Cartoon Culture

“I don’t have SpongeBob. I have SquishyGuy.”

Bill Presing

There was a funny story in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal (link to article on another site) about how companies that provide costumed characters for birthday parties are finding creative ways of bypassing trademark laws and creating new characters that look almost like their famous counterparts. So SpongeBob is now “SquishyGuy” and Elmo is “Big Red Tickle Monster.” According to the article, the results aren’t always entirely successful:

Miriam Sorkin, an office manager in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., threw a fourth-birthday party for her daughter in May and arranged for a costumed impersonator of Dora the Explorer. Though the walk-about “Dora” had the expected pageboy haircut and backpack, her expression was blank and her legs appeared out of proportion to the rest of her body. “When Dora came out,” Mrs. Sorkin says, “none of the kids would go to Dora, including my daughter, and a few of the kids started crying.”