This balloon boy has star potential. First off, his name is Falcon. How cool is that? He’s the center of national attention. He’s got a flair for the dramatic (excusing himself on national TV twice to go vomit off-camera). And he’s only 6. The sky’s the limit for this kid.
The sky is where millions of eyes were trained as a balloon drifted at 7,000 feet above Colorado with a boy supposedly inside the undercarriage while TV cameras followed it for almost two hours.
I was eating lunch at Los Alamos Café at about 1:30 p.m. when the coverage came on the TV. Every restaurant patron was spellbound and talking about it.
Like when Baby Jessica fell down the well all those years ago, everybody was again rooting for a child to pull through a crisis even though we didn’t know him.
Now some people are wondering if the whole thing was a hoax after Richard Heenee and his family appeared on TV to talk about the ordeal. Falcon blurted out that he’d been hiding in the attic because “you guys said that…mmm…we did this for the show.”
“Man,” the father said, sighing heavily.
“No,” mom said.
Falcon’s two brothers looked on with wide eyes.
Huh? What show? Had the kid been instructed to hide? Was the family seeking attention? After all, they’d appeared on “Wife Swap” and they were storm chasers and inventors who liked publicity.
After seeing the family on the Today Show this morning, I didn’t get a clear sense that the balloon incident was a planned stunt. Who knows what the kid meant by saying he’d done it for “the show.”
Hoax or not, though, the balloon boy does possess star quality. In fact, the Heenee family as a whole comes across as eccentric and watchable. All three kids have been pretty amusing during interviews, even when they were half asleep on the Today Show.
Give the family their own reality show, call it “Adventures of Balloon Boy,” and have cameras follow the Heenees as they chase storms, invent things, make rap videos, and lose their children – the perfect replacement for Jon & Kate Plus 8.