"The Night That Panicked America"--it couldn't happen again, right? After all, that was then...and we're soooo much more sophisticated today than when Mr. Welles and his Mercury Theatre Co. unwittingly scared the bejeezus out of the backwoods hicks who thought every water tower was a Martian war machine...
The terror alert in parts of the U.S. was raised yesterday to...lime green? purple? when to promote its completely bonkers animated series "Aqua Teen Hunger Force", the Cartoon Network launched an unannounced guerilla marketing blitz in which several magnetic "lightboxes" depicting the villainous "Mooninites" flipping us the bird were placed around the Boston area (around town, under bridges, and outside Fenway Park). The 38 identical signs were quite tiny (roughly a foot by a foot-an-a-half) but when the first was noticed by a city worker affixed to a highway ramp, the interstate was shut down and the alleged "bomb" blasted with a water cannon. Within hours, more of the devices were reported from a panicked public, spreading fear of terrorism, until someone on the police force recognized the characters as Ignignokt and Err.
Turner Broadcasting, who own the Cartoon Network, issued a public apology (do you think Ted watches the show? I'll bet he gets a kick out of that Carl). Peter Berdovsky and Sean Stevens, two graphic artists who worked for Inference Inc., the ad firm hired by Turner Broadcasting, became the patsies in all this and were arrested on the charges of installing hoax devices to cause panic and disorderly conduct, for which they could face five years in prison. Good news that they've made bail, and have already hosted an irreverent press conference in which they would only take questions about their hair styles...
As well, the Jan. 31 Adult Swim broadcast began with an apologetic "bump", and you can read it on their website.
Meanwhile, Boston city officials are super-pissed and want the network to reimburse them for the half-million it cost to deploy the state, federal, and local law enforcement. On top of that, Boston mayor Thomas Menino has gone apesh*t and had demanded that the FCC to yank Turner's broadcasting license.
Amazingly, the signs were installed more than two weeks ago, and in several other cities including New York, Seattle, Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and LA, where so far, there hasn't been any panic.
Watch CNN's "Breaking News" coverage here and have a good laugh.
Flickr photo gallery here.
And remember, the movie comes out March 23 unless Menino calls for its destruction.
And this image is priceless and totally made my day. To quote the great philosopher Wes Bentley: "sometimes there's just so much beauty in the world I can't take it!"