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August 2001, Week 4


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Donald Larsson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Sun, 26 Aug 2001 11:00:10 -0500
TEXT/PLAIN (40 lines)
Murray comments:

> Readers might be interested to know that in the arcane
> business of motion picture scripting and copyrighting, it is
> not only an aspiring actor who is forbidden by law to take
> on an "already-owned" name, as in the case of poor
> James-Stewart-who-had-to-become-Stewart-Granger.  The legal
> department of the Hollywood studio, at least during the
> 1950s but I'm quite sure beyond that in both directions,
> made certain you were being proper even when you named a
> character.  You couldn't simply pick up a character name
> used in another film, of course; but you often couldn't
> simply pick up a character name from somebody in real life,
> either.  One of the people (I was going to say "ironically
> enough" but there were so many of them, I suspect, there's
> no real irony here) who had this kind of trouble routinely
> was, you guessed it, Alfred Hitchcock.

Well, lawyers do need to make a living!

On a somewhat more serious note, this kind of thing has afflicted
fiction writers from time to time as well.  Sinclair Lewis was
apparently bothered by his editor to ensure that various Babbitts would
not take umbrage with his eponymous novel and even Nathaniel Hawthorne
was plagued by real-life Pynchons (some ancestors of Thomas) for the
Pyncheon family in THE HOUSE OF SEVEN GABLES.

Don Larsson
(who did *not* pitch a perfect game in the '56 World Series)
Donald F. Larsson
English Department, AH 230
Minnesota State University
Mankato, MN  56001

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