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It's Handy Manny to the rescue at the 2009 Licensing Show

It's Handy Manny to the rescue at the 2009 Licensing Show

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It’s Day One of the Licensing International Expo 2009 in Las Vegas. And The Walt Disney Company has a big problem.

You see, the Disney booth is supposed to be ablaze with color. But someone must have screwed up the wiring. Which is why – as attendees enter the Mandalay Bay convention center – they’re walking by a dark grey booth.

Disney booth Licensing Show Las Vegas
Photo by Jim Hill

Andy Mooney, Chairman of Disney Consumer Products, and Rich Ross, President of Disney Channels Worldwide were clearly bummed that Disney’s booth was on the fritz.

Disney Booth Licensing Show Las Vegas
(L to R) Andy Mooney & Rich Ross. Photo by Jim Hill

Which is why it was lucky for Andy & Rich that Wilmer Valderrama happened to be in town.

Disney Booth Licensing Show Las Vegas 2009
(L to R) Andy Mooney, Rich Ross & Wilmer Valderrama. Photo by Jim Hill

This “70s Show” star knew exactly who to call in order to clear up Disney’s electrical issues: Handy Manny.

Handy Manny and Wilmer Valderama at the Disney booth
Photo by Jim Hill

With the help of his trusty tools, Manny quickly figured out what the problem was (i.e. someone had forgotten to  plug the Disney booth in).

Handy Manny Plugs in the Disney Booth in Las Vegas
Photo by Jim Hill

Then – working together – Andy, Rich, Wilmer & Manny hammered on the power button.

Handy Manny at the Disney Booth in Las Vegas
Photo by Jim Hill

And soon the Disney booth at the 2009 Licensing International Expo was awash with light & color.

Disney Booth Licensing Show Las Vegas 2009
Photo by Jim Hill

With projections that featured Tiana (i.e. the title character from “The Princess and the Frog”) in her first-ever public appearance with her fellow Disney Princesses.

Disney Booth Licensing Show Las Vegas
Photo by Jim Hill

Okay. I know. What was described above was basically a silly publicity stunt that was used to open the Disney booth at this year’s Licensing Show.

Wilmer Valderama and Handy Manny
Photo by Jim Hill

And the Mouse’s marketing types then used this grip-and-grin opportunity to announce Disney’s plans to expand the Handy Manny franchise. Including the news that not only did this hit multicultural animated preschool series just get picked up for a third season, but the first of two primetime specials – “Handy Manny’s Motorcycle Adventure” -- will air this fall. In addition, the Disney Channel has just put into production a new short-form series built around this same set of characters, "Handy Manny's School for Tools." These 20 new animated shorts will begin airing as part of the Playhouse Disney programming block sometime in 2010.

Wilmer Valderama
Photo by Jim Hill

As for Mr. Valderrama … He seemed pleased that The Walt Disney Company had really gotten behind the “Handy Manny” franchise. Speaking with reporters on the convention center floor, Wilmer talked about how he had been in a hit primetime TV series and done movies. But – that said – nothing beats the thrill of having little kids shyly come up to him and ask “Are you really Handy Manny?” And then watching their eyes go wide when Valderrama does the character’s voice.

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