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UPDATE: Dreamworks to acquire Classic Media

UPDATE 7/23: It’s official! The Wall Street Journal has reported that Dreamworks is paying $155 million to acquire Classic Media LLP, owners of numerous cartoon stars and iconic intellectual properties.

Classic Media will now operate under the name DreamWorks Classics and co-Chief Executives Eric Ellenbogen and John Engelman will remain as co-heads, though the exact organizational structure is still being sorted out.

According to The New York Times, Dreamworks Animation has made an offer to acquire Classic Media – the owners of UPA, the Harvey Comics library (Casper, Richie Rich, etc), Roger Ramjet, Underdog and Total Television properties, The Lone Ranger and many Rankin-Bass specials including Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer. Classic Media also represents many intellectual properties owned by others including Jay Ward shows (Rocky & Bullwinkle, George of the Jungle, etc.), Felix The Cat and Archie.

I, for one, would like to see Dreamworks Animation complete this deal. It’s good business for Dreamworks and it could be a good home for the characters. Certainly better than the hands they’re in now. It’s debatable how well Classic Media did licensing its properties throughout the years. Their handling of DVD releases of its classic material was particularly irritating. The company’s track record of making new movies from its classic properties (think Underdog, or the upcoming Johnny Depp Lone Ranger movie) was troubling.

Dear Jeffrey,

Good luck acquiring Classic Media. I hope you succeed.

I understand you are planning a Dreamworks theme park in New Jersey – these characters will augment the stars of Shrek, Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda you’ll have running around there. I look forward to seeing Casper’s Haunted Mansion, exploring Richie Rich’s Enchanted Money Vault, and taking a spin on Mister Magoo’s Wild Ride. Should be fun!

I also look forward to seeing CGI, 48-frames-per-second, 3D versions of Go-Go Gophers, Tennesse Tuxedo and Baby Huey – but I hope you will consider releasing UPA’s Boing Boing Show on DVD (or for download) and restoration of the Harveytoons with their original credits and titles.

You will have an incredibly rich library with dozens of strong, pre-sold properties with famous name characters that are beloved by millions. If you take good care of them and treat them right, you will be rewarded with more than just my gratitude. They’ll repay Dreamworks back many times over. If there is anything I can do to help, please let me know.


Jerry Beck