The Aqua Teen Bomb Scare was 15 years ago today

Originally published at: The Aqua Teen Bomb Scare was 15 years ago today | Boing Boing


Cluelessness about pop culture + cluelessness about technology + “because 9/11” = an embarrassing debacle for the municipal authorities in Boston. Seven years later, they were still looking for high-tech devices out of a bad action movie instead of a pressure cooker left by the side of the road by a couple of arseholes.


Didn’t the bomb in some early James Bond movie have a Nixie tube countdown display?

Is that why every cop on every force thinks that blinking lights == bomb?


Boston also detonated a transportation department traffic inventory device because they decided it was a bomb. Boston has a history of not being too bright.


Hah, similar experience for me. I was in class in Boston at the time and I think only a handful of other people showed up. IIRC we found about the police misjudgement within a couple of hours and it was the running joke for a long while. A few people I knew went on the hunt to see if they could snag one of the signs (no luck). “This is not a bomb” was a joke sticker that started popping up everywhere shortly after.


Maybe it’s tomorrow for you but it took place January 31, not January 30, 2007; it was a Wednesday.

Mooninite drawn in LEDs with message 1-31-07 Never Forget.


After a 15-year-long tenure at Turner, Adamovich moved to a new role as the CEO of the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame in 2016.

Maybe the weirdest bit of all.





The whole absurdity of this incident is something that would make the ATHF writers step back and think, “nah that’s just too weird.” And these are people who came up with the idea of a fly/brownie hybrid monster a-la The Fly and a possessed sandwich not to mention the overall premise of a TV show about the adventures of a sentient anthropomorphic box of French fries, milkshake, and wad of meat.


Transplants from Florida? I thought that the migration went the other way.



The whole “guerilla marketing” thing is just finding ways to covertly insert ads into public spaces without paying for the privilege.


Given this, the authority’s ability to identify real IEDs must be pretty poor. Unless they have blinking lights/countdown timers (which real IEDs don’t have), then they are likely to be ignored.
Just like a pressure cooker.


I worked at Cartoon Network Studios when this happened. An unintended consequence of all this is Jim Samples’ sudden departure resulted in an unplanned replacement of CN’s management. The new management, as they are wont to do, wiped old management’s development slate clean and found themselves scrambling for new original content. One of the first things they did was order Adventure Time, an existing pilot developed at but passed on by Nickelodeon years prior. The rest is history, but it was the ATHF attacks of 1/31 that jarred us onto the weird alternate CN timeline we are on now. It probably would not have happened otherwise.


I submitted this assuming it would publish tomorrow, not today! I also don’t know why I went with a Monday and not a Wednesday but it was definitely Courtney O’Connor’s Directing 1 class on Monday-Wednesday for me.


This is one of the stories I never thought The History Guy would cover.

Fun fact - I wore a Mooninite shirt when my kiddo was born.

Finally read the article. A couple notes.

For the first few weeks after the devices were installed, everything went as planned. Then, on Jan. 31, 2007 at 8:05 a.m.

I never knew (or I had since forgot) that these devices had been in place for literally weeks before someone saw one and freaked out. :person_facepalming:

The GM of Cartoon Network taking the fall was a classy thing to do.

“And when they do and it goes horribly wrong, as the leader of the organization you could pay the ultimate price for that, which I did.” He adds, “I felt a deep sense of responsibility. I was worried about my team members getting fired. And I was not willing to point fingers at individuals.”

He could have easily thrown other people under the bus for this. What a mensch.

Maiellaro and Willis currently are working on a new ATHF movie, which will come out later this year.

Key And Peele Nfl GIF


Close, that’s an edge-lit display.
The thing about this scene is that THERE’S A BOMB IN IT, not just the countdown timer.


I will always love how the press dutifully copied the the Boston Police’s language of calling this marketing stunt a “hoax”, and then all the very important people being very upset for being foolish.