In 1961, a movie titled "The Great Impostor" starring Tony Curtis depicted the complex life of Fred Demara, who assumed a number of identities including those of a college professor, navy doctor and prison warden. A similar scenario appears to have been playing for real over the past few years in Washington and in college towns of Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York, authorities say, with the principal character a man known for decades to his neighbors and colleagues as Paul Arthur Crafton.

Many of the 31 aliases police allege Crafton used included elements of his own name, and some were actual names of other people. They include:

David Arthur Gordon, used at Towson State College and for a checking account at Union Trust of Baltimore.

John Byron Hext, used at Shippensburg State College and at Wagner College and on checking accounts at Chase Manhattan Bank.

Peter H. Pearse, used at Millersville State College;

Arthur Van B. Holland, used to apply for a Lord & Taylor credit card and in the lease of a silver Datsun station wagon.

Anthony Williams, which police say the suspect called himself after his arrest in Pennsylvania on Monday.

Additionallly, investigators from the attorney general's office in Pennsylvania say they also found academic records and birth certificates in 16 cartons of documents seized in the suspect's apartment bearing the names: John Ashworth, Keith Frederick Bowden, Kenneth John Holden, David Taylor, Roger Spencer Vickers and Peter Francis Windley.