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Halloween prank tricks Iqalummiut, again

Kent Driscoll
Northern News Services

Iqaluit (Nov 06/06) - The rumour spread like wildfire: Antonio Banderas is coming to Iqaluit.

Hearts were aflutter as the actor was expected at the city's airport at 6:30 a.m.

It was a fraud. An Iqaluit cab driver conned the city residents for the second year in a row.

NNSL Photo/graphic

Martin Bedard loves a good joke. The Iqaluit cab driver has pulled Halloween pranks on unsuspecting Iqalummiut two years in a row. Last year, he had men drooling over the idea that Pamela Anderson was coming to visit. This year, women swooned for Antonio Banderas. - Chris Windeyer/NNSL photo

Martin Bedard - aka Prediction Bear - set a plan in place to convince residents that the actor was due to arrive at the airport, and like any good con, it was all about the details.

Bedard made notices saying that the Banderas was coming to the city, complete with a phone number for people to call. He labelled the letters "maximum security" and sent faxes to the CBC, the francophone radio station and various city departments.

If you called the included number, you received an answering machine that said Prediction Bear predicts that Antonio Banderas - star of the recent Zorro movies amongst others - would arrive in Iqaluit on Oct. 31. The number was flooded with calls about Banderas's imminent arrival.

He even went the extra mile to register Prediction Bear as a company, complete with a business number.

"One person called and said they were leaving for Ottawa on Thursday, and didn't want to miss Banderas. I told her I would take pictures," said Bedard.

Hearts were broken when, instead of Banderas, they found Bedard wearing a Zorro costume.

Bedard has turned Halloween into his personal April Fool's Day.

The Pai-Pa taxi driver, who has lived in Iqaluit since 1999, pulled the prank just to help people lighten up.

"All you hear here are bad things, like murders. I thought, What are the things that will make people happy?" said Bedard.

Last year's scam was a timely bit of political theatre. Prediction Bear predicted that Pamela Anderson was coming to the city and that hoax attracted residents from Rankin Inlet.

With Anderson being an outspoken opponent of the seal hunt, one would think that the starlet would generate a negative response, but just the opposite happened.

"I got people calling me and they were mad, they wanted to see Pamela Anderson," said Bedard.

What they got wasn't so glamorous - Bedard dressed as the amply endowed Baywatch star, and drove his cab around town.

As for Banderas, Bedard has this message for him: "If you ever need a double, I'm ready."