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Old 08-29-2000, 02:34 PM
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Minnie the Moocher


Who were Jazzbo, Minnie the Moocher, and Freddie the Freeloader? Are these names copyrighted or can they be used as characters by anyone, writing a novel for instance?
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Old 08-29-2000, 02:41 PM
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Ukulele Ike's on vacation this week, so I'll have to jump in here. Minnie the Moocher was a song based on an earlier folk song,

"Here's the story 'bout Willie the Weeper,
Willie was a chimney-sweeper.
He had the dope habit and he had it bad
Lemmee tell you 'bout the dreams he had . . ."

Lyda Roberti sang "Minnie the Moocher" in a B'way show around 1930, then Cab Calloway had a hit record:

"Folks, now here's the story of Minnie the Moocher,
She was a red-hot hoochie-coocher . . . "

It goes on about her "cokey" boyfriend, Smokey Joe, and how he taught her how to "kick the gong around." I think the lyrics are copywrited under ASCAP, but you'd be safe using the name itself.
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Old 08-29-2000, 02:51 PM
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IIRC, Freddie the Freeloader was a character created by Red Skelton; a tramp of some sort. I have no idea if it is copywritten or even copywritable. Probably not something you want to use as his estate my consider it his intellectual property. Can't help you out on Jazzbo.
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Old 08-29-2000, 02:52 PM
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Freddy the Freeloader was a character created by the late, great comedian Red Skelton. Freddy was a hobo, with something of a combination between Emmett Kelly and Charlie Chaplin's Tramp, and the routines were almost always silent (usually slapstick with a little pathos/bathos).
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Old 08-29-2000, 03:12 PM
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I knew a hooker once, named Minnie Mizzola...


[sorry, I've seen the Blues Brothers way too many times]
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Old 08-29-2000, 03:15 PM
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(Groucho Marx in "A Night at the Opera")

"Pay thousands of dollars to hear Lazzaro sing? Why for two bits you can get a recording of "Minnie the Moocher". (beat) "For another two bits you can get Minnie."
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Old 08-29-2000, 03:32 PM
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Minnie, Freddy, et al


To return to the OP, I would avoid using the names as much for fear of confusion as copyright infringement. I doubt that copyright can really be applied to something like a song title - certainly book titles have been duplicated in the past - but characters may be another story. Just try calling yourself "Mickey Mouse" and see how long it takes for the Disney lawyers to beat a path to your door.
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Old 08-29-2000, 03:49 PM
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"Just try calling yourself "Mickey Mouse" and see how long it takes for the Disney lawyers to beat a path to your door."

Ah, but by then you will have built a better mousetrap . . .
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Old 08-29-2000, 04:56 PM
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. . . but characters may be another story. Just try calling yourself "Mickey Mouse" and see how long it takes for the Disney lawyers to beat a path to your door.
IANAL, but I don't believe that those characters are (or can be) copyrighted--they're trademarked. And I seriously doubt that Minnie, Freddy or Jazzbo were ever trademarked as characters.
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Old 05-04-2019, 01:35 PM
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"Just try calling yourself "Mickey Mouse" and see how long it takes for the Disney lawyers to beat a path to your door."

Ah, but by then you will have built a better mousetrap . . .
In high school I knew a kid named Donald Duck.

JUNIOR.

Always felt sorry for the kid
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Old 05-04-2019, 01:51 PM
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Hm. Seor Joey Jo-Jo Junior Shabadoo, Jr., anyone?
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Old 05-04-2019, 01:59 PM
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In high school I knew a kid named Donald Duck.

JUNIOR.

Always felt sorry for the kid
Moderating

anomalous4, welcome to the boards. In General Questions, we prefer that old threads not be resurrected except to contribute new factual information. Since this does not, I'm closing it.

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Old 05-04-2019, 02:19 PM
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Thread reopened by request, and moved to Cafe Society.

