“My Big Fat” lawsuit threat

Fox, who was previously on the offense when its sister network Fox News complained about Al Franken’s use of “fair and balanced” (Nov. 22 and links therein), now finds itself subject to a demand letter from Gold Circle Films, who complains that the title “My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiancé,” a reality prank series that ends Monday, is too similar to the 2002 movie title “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” (Sarah Hall, “Big Fat Stupid Lawsuit”, E! Online, Feb. 18). Neither the makers of the 1992 Swedish movie “My Big Fat Father” nor, to bring it full circle, Al Franken, who wrote the 1996 book “Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot,” have commented.

This is not just a 21st-century issue. Urban legend has it that a movie studio complained that the movie “A Night in Casablanca” would be confused with the more memorable Humphrey Bogart movie “Casablanca”; Groucho Marx responded (perhaps as a publicity stunt) in a letter by noting that the Marx Brothers were brothers long before Warner Brothers was using the term. “I am sure that the average movie fan could learn in time to distinguish between Ingrid Bergman and Harpo. I don’t know whether I could, but I certainly would like to try.” (Groucho Marx, 1946).

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