Florida Bar News, April 1, 1996

flabarn040196.JPG Was there ever a time when Alex Trebek and "Jeopardy" (my wife's favorite TV show) weren't around? I worked for a long time on "Jeopardy" gags and finally came up with this one, which I thought was pretty good. I spent a lot of time wording the caption "just right", and even tried to make the character look reasonably like Mr. Trebek.

However, my opinion of the worthiness of the gag wasn't shared by the cartoon editors -- the cartoon was soundly rejected everywhere, until the Florida Bar News finally took it on. I'm still disappointed that it didn't get a bigger audience.


I guess I am always interested in the behind-the-scenes part of the cartooning business - - I do not remember ever seeing this cartoon but I like it very much. Is Alex Trebek enough in the public domain that you can use him in a cartoon without worry that the Jeopardy people will take offense? Could you have made an even more exact drawing of him without fear of being sued for copyright infringement or the like? How about drawing other cartoon characters (i.e. Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes) - - can you draw those freely? I thought of Calvin and Hobbes because it used to be my favorite strip and I remember that its creator (Bill Watterson?) did not license his characters to be used on any merchandise - - they would be drawn anyway on t-shirts and the like but I would always know that they were semi-illegal. Looking forward to hearing what you have to say about my ramblings.

Does this mean that you've finally got your new computer working, Gary -- or are you still struggling with the old one? To partially answer some of your questions: 1)What possible offense could Jeopardy take to this cartoon? If anything, it's a positive comment on the nature of the show. 2) I'm sure I could have tried for a better likeness of Alex Trebek without fear of recrimination. 3) As for drawing other cartoon characters, such as those you mentioned, my feeling is that as long as it is done in a favorable manner, not insulting or defamatory, then anything goes. And it has been done innumerable times by many cartoonists. Why not? Isn't imitation still the sincerest form of flattery? Now please let me know if you hear otherwise, okay?

That IS a shame it didn't get a wider audience. That is some solid material!

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