Please note this thread is old enough to vote.
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Old 05-04-2019, 02:30 PM
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There's a Miles Davis song called Freddie Freeloader, which came out in 1959; seems the Red Skelton character dates to 1952. I doubt Miles Davis named his song after a Red Skelton character; maybe they were both drawing on some other cultural referent. Either way I'm not aware of any legal controversy about Davis using the name.
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Old 05-04-2019, 02:39 PM
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Who were Jazzbo,
I'm not sure this is who the OP was referring to, but Al "Jazzbo" Collins was briefly the host of the Tonight Show in 1957 between Steve Allen and Jack Parr.
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Old 05-04-2019, 02:42 PM
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I see there's a good quality copy of Betty Boop's Minnie the Moocher cartoon on Youtube. This contains the earliest film footage of Cab Calloway, first live at the beginning of the cartoon, and then later bizarrely rotoscoped onto the body of an animated walrus ghost.
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Old 05-04-2019, 02:58 PM
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I see there's a good quality copy of Betty Boop's Minnie the Moocher cartoon on Youtube. This contains the earliest film footage of Cab Calloway, first live at the beginning of the cartoon, and then later bizarrely rotoscoped onto the body of an animated walrus ghost.
One of my favorite cartoons. Completely surreal. I think Max Fleischer must have been kicking the gong around* too.

Interesting to see that Betty Boop's parents are German, even though she was originally a dog like Bimbo (not a dog-like bimbo).

*Smoking opium (from Chinatown opium dens where you struck a gong to order another pipe).

Last edited by Colibri; 05-04-2019 at 03:02 PM.
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Old 05-05-2019, 01:12 AM
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I've got his Chronological Classics set and he has at least three songs about Minnie. Minnie the Moocher, Swing for Minnie, and Minnie the Moocher's Wedding Day. Then there's the film he did, Hi-De-Ho, in which Minnie is an actual character.
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Old 05-05-2019, 02:29 AM
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Back in the 80s, my parents, aware that my new bride had been turning me into a fan of jazz gave me a VHS cassette of Hi De Ho.

It was horrifyingly racist (from my 80s perspective), but I don’t suppose the producers ever contemplated it being viewed by white folks.
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Old 05-05-2019, 01:30 PM
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Back in the 80s, my parents, aware that my new bride had been turning me into a fan of jazz gave me a VHS cassette of Hi De Ho.

It was horrifyingly racist (from my 80s perspective), but I dont suppose the producers ever contemplated it being viewed by white folks.
Cab Callaway must have been fairly popular amongst whites considering the the fact was featured in several Betty Boop cartoons.
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Old 05-05-2019, 02:10 PM
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Cab Callaway must have been fairly popular amongst whites considering the the fact was featured in several Betty Boop cartoons.
I think Max Fleischer was appreciative of black musicians and music, as he also featured Louis Armstrong and even Popeye was a pretty decent scat singer.
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Old 05-05-2019, 02:14 PM
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Who were Jazzbo, Minnie the Moocher, and Freddie the Freeloader? Are these names copyrighted or can they be used as characters by anyone, writing a novel for instance?
So long as there might be people reading this, I think it’s worth emphasizing that a name by itself—whether a real person’s name, a character’s name, or the name/title of a work of expression such as a film, song, book, or photograph—is not protected by copyright law.
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Old 05-05-2019, 02:29 PM
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Who were Jazzbo, Minnie the Moocher, and Freddie the Freeloader? Are these names copyrighted or can they be used as characters by anyone, writing a novel for instance?
Names and titles cannot be copyrighted. Characters can be, though not every character qualifies for copyright protection. The character has to be sufficiently fleshed out, so stock characters (like the Drunk Redneck or the Bad Boy) don't qualify.

Unless the name is trademarked, you can use it as a character name (even if it is trademarked, you're likely ok using it). But you can't use the character, not even if you change the name.

You can have your own character who merely shares the name (see the two Harry Potters in the first Troll movie).

