South African Radicals Planned To Kill Paul Simon ... Until Steve Van Zandt Talked Them Out Of It
In 1985, Paul Simon was flying high. Unfortunately it was on a plane to apartheid South Africa, where he recorded his album Graceland. International artists were boycotting the country on account of the whole "horrible institutional racism" thing, so Simon's decision pissed off just about everyone. That "everyone" included the Azanian People's Organization (AZAPO), which moved Simon to the top of their hit list.
When Simon tried to return to South Africa to play a concert in 1992, AZAPO let their displeasure be known by bombing his concert promoter's office. Nobody was killed, but it was still a crazy level of political controversy for a musician whose audience is mostly milquetoast dads.
Matthew Straubmuller/Wikimedia CommonsIt's not like Eric Clapton feuds with the Tamil Tigers, or Billy Joel is constantly getting into gun battles with the Real IRA.
But things could have been a lot worse for Simon if it hadn't been for Steve van Zandt, who is both Bruce Springsteen's guitarist and Silvio Dante on The Sopranos (dude is practically a minor deity in New Jersey). In the late '80s, van Zandt was deeply involved in the international fight against apartheid, even traveling to South Africa to meet with AZAPO. While there, van Zandt was shown the group's assassination list and saw Simon's name at the top. They made it clear that they were really planning to retaliate for Graceland, because Amazon wasn't around back then and they couldn't just leave a bad review.
Van Zandt was not a huge fan of Simon, but he did manage to talk AZAPO out of killing him, arguing that "I understand your feelings about this; I might even share them, but ... it's not going to help anybody if you knock off Paul Simon." The group eventually agreed that such a move would probably be counterproductive in the long run. That's good, but we'd just like to point out how hilarious it is that van Zandt's best argument boiled down to "Listen, we all WANT to murder Paul Simon, but who's that going to help?" Anyway, they ended up killing Art Garfunkel, but the world has yet to notice.
Mel Blanc Was Brought Out Of A Coma By A Doctor Addressing Bugs Bunny
In 1961, prolific voice actor Mel Blanc was in a head-on car accident and suffered a fractured skull. This man was the original voice of Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Tweety Bird, Sylvester the Cat, Yosemite Sam, Foghorn Leghorn, Marvin the Martian, Pepe Le Pew, Speedy Gonzales, Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner, Tasmanian Devil, and oh yeah, Bugs Bunny. He was in a coma for two weeks, during which Warner Bros. presumably tried to figure out how to make 200 cartoons starring Petunia Pig.