, where his knuckles ran red with blood and dried rashes as a result of the strict regimen of fistfights and cowardly surprise punch attacks required by his role. Finally, all of this leads to a starring role on TV's Highway to Heaven, a show teeming with religious underpinnings and allegory.
All of these heady topics - religion, U.S. history and the role of law in our society as depicted by Westerns - naturally lead Mike to more than a bit of self-examination and thought. In the late 80s to early 90s, Landon becomes dissatisfied with his acting career and begins to ponder a career in politics, then finds his interests shifting to a possible role as a political commentator. But Landon comes to a sobering realization: a show headed by a well-known actor might become popular, but would never be taken seriously! For this reason Landon adopts a new persona; beginning in the late 80s he begins hosting a small political talk show on several local stations under the purported Irish name "Shawn Hannoughty". Over a few months he then gradually reworks the spelling to "Sean Hannity", partly because the new spelling mimics actual Irish spellings, and partly because "Sean Hannity" is an anagram of "Inane Shanty", which seems to fit the babbling, bulletheaded second-generation immigrant Irishman act he has planned as a mechanism to hide his identity.
At first the dual identity is simple to maintain - Landon maintains his acting career, wears a wig on Johnny Carson in order to mimic his old hairstyle, and tries to appear levelheaded and well-adjusted when appearing in public as mild-mannered Michael Landon, lest he give away his secret identity. But, try as he might, similarities between Landon and the newly-born "Hannity" begin to arise. Why do they both have that "staring into the sun" look? Why the uniformly conservative dress and similar outfits? On certain rare occasions, Landon even slips into his nasally "Hannity" voice when out in public. So, out of love for his new career and new hobby, Landon makes a difficult decision.
On July 1, 1991, just as "Sean Hannity" begins to find an audience, Michael Landon conveniently "dies" of cancer. Landon, now a mere puppet of this "Sean" construct, lives on only in body. After years of resorting to contorted, tight facial expressions to hide his retirement-age wrinkles, and a style of debate honed from the mess of modern political discourse, Landon's transformation is essentially complete. To say that Michael Landon and "Sean Hannity" are the same person is not strictly correct - for all intents and purposes, Michael Landon is dead. Only the creation - "Sean" - lives on. See for yourself, and weep:
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