In short (and assuming you're still around to read this), your Jazzbo can like jazz, your Minnie the Moocher can be a moocher, and your Freddie the Freeloader can be a freeloader (I mean, hell, it's right there in the names), but keep other similarities to a minimum, lest you infringe on the copyright of the original characters. Though it's entirely possible that the copyright has long since lapsed on any or all of them, since you used to have to renew your registration every so often and many people didn't bother.

As always, but especially since you're using the names of three known, somewhat related characters, run your final draft past a qualified attorney.

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Old 05-05-2019, 02:30 PM
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I see there's a good quality copy of Betty Boop's Minnie the Moocher cartoon on Youtube. This contains the earliest film footage of Cab Calloway, first live at the beginning of the cartoon, and then later bizarrely rotoscoped onto the body of an animated walrus ghost.
Now ya'll, that's one well-wrapped toothbrush.
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Old 05-05-2019, 02:33 PM
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Cab Callaway must have been fairly popular amongst whites considering the the fact was featured in several Betty Boop cartoons.
Cab Calloway was very popular with white audiences, heading one of the house bands (the other being Duke Ellington's) at the Cotton Club in Harlem, which black performers but the audience was restricted to whites. Calloway also had an NBC radio program and appeared in regular movies.
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Old 05-05-2019, 08:18 PM
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Cab Calloway was very popular with white audiences, heading one of the house bands (the other being Duke Ellington's) at the Cotton Club in Harlem, which black performers but the audience was restricted to whites. Calloway also had an NBC radio program and appeared in regular movies.
...and the audiences in Hi-Di-Ho were all black. And at the climactic scene where Cab shoots the (black) mob boss, two (black) cops rush in and say nothing but “Good riddance to bad rubbish” (that’s verbatim) and send him off to the nightclub to do his show (the finale of which has a preacher come on stage and perform a wedding). The whole film is available on YouTube; you can check it out for yourself, if you dare.

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Old 05-05-2019, 08:19 PM
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Thread reopened by request, and moved to Cafe Society.
Youre taking your orders from Minnie the Moocher, now?

Times have certainly changed since I was a moderator around here.
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Old 05-06-2019, 12:15 AM
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...and the audiences in Hi-Di-Ho were all black.
I never said they weren't. My point was that Calloway didn't just appear in "race" films like that one. (Checking IMDB, it looks like he only made a couple at most.) As I said, he was quite popular with white audiences and appeared in other movies with mostly white casts (usually as a bandleader, to be sure).

Quote:
And at the climactic scene where Cab shoots the (black) mob boss, two (black) cops rush in and say nothing but “Good riddance to bad rubbish” (that’s verbatim) and send him off to the nightclub to do his show (the finale of which has a preacher come on stage and perform a wedding).
Doesn't sound any more implausible than the plots of a lot of B-movies from the 1930s and 1940s.

Last edited by Colibri; 05-06-2019 at 12:16 AM.
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Old 05-06-2019, 12:15 AM
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Youre taking your orders from Minnie the Moocher, now?
It was Jazzbo, if you must know.
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Old 05-06-2019, 09:45 PM
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It was Jazzbo, if you must know.
Nah, I dont really care.

Cab Calloway also appeared in International House, a 1933 pre-code comedy film, in a non-race role. His band plays Reefer Man.

The film also includes the great line from W.C. Fields, upon landing his autogyro in Wuhu, China...Is this Kansas City MISSURAH, or Kansas City KANSAS?

Also the great (pre-code) scene where Fields and Peggy Hopkins Joyce get into a car and Joyce says Agghhh!....what am I SITTING on? and Fields pulls a cat out from under her and says Pussy.
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Old 05-07-2019, 09:23 AM
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I watched the Blues Brothers DVD with some people who had never heard of Cab Calloway. They loved the Aretha song, but just flipped out when Minnie the Moocher came on. Absolutely entranced. It's a good song to introduce people to early 1900's music.

If you can notice the musicians behind Calloway, you can tell that they are absolutely thrilled to be playing for him.
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