Saturday, July 17, 2010

Dial "M" for Murgatroyd

When threatened this cat would take flight
and exit "Stage left!" on the right

But couldn't get far
with voice like Bert Lahr

who sued in a copyright fight

The voice of Hanna-Barbera's animated mountain lion Snagglepuss was created by Daws Butler. It is reminiscent of certain characterizations of comedic actor Bert Lahr, especially his Cowardly Lion for The Wizard of Oz. Along with "Exit, stage left!", another of Snagglepuss's catch phrases is "Heavens to Murgatroyd!" - a line first uttered by Lahr in the 1944 film Meet the People. Here's the story from Wikipedia: "When the character of Snagglepuss was used for a series of Kellog's cereal television commercials in the 1960s, Lahr filed a lawsuit, claiming that the similarity of the Snagglepuss voice to his own might cause viewers to falsely conclude that Lahr was endorsing the product. As part of the settlement, the disclaimer "Snagglepuss voice by Daws Butler" was required to appear on each commercial, thus making Butler one of the few voice artists to receive a screen credit in a TV commercial."

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