Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

News and Notes

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

News and Notes

Article excerpt

Bigger than a Beatle?

Excitement over Wallenda's walk grew so fervent in Niagara Falls this week that even a former Beatle changed his schedule to keep the spotlight squarely on Wallenda.

Ringo Starr, who is playing a gig with his All-Starr Band at the Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort in Niagara Falls, Ontario, told the Canadian news network QMI this week that he moved up the starting time of a his performance Friday evening to 7 p.m. to make way for Wallenda's walk.

"We're opening for the guy, so that's OK," joked Starr, 71, who has been at Fallsview for the past 10 days rehearsing.

Starr said he will hustle back to his hotel room to watch Wallenda on TV after his show Friday. "I don't mind. I'll play at 4 in the afternoon if you want," he said.

Starr said he was disappointed Wallenda is being forced by ABC to wear a safety harness, but he said he remains mighty intrigued by the spectacle. "And he didn't want to be tied on. They're making him, for all those good reasons. I'm not putting the guy down. That's high and dangerous. Even tied on, it's got to be freaky."

The world watches

Media interest in Wallenda's performance spans every corner of the globe, with press credential requests coming from China, Korea, Germany, Australia, the U.K. and, of course, numerous inquiries from the U.S. and Canada.

The Niagara Parks Commission says it has doled out credentials to cover the event from more than 80 media agencies, and requests were still rolling in as late as Thursday.

ABC-TV, which has exclusive American rights to broadcast the wire walk, has an estimated 100 people on site.

The commission, which manages access to the falls from the Canadian side, has been running in overdrive in the weeks leading up to tonight's walk.

More than 120,000 spectators are expected to watch the event just from the Canadian side, the commission said. "It's by far the largest event we've ever done," an employee said.

Fearlessness isn't free

The cost of Wallenda's walk topped the $1 million mark this week, and the price keeps growing each day, according to The Associated Press.

Wallenda told AP his wirewalk has cost about $1.2 million to $1.3 million so far, including fabrication and installation of the custom- made steel wire, permits and security on both sides of the border, travel, and marketing.

A deal with ABC to televise the event live during prime time Friday will offset some of his expenses, but Wallenda told AP that while ABC has offset much of the costs, the network's contributions have not covered "definitely not anywhere near all of it."

A daredevil's falls ensemble

Wallenda has selected the outfit he will wear -- and what communication equipment he will use -- as he tries to make history as the first person to wirewalk over the falls.

Wallenda will be wearing a waterproof exercise suit, jogging pants and a windbreaker, which is good since the falls will be wet and wild below him. …

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