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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Grand illusion » » Whats in a name? "ShaZzam!" (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Blair Marshall
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I find it interesting to hear everyone going on about rights, proprietary moves etc. etc. Take a read...

Four years ago I purchased the "ShaZzam!' show from Lee Edwards, this was brokered by Norm Nielson, this included the entire show including the use of the name.
This was announced in many of the magic trade journals and on-line. Rights for the name were paid for. It has been in constant use since the creator, John Daniel (illusionist, designer, former partner in Owens Magic) produced the show in the late 60s'. John, Lee and I have spoken, and the succession of the name is clear. Other professionals such as Abb Dickson, Mike Caveney, Rick Walker also concur. I am constantly advertising. If you search for "ShaZzam!" on 90% + of search engines, you will hit my site. Close to 40 years of continuous use!!!

Imagine my surprise when I do a tour once in awhile of the net and find other shows starting up and using the same name. Too bad they don't investigate and try to be original. All it would take is quick look on the web!!! (But one comment concerning one such show, is that this same person has no qualms about lifting equipment design from others either, and letting on it is his own.)

Could I protect the name??? I could copyright, but am I willing to spend big $$$ in an international lawsuit??? I think not. Original trademark law has it that an original user of a name, on a specific product, has the initial rights to the name in an area, and this will hold up in court up here. Unless you are up against someone who has tied up all the angles. But deliberate "lifting" is looked at. Look at websites that are registered using a stars' name, but not by them or people acting on their behalf. These individuals are having to give them up.

Why this has started to irk me, is that I am being asked if I am producing/supporting/bankrolling any of these productions, or web sites. I am not, and neither am I responsible for any debts or liabilities they incur!!!

I would ask if you should run into anyone using the "ShaZzam!" name in conjunction with a magic/illusion show that you indicate that they mustn't be very original, and they do not know their magic history very well!!!!

Nuf said.

P.S. I try to respect designer's rights, there is too much magic out there in the public domain to have to "lift" other peoples' ideas because you cannot afford to pay them their due!!


Blair Marshall
"ShaZzam!"
Fitz
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Well said! Amen!!!

Fitz
I have a daily web show all about magic at http://FitzMagic.info
magictim
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Is "spellbound" the same way? Brett Daniels and Doug Henning I believed performed this show. Which was first and I have heard of several other productions with the same name.
Blair Marshall
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Good question, Magictim. Doug used the name "Spellbound" for his first big show at the Royal Alex here in Canada. When the show was advertised in Variety (entertainment bible) for a possible tour/Broadway venture it was advertised as "Spellbound". With Ivan Reitman (later producer of Ghostbusters movies) involved, and big $$$$ I am sure the name was protected in some way. Would be interested in hearing, but am not going to do the research. However, as this was not the name that the show went to Broadway with, I am sure they did not concern themselves with knock-offs. Maybe they had only protected the name in Canada, or as I am doing, getting on with life, but letting others know what my deal was!! Maybe there is a time frame??

With "ShaZzam!" it has been in continuous use for close to 40 years, unfortunately, with Lee it was with his touring show in the Far East, Asia, and Europe. So during the 80s'/90s' it was not known here in N.A. So my feeling is it gave others the idea to appropriate it. Some in a *****ized version (which I will not detail here.)

It is too bad that with all that John Daniel and Lee did, for keeping illusions alive through the lean years. (Along with a few others... Mark Wilson, P. Reveen) that their creations are not respected. Remember when I hoped to see illusions live in the 60s/early 70s, it was with a circus passing through town!!!

This is why I have a problem with all those yelling copy!!! It would seem that the old adage, "when the cats' away" applies here. Lee wasn't here to protect the name or protest, so it got "borrowed". I have not heard of too many using "The Magic Land of Alakazam", well protected???

Anyway, put it too the test, try a search engine, Google, dogpile etc. etc. use "ShaZzam!", my name Blair and magic, or illusions/Canada, see what turns up.

No excuse for anyone lifting the name for their future use, without knowingly doing so, and being aware of its history.

There is only one "ShaZzam!" as Ab Dickson was saying!!! (As concerns the show.)

I will note here also that John Daniel has retained some rights to use the "ShaZzam!" name for his personal use and/or should he decide to market an effect with this name!! And I will respect his right to do so. Note the key word in this sentence being RESPECT!!

Blair Marshall
"ShaZzam!"

Paul, this is what I was talking about in the posting on performance rights!!

Blair Marshall
"ShaZzam!"
zackgb
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Is anyone familar with the Shazzam Illusion Show at Wild Adventures theme park in Valdosta, GA? Or familar with the magician Daniel Hanifan at all? Smile
HarbinJr.
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Not that I'm trying to add fuel to the fire but I thought at one time that Stan Kramien had a show called Shazzam! I could be wrong, it would be the first time.


Robert Long
briansmagic
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Stan does have a show called Shazzam and it is currently for sale: sound, lights, props, curtains, costumes -- everything
Paul Arthur
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Quote:
On 2003-12-14 14:32, magictim wrote:
Is "spellbound" the same way? Brett Daniels and Doug Henning I believed performed this show. Which was first and I have heard of several other productions with the same name.


All of the theme park incarnations of 'Spellbound' were produced by Dick Foster's group. As well as the Vegas run that played at Harrah's for a while.
Blair Marshall
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Hi Guys!!

Thought I would jump on board even though I said I would not bother with the subject again.

For all looking at this topic, please be aware of the spelling, this is what I was referring to when I indicated the "ShaZzam!", some spell it with 1 - Z. A couple of postings above have mis-spelled the shows they are referring to. (Not all)

I believe the comic book version of "ShaZzam!" was actually written with the 1 - Z. But when it was yelled out, they would say Shazzzzam! As many Z's as they wanted to express the emotion at the time. I would be very surprised that the comic book version is not copyrighted. If not, it will be well on the way, because, trust me. the day the movie comes out with this action character, the movie studios will (try to)shut down anyone using the Shazam. And do I anticipate problems for myself, yes, even if the spelling differs! If my concession is selling the "ShaZzam!" t-shirt or tour jacket still, with the logo on it, when the movie comes out (if there is one),I anticipate getting a letter. And as I have said, I wouldn't have the $$$ to fight it.

As far as others using the name, it is too easy to do name searches with the net today, no excuses. When I was investigating the name (for myself, and historical) five years ago, I sent off notes to several others who I know have used the "ShaZzam!" name or something similar, one a show producer, another a well known performer. Immediately upon bringing up the subject of the name and their usage of it, communication was cut, with no further dialogue exchanged. When I asked another respected magician, why this would be, he indicated that these persons could offer no excuses, or reasons, as they would have been well aware of the original "ShaZzam!" show, and its' lineage.

Enough said!! "ShaZzam!" - 35 years in continuous use, rights passed in writing, a fee involved. Read my original posting as to others that are in accord with my use of the name.

But if anyone has info on the usage of the expression Shazam/Shazzam and how it was spelled in the written form in any media/entertainment fields, drop me a private message. I believe Gomer Pyle used it on the old T.V. show also.

And, oh yes, on the Dick Foster use of "Spellbound" for his shows, if Doug had toured the "Spellbound" show, or was using the name today, I doubt anyone else would be using it. Question: Has Dick protected the