Skywriting advertising stunt for ABC program vanishes into thin air

Skywriting has fascinated us ever since the Wicked Witch of the West took to the skies with her smoke-sputtering broom to send a message to Dorothy. For most of the last century, promoters and self-promoters have used cloud-puffing planes to broadcast everything from cheesy ads to marriage proposals.

For Walt Disney (DIS)'s ABC, skywriting must have looked like a natural fit to promote its alien-invasion series V, a remake of the 1980s miniseries. The network's plan was to use skywriting to puff giant red V's over landmarks in 15 U.S. cities before the show's debut on Nov. 3. Imagine -- all those mysterious airplanes, etching cryptic messages in the airspace over the Statue of Liberty -- what could go wrong?