It is reassuring to discover that someone other than us maintains a warm spot for the 1969 film comedy "If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium," whose wry title embodied the worst aspects of breathless packaged tours as they rolled relentlessly from city to city and country to country in years past.

Remembered here as a rickety cinematic vehicle (no pun intended) for wonderful character actors such as Mildred Natwick, Murray Hamilton, Norman Fell, Marty Ingels and Peggy Cass, the movie -- for the longest time a tour operator's nightmare -- has been rescued from the revival houses and late-night cable TV to help promote vacation packages, of all things.

According to Robert Whitley, president of the U.S. Tour Operators Association, clips of "If It's Tuesday" will be shown in public service announcements "as a hook to show that today's tour operators offer a multitude of options."

The Ustoa marketing blitz also features press releases and travel fact sheets, a video created for use on daytime talk shows and an Internet-fraud-prevention program.

However, none of these is likely to generate as much hype -- not to mention potential business -- for tours operators and travel agents as an attention-getting media campaign based on a slick and successful Hollywood movie, even one that goes back 30 years.

And if this stratagem works, can we expect to see film clips from "The High and the Mighty," "The Night My Number Came Up," "Murder on the Orient-Express" and "Titanic" as other industry segments attempt to turn a celluloid negative into a positive?

Just pass the popcorn and keep an eye on the coming attractions.

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