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War's First Casualty Was PR Firm's NYC Press Conference.

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- BOCA RATON, Fla., March 31 /PRNewswire/ -- The first casualty of the war on Iraq was not a coalition soldier, sailor or pilot. It was one of TransMedia Group's clients -- the one-time notorious jewel thief turned film producer, Walter T. Shaw. TransMedia's Chairman Thomas J. Madden filed this report while he and a platoon of publicists were embedded at the St. Regis Hotel in NYC when war broke out.

"We had arranged a news conference for Wednesday morning, March 19 at the St. Regis for Shaw to present a check from proceeds from his DVD 'It Took A Thief To Stop A Thief' to 'A Child Is Missing.' President Bush had given Iraq 48 hours' deadline, but we thought the war would not start immediately. That morning we had four Television Station crews there.

"A story that morning in the NY Post teased the press conference, naming celebrities who would be there. Reporters for the major papers were among a throng of other media who came to cover it. We turned out cast members of The Sopranos and mob film hits, Casino and Goodfellas -- a Who's Who of TV mobsters, including Big Pussy and Frank Vincent who bashed Joe Pesci's skull in Casino. We decorated the room a la The Godfather with a pile of water pistols next to a silver platter full of cannolis with signs that said 'Leave the Gun, Take The Cannoli.' I introduced the program saying 'It looks like the jails are empty in New York City this morning.' It only got a small laugh so I moved right along. I hate sleeping with fishes. The news conference went over like gangbusters. It was sensational. Reporters couldn't get enough interviews for that evening's 10 O'Clock and 11 O'Clock TV news programs. Even the press congratulated us on the star-studded turnout.

"Then just after 10 PM that night, the missiles started to fly. Coalition intelligence thought they had Saddam Hussein targeted. Little did they realize the target -- the very first casualty of the war -- was our press conference. 'Hey,' a magnanimous Walter said the next day, 'You can't win 'em all. My guys were amazed at the turnout we got with the war and all.' I thanked Walter, knowing it cost him big bucks, as he really wanted to promote his film "All For Nothin'.
 "Somehow the title fit."
 Glen Calder,
 +1-561-750-9800, ext. 16

CONTACT: Glen Calder of TransMedia Group, +1-561-750-9800, ext. 16

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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 31, 2003
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