Thursday, January 16, 2020

The TODAY show of NBC began on January 14, 1952

The Today show on NBC, hosted by Dave Garroway, first was shown on television on Monday, January 14, 1952.
The first variant had poor ratings, but on February 3, 1953, Garroway's "co-host" became a chimpanzee named
J. Fred Muggs.

MAD Magazine in issue No. 26, published November 1955, did a parody, in which the Garroway character [ "Garrowunway" ] is
finally replaced by the chimpanzee character ["Gluggs"]. Muggs literally painted the cover of Mad No. 38 published March 1958.

In terms of legal issues, when the contract of Muggs was terminated, his handlers, Mennella and Waldron, sued an employee of NBC, for ruining the chimps career. As to the appellate disposition of this case, see: Muggs Associates v. Auerbach, Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York, First Department, Feb 6, 1962 15 A.D.2d 743 (N.Y. App. Div. 1962)

The problem between Muggs Associates and Auerbach arose because Auerbach was warning potential investors in Muggs Associates that NBC/Auerbach held a copyright and proprietary interest in certain works involving J. Fred Muggs.

Procedurally, Muggs Associates filed a complaint in New York Supreme Court, New York County, Special Term, part I, seeking among other things, a declaratory judgment that Auerbach had no intellectual property interest in certain (proposed) films involving J. Fred Muggs. Auerbach moved to dismiss the complaint but the Special Term judge denied the motion and scheduled trial. Auerbach appealed.

The appellate brief for Auerbach/NBC, done by Albert Brodkin in December 1961, reveals some interesting intellectual property issues. The copyright matters in this case were under common law, not under federal statutory copyright law. Brodkin relied heavily on Palmer v. DeWitt, 47 N.Y. 532. There is a quote of Justice Holmes and a reference to a Mark Twain case. An important factual issue was that the complaint never stated, as a matter of fact, that Brodkin had no intellectual property interest.

Auerbach prevailed on appeal. The reported decision states:

However, there is no allegation that the defendant [Auerbach] does not have such a copyright and proprietary interest.
While the complaint does allege that the plaintiff is the "owner" of the proposed series of shows,
such allegation is not the equivalent of an allegation that the defendant has no "copyright or proprietary interest" therein.
Absent such an allegation the complaint must fall.

By the time of the appellate decision, both Muggs and Garroway (who left TODAY on June 16, 1961) were no longer on TODAY. Garroway did appear on the 30th anniversary show of TODAY, on January 14, 1982

As to the time period, on Tuesday, February 6, 1962, the national news slots for both Cronkite and Huntley/Brinkley were 15 minutes long, beginning at 7:15pm. CBS ruled Tuesday night television, with Red Skelton, Jack Benny, and Gary Moore. ["The Beverly Hillbillies" was the number one show.] John Glenn would become the first US astronaut to orbit the earth, two weeks later, on February 20, 1962.

Also, the classic episode of The Twilight Zone "The Shelter" first aired on September 29, 1961. Construction of the Berlin Wall began August 13, 1961.

See also 7 AD2d 633:

Carmine Mennella et al., as Copartners Doing Business under the Name of J. Fred Muggs Enterprises, Respondents, v. Dave Garroway et al., Appellants

Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, First Department.

November 25, 1958

Order unanimously affirmed, with $20 costs and disbursements to the respondents.

No opinion.

AND 8 A.D.2d 800 (1959)

****Recall back in May 2019

“Alfred E. Neuman cannot become president of the United States,” the president told POLITICO in a 15-minute telephone interview, when asked what he thought of the South Bend, Ind., mayor. Neuman’s freckled, gap-toothed face and oversized ears have for decades graced the cover of the humor magazine Mad.


"I’ll be honest. I had to Google that," he said. "I guess it’s just a generational thing. I didn’t get the reference. It's kind of funny, I guess. But he’s also the president of the United States and I’m surprised he’s not spending more time trying to salvage this China deal." (Trade talks between the U.S. and China in Washington ended Friday without an agreement, raising the prospect of an extended tariff war.)



Mad took advantage of the exchange on Twitter, retweeting posts from fans saying they would never vote for a person who doesn’t know who Alfred E. Neuman is.


for humor:


Post a Comment

<< Home