The enduring appeal of the Tampa Bay area's famous disabled dolphin
Granted, Winter is not a person. But not every dolphin that happens to lose its tail becomes a global phenom and marketing marvel. Winter delivered a tourism mega-boost to both an aging Clearwater Marine Aquarium and all of Pinellas County. Winter's appeal planted many thousands of seats in theaters (and in front of TVs with DVDs) to enjoy the Dolphin Tale movie — and soon, its sequel. And it was Winter that underpinned a campaign that so successfully won over Clearwater voters last month to move ahead with a multimillion-dollar campaign for a new aquarium on Clearwater's downtown waterfront. The original TV dolphin, Flipper, would nod in approval. In business lingo, Winter proved even a dolphin can "flip" celebrity into serious economic clout.
And to think all this started with a story in the newspaper that went on to be a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.