Evel Knievel’s son has failed in his attempt to sue the producers of the Toy Story 4 animated film over claims a character in the box office smash infringed on that of the late daredevil stunt performer.
Kelly Knievel took Disney, Pixar and other companies associated with the making of Toy Story 4 – the most recent flick in the hugely successful franchise – to court over claims it infringed on intellectural property rights associated with Evel Knievel.
The case centred around the use of a character – well, toy – Duke Caboom, voiced by gravelly toned motorcycle enthusiast (and A list celebrity we’re told) Keanu Reeves, which mimics similar-looking merchandise for kids that played on Evel Knievel’s profile in the 1970s.
In the film Duke Caboom talks a big game but actually – in a typical nudge, nudge, wink, wink Disney Pixar way – turns out to be a bit naff with his limited of-its-time capability to take off and not land properly. Don’t worry, he still plays his part in a heroic way in the end, it’s Toy Story after all.
Under his K&K Productions company, he says all rights to Evel Knievel’s name and brand belong with him and was seeking $375,000 in relief because Duke Caboom was an imitation under a different name.
However, Nevada federal court judge James C Mahan threw out the claim, saying there was no deliberate purpose by Disney to confuse Duke Caboom with Evel Knievel, adding it didn’t imply endorsement or association to Knievel’s stunts, jumpsuits and products.
While it doesn’t take a genius of a certain age to recognise the homage to Evel Knievel in the character – and the cheeky suggestion he is a Canadian version – it is noted that it would only be relevant to adults, with the children the film is targeted unlikely to related Duke Caboom to anything that has come before.