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Who owns Tale of The Bunny Picnic and Ghost of Fathner Hall?

Discussion in 'Family Worlds' started by mupcollector1, Dec 30, 2012.

  1. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    One thing I wonder about is whether the two companies care about cases where minor/obscure characters were reused, which The Jim Henson Company did constantly, especially in the 1990s. Henson probably didn't keep track of what characters from what productions were being recycled (since they probably didn't anticipate selling the Muppets while remaining a seperate company). But then after the sale in 2004 there have been instances where characters that would be owned by Henson or Disney used characters from the other companies productions. I know there's some puppets used in both Henson's uppet Up and Disney's From the Balcony, which both debuted in 2005. In fact, The Muppets featured Blustering Bellowpane Monster (I don't feel like checking for correct spelling right now) from Fraggle Rock in the big crowd scene at the end.

    Even if the two companies and their lawyers don't care about ownership of the really obscure characters, I wonder if that would have changed recently, considering all the obscure characters who appear in the Boom comics (some comics have featured characters I'm sure Henson owns... And yet Disney wouldn't allow any Jim Henson Hour characters to appear in Muppet Snow White?) as well as all the obscure characters who were rebuilt for The Muppets in 2011.

    I just learned from Toughpigs' facebook page that somebody is selling a legal book/form/whatever with all the details of the Disney sale. I hope that whoever ends up buying it is one of us (by "us" I mean anybody who regularly posts on the Muppet Central forum, the Toughpigs forum, edits Muppet Wiki and/or writes articles for The Muppet Mindset). As much as I'd like to know the details, I don't think I can justify spending 200 dollars on it.

    Another thing I wonder: I would assume Disney got the rights to the Play-Along Video releases (assuming Lorimar didn't keep the rights... Considering clips from them appear in the Muppet Sing-Along opening I assume that means the rights at least reverted to Henson) with the Muppet characters. I wonder if Disney got the rights to Neat Stuff to Know and to Do, which doesn't have any major Muppet Show characters (aside from an image of Gonzo), but does star P.J. and Kai-Lee, who are featured prominiently in all the videos that do feature Muppet. Disney probably got the rights to Tale of the Bunny Picnic because of Bean Bunny, but P.J. and Kai-Lee are definately not as well-known as Bean. Rereading the thing that was posted on Tough Pigs, it's interesting how they just noted that Disney got the three broadcast episodes of Little Muppet Monsters; I would hope and expect Disney to have gotten all the episodes, aired and unaired.
     
  2. mupcollector1

    mupcollector1 Well-Known Member

    Interesting. Though what I find strange is I was talking with "Enterprise Media"
    about The Muppet Meeting Films and I was told that The Jim Henson Company still owned them. I think I asked this early last year.
     
  3. mupcollector1

    mupcollector1 Well-Known Member

    Yeah that's true about the puppets used in Puppet Up (now known as Stuffed and Unstrung for some reason) were used on From the Balcony (I loved that web series by the way, it was kind of like a revival of Muppets Tonight and hope for a future DVD release) and the new Muppet movie.

    As for the document, I'm not sure if that's even legal to buy and sell. Even with movie props and copies of movie scripts, I've learned they need to be officially authorized to sell somehow. Unrelated example, I remember buying a Ren & Stimpy animation layout drawing and it had the Nickelodeon stamp of approval certificate included even though this certain person on eBay got it when touring at Spumco studios.

    But yeah I agree with the craziness of documentation of the rights to which character because back then it was way more simple when JHC owned all of Jim's creations but now it's all split into three different companies. Basically put it, it's probably unlikely to see another Muppet Family Christmas type reunion special any time soon.

    Though which reminds me in terms of Puppet Heap, I'm not sure how big their workshop is in New Jersey or if they have a special Muppet Workshop build already or what kind of access they have in terms of puppet storage. Esspecially how most of the original Muppets and props was recently donated to the Atlanta puppetry museum (anyone with recent information on when the huge Jim Henson collection is going to me available, please let me know ASAP. I really want to go see it. :) ) I think it's certainly one of my many concerns with Puppet Heap besides the characters being slightly off model is the lack of a huge cast and gag characters. I'm not sure if it's because of terms of budget since puppet productions tend to be very expensive. I already posted a thread about trying to investigate some more research on why Disney replaced The Jim Henson Muppet Workshop with Puppet Heap as official Muppet Builders.

    So anyway from my understanding, The Jim Henson Company owns Fafner Hall and Disney owns The Tale of the Bunny Picnic. But what's interesting is in terms of Sam & Friends and Wilkins Coffee, Skoop and Skip, the pre-Muppet Show, pre-Sesame Street characters. It seems like The Jim Henson Company still owns them but they are Muppets aren't they? They are basically the first groups of Muppets. So Disney must have not have bought them which is strange. Same goes with the Land of Gorch Muppets, does NBCUniversal own the characters because of them being exclusively for SNL? I've heard rumors of Jane Henson and the John Wilkins Coffee Company fighting for the rights of Wilkins and Wontkins but I've never heard anything beyond that so I have no idea other then thinking that JHC owns them plus they did other coffee commercials around the same time Red Diamond Coffee. Also the 1960s Muppet Meeting Films for Wilson's Meats and Latroy Chow Main. Does any of the companies The Muppets did commercials for, do most of them exist? Like Eskay Meats, the Southern Bread Company with the Cernal character, etc. Breifly mentioning the Wilkins Coffee court case rumors I've heard, I've heard that the John Wilkins Coffee Company were going bankrupt and their famous coffee products weren't selling so they were going to cash in on The Muppet characters to help the company and they got in a bit of legal trouble from what I've heard.
     
  4. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    Part of me thinks that Disney owns the meeting films due to having the Muppet name in the title (and the first one prominiently features characters from The Muppet Show). I also think that's why Disney got The Muppet Musicians of Bremen, more than because of Kermit's involvement (I'd be a little surprised if it was due to the fact that three of the four main characters made occasional appearances on The Muppet Show). Of course it puzzles me that Disney got Mr. Willoby's Christmas Tree.
     
  5. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    The person who bought the legal book did a blog post showing many pages from it.
    http://boyraisin2.blogspot.com/2013/01/disney-henson-who-owns-what.html

    I've been too excited to read everything, but there is some interesting stuff mentioned. It does acknowledge that both companies have productions featuring characters used in each others productions (and perhaps owned), stating that the buyer and seller shouldn't care in those cases, with the exception of Muppet characters appearing in Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas, The Christmas Toy, or Donna's Day (no mention of Dog City, A Muppet Family Christmas, Billy Bunny's Animal Songs, or anything else).

    And it does state that Henson owns Billy Bunny's Animal Songs, and that Disney has Neat Stuff to Know and To Do but not Peek-a-Boo. And it mentions Rocky Mountain Holiday but not A Christmas Together. And there's no mention of who owns InnerTube.
     

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