THE PUBLICIST: Milwaukee sausage scandal adds sizzle to film's publicity

Working behind the scenes in the entertainment industry, one is sometimes exposed to the kind of ugliness one would rather not see. Petty jealousies, abhorrent behavior displayed by the rich and famous, woefully prepared hors d'oeuvres at premieres, and, last week, brutal, senseless sausage abuse.

Working behind the scenes in the entertainment industry, one is sometimes exposed to the kind of ugliness one would rather not see. Petty jealousies, abhorrent behavior displayed by the rich and famous, woefully prepared hors d'oeuvres at premieres, and, last week, brutal, senseless sausage abuse.

By now you've likely seen the clips. At the top of the seventh inning at Miller Park during a Milwaukee Brewers-Pittsburgh Pirates game, one of the four participants of the popular sausage race was struck on the head by a baseball bat-wielding first baseman. As luck would have it, our film crew was shooting scenes in the stadium press box that very night involving an Oscar-nominated actress. As the race began, our crack camera team swung the lens towards it, capturing the event on celluloid for possible inclusion in the movie. When the Italian (why is it always Italians who get whacked?) sausage went down, most of us hadn't seen the cause, and assumed it was the result of the aerodynamically challenging costume. We actually had quite a laugh over the spill, until noticing on instant replay that it was caused by a blow to the head. Suddenly, it wasn't funny. (Okay, once we realized the sausage was unhurt, it was still a little funny.) The resultant publicity was out of the park. Suddenly, the whole nation fixated on Milwaukee and an obscure Pirate player whose command of English, and common sense, was far less proficient than his handling of a bat. Yours truly was interviewed by not only the local media, but by The New York Times. I shamelessly plugged our film, but only after expressing proper sympathy for the fallen sausage. The media hype went into fifth gear when the young lady who donned the outfit appeared on network TV, saying no hard feelings. How refreshing. Had this event occurred in Dodger Stadium, it would not have been the victim appearing before the cameras. It would have been Johnny Cochran. In the wake of the Sausage Assault, the inevitable slogans and T-shirts surfaced: "You can't beat our wieners," "Stick on a sausage," etc. But now that the clamor has died down, and Milwaukee has gone back to being a sleepy, overlooked town, we're back to filming our movie in peace. However, I'm already looking for ways to stir up a sausage scandal sequel when the movie comes out. Clearly, nothing captures the public's eye like a pirate villain and an underdog mascot. Lawrence Mitchell Garrison is an LA-based freelance publicist and writer

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