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Mickey's smoking up the Internet

By DAVE GUSSOW

© St. Petersburg Times, published August 31, 1998


Mickey Rooney, perennial star of stage, screen and -- now, at age 77 -- the World Wide Web.

The veteran trooper has signed on with Reliant Interactive Media Corp. of Clearwater for its CigarNow.com Web site (http://www.cigarnow.com), which is under construction. Rooney will promote the company through trade shows, online chats, and his photo and voice on the site. The company will feature Rooney's line of cigars, the "World's Greatest Cigar."

"He says it's the World's Greatest Cigar because it is," said company spokesman Jay Winchester. "Who am I to argue with a Hollywood legend?"

Cigars will be the star of Reliant's early marketing and sales efforts in what it hopes will be a lifestyle products niche. A TV show, Smokin' Lifestyles, made its debut Saturday (airing at 10:30 a.m. Saturdays on Channel 66 in Tampa). Also planned is an Internet radio show and eventually a print magazine, Winchester said.

Rooney, who once performed at the now-defunct Showboat Dinner Theatre in Largo, will make another appearance in the bay area next month in the Wizard of Oz at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center.

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