While the Harry Potter tour may not be so accessible for young fans in the States, studios have found other ways to satisfy American fans who want more than the celluloid experience. OTM special correspondent Frank Brindle reports.
Potter Fans on This Side of the Pond
November 15, 2002
BOB GARFIELD: Which is necessary when dealing with a crowd that demands more of its cathedrals than that they just be 700 years old, and back in America they're also demanding more than the celluloid experience. Not content with traipsing around drafty old churches, Potter fans in the States can celebrate other aspects of the Harry Potter phenomenon -- OTM special correspondent Frank Brindle has this report. [GROUP OF GIRLS IN CONVERSATION]
FRANK BRINDLE: Twelve year old Michaelina Mitchell [sp?] reaches out her tiny hand to grasp what has become the holy grail among the grade set --an official Harry Potter Nimbus 2000 Electric Broom. With the flick of a switch her imagination [SOUND OF ELECTRIC BROOM] takes flight. Then she hands the broom back to Tracy Sellivate, marketing executive for Transfo Plastics [sp?] and leader of this group of children on the Harry Potter Marketing and Licensing Tour. She explains the magic behind the magic.
TRACY SELLIVATE: So -- with manufacturing costs of 84 cents and a markup of 2000 percent we expect to be in the black if we can move 20,000 of these units by Christmas.
FRANK BRINDLE: If Michaelina and her friends thought the secret rooms and movable staircases of Hogwarts Academy were interesting, they're positively mesmerized by the identical cubicles as they go from office to office at AOL Time Warner. There they met lawyers and vendors who magically transport them into the fantastic world of tertiary income streams and aggressive copyright protection. Here Paul Finch talks about his fight against the Voldemort-like forces of unlicensed tee shirt manufacturers.
PAUL FINCH: And then we busted a sweat shop on the Lower East Side churning out 200 scarves an hour! If you look close, the striping bleeds into the next colors.
GROUP OF 12 YEAR OLD GIRLS: Eeeewww!
PAUL FINCH: Yeah. And if you want to have real nightmares, look at the pilling! 12 YEAR OLD GIRL: [LAUGHS] [SHOUTING] I want to go home!
FRANK BRINDLE: From clothing to vitamins to magical elixir bubble bath otherwise known as tap water mixed with a dash of Palmolive, the Harry Potter Licensing and Marketing Tour has it all. But one little tourist wasn't so impressed. Skyler Mastonduno.
SKYLER MASTONDUNO: I like when they let us break apart the bootlegged DVDs, and I like when they let us sit in on the conference call for cable rights. But I, I think I like the Who Moved My Cheese Tour better.
FRANK BRINDLE: [LAUGHS] Looks like someone's muggling for the camera. For On the Media, I'm Frank Brindle. [THEME MUSIC]
BOB GARFIELD: That's it for this week's show. On the Media was produced by Janeen Price and Katya Rogers with Megan Ryan; engineered by Dylan Keefe, Rob Christiansen and Irene Trudel, and edited-- by Brooke. We had help from Sharon Ball, Natasha Korgaonkar, Rex Doane and Michael Ellcessor. Our webmaster is Amy Pearl.
BROOKE GLADSTONE:Mike Pesca is our producer at large, Arun Rath our senior producer and Dean Cappello our executive producer. Bassist/composer Ben Allison wrote our theme. This is On the Media from NPR. I'm Brooke Gladstone.