Why did Helen Kane lose her lawsuit against Max Fleischer?
#110806. Asked by serpa. (Nov 16 09 1:00 PM)
In a nutshell:|
The decision was handed down on May 5, 1934. Kane’s suit was denied on the basis “the plaintiff had failed to sustain either cause of action by proof of sufficient probative action.” Kane and her attorney vowed to file an appeal, but never did.
More detail here -
On March 6, 1934, “The New York Times” reported that Kane “sails east to her trial in four weeks against Max Fleischer. Besides the previously known demands, Kane wants an accounting of the profits from the Paramount cartoon releases.” Kane was suing for unfair competition and imitation and sought the amount of $250,000. The trial began in April and concluded in May.
At the heart of the argument was just how much of the success of the Betty Boop cartoons could be traced to the spit curls and singing style of Helen Kane. On April 18, the “Times” reported that Max took three young women to court with him who had performed the Betty Boop voice who testified that they had made “no effort to imitate Miss Kane.”
In the April 20, 1934 “Times” story, Max “declared that his character is a figment of his imagination and that the hair dress of Betty Boop also was developed by himself and was in imitation of Miss Kane.” Fleischer had a lot to lose if Kane won the case, and his testimony, clearly a lie, was an effort to keep the lucrative Betty Boop character and to prevent further actions by Kane.
On April 23, Supreme Court Justice Edward S. McGoldrick viewed a Helen Kane sound film with two songs and then watched two Betty Boop cartoons. The “Times” reported McGoldrick was told that out of 46 Boop cartoons 66 songs were sung and of those only four had previously been performed by Kane. McGoldrick saw more footage of Kane on April 24.
Great question, serpa!
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