On Thursday afternoon the crack team of producers and legal
advisors decided that the characters of Batman, Superman, Gumby and Bozo had to be written
out of the script. The problem is the spectre of a trademark infringement suit.
Not that the lawyers don't think the filmmakers could use the characters, fairly, and
win any lawsuit thrown at them. The problem, of course, is that a lawsuit would tie up the
picture, and defending it would cost them time and money.
Which means Batman, Superman, Gumby and Bozo are out of the picture. And lines like
Menu Mans, "What about you, Superman? I dont know how to price your
meal," have to be rewritten. With new jokes, since the old ones played off the
incongruities of the known characters.
The line, "What about you, Chickenhead? I dont know how to price your
meal," just doesnt play the same.
Which means that Jon is going to spend the weekend
rewriting all the scenes in which Gary the Clown (whose name, by the way, is also going to
change -- to Eddie) appears, in order to incorporate the new costumes.
Maryann helps Joseph become Spartacus
A bit too flashy, perhaps...
Which means that new costumes must be found, costumes that suggest new jokes to replace
the old jokes. From what I saw Friday morning at Abracadabra, a huge, sprawling magic and
costume shop in New Yorks Flatiron district, which I visited with Maryann and Joseph,
that isn't going to be a problem.
Its too soon to know which way theyre going to go, but we all agree that
Joseph as Mr. Bumble Bee is pretty sad. Of course, Donovan could be a whole 'nother story.
Joseph gets a buzz
"Hey, you -- gingersnap!"
So, the final question is: Will we miss those overmarketed symbols of the abuse
of intellectual property and sequel rights? My guess is not particularly. You may think
the Nixon mask love scene in The Ice Storm was a riot, but it's easy to
imagine the scene being just as funny (and bittersweet, too) if Ms. Ricci had been wearing
a football helmet (even one without a NFL or NCAA logo).