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This seems frivolous. Evel Knievel was not the only person who did motorcycle stunts. It would make sense if they had named the character closely (like Evel Kanavel or something), but this character, which may or may not have been based on Knievel, is Duke Kaboom. Does anyone who does motorcycle stunts, real or imaginary, need to be accused of copyright infringement?
Completely agree w.r.t. Knievel being far from the only motorcycle stuntman, let alone the only one to deck himself out in endless amounts of red, white, & blue, along with the stars & stripes (hence the Canadian parody for Duke Caboom). HOWEVER, where there *is* clearly more than just a wink from Pixar here, is that the Duke Caboom toy as presented on screen appears to be a 100% copy of the overall style of the old Kenner E.K. stuntbike toy from my childhood, right down to the launching mechanism, AND the toy’s predilection to do nothing but crash awkwardly, no matter how hard a kid tried to get it to mimic the stunts as pictured in the TV commercials of the era.
The Kenner toy was a huge commercial success, and clearly, the Pixar team knew exactly what toy they were copying when creating the sequences for Toy Story. However I would think that if anyone has a gripe about this, it’s Kenner, not Evil Kneivel. While he may hold all rights to his “likeness” (and Duke Caboom obviously does *not* look like E.K.) I seriously doubt Kenner gave up the rights for the original toy’s design to E.K.
If I were a betting man, I’d wager that Pixar *did* reach out to Kenner during the development of this movie in order to be safe. Safe not from E.K.’s ego, but from Kenner’s lawyers.
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