The great Jim Moran was offered a fine sum to take on the publicity for a toy shop in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and he at once came up with an amazing stunt to promote the store. Christmas was looming and as thousands of children were awaiting the descent of Santa down their chimneys, Moran decided to let Santa visit early via a parachute.
Moran hired a B movie actor who wasn’t afraid of heights to don the parachute and simply drift down from the sky to the waiting children below who had been herded from the neighbourhood and who were waiting outside the toy shop. But just as Santa came into the children’s view across a neighbouring field, and just as the herd of photographers was poised ready to get the best shots, the parachute became entangled in some overhead cables.
Try as he might, Santa was unable to free himself for love nor money. The children below, having waited long enough became disconsolate and some began crying. The press photographers took photos of the fiasco and a news story broke in the next day’s press, but one that was not appealing to the toy shop.
The papers reported how the toy shop press consultant, Jim Moran, was due in court to face charges of wasting public services (it took the fire brigade over 4 hours to get Santa down) and trespass, and the toy shop itself was responsible for the tears and tantrums of over 100 under 7’s.