A newspaper promotion for Tom Cruise’s upcoming “Mission: Impossible III” got off to an explosive start when a county arson squad blew up a news rack, thinking it contained a bomb.

The confusion: The Los Angeles Times rack was fitted with a digital musical device designed to play the “Mission: Impossible” theme song when the door was opened. But in some cases, the red plastic boxes with protruding wires were jarred loose and dropped onto the stack of newspapers inside, alarming customers.

Sheriff’s officials said they rendered the news rack in this suburb 35 miles north of downtown Los Angeles “safe” after being called to the scene Friday by a concerned individual who thought he’d seen a bomb.

The devices were placed in 4,500 randomly selected news boxes in Los Angeles and Ventura counties in a venture with Paramount Pictures designed to turn the “everyday news rack experience” into an “extraordinary mission.”

It was just that, at least for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department arson squad, which destroyed the box.

I can understand the PR whizbang who had the idea to place devices like this in a newspaper dispenser. Sort of. Given the kind of paranoia that already rules our nutty nation, how did the people writing the checks go along with it?

  1. Gary Marks says:

    It sounds like just one more “what were they thinking” marketing moment. It reminds me of the “live turkey drop” from a really old WKRP episode. Fortunately, that one was fiction 😉

  2. Rick says:

    I’d love to know how much those check writers had to dispense for this one…I always wonder just how things like this work..I mean, like Jackass…you get people so angry, upset, whatever…and then it is on TV…obviously someone (like MTV) running behind with money in fist makes it all better…

  3. meetsy says:

    damn, why can’t they blow up Cruise instead? Wouldn’t that be much easier?
    It was probably HIS idea, anyway.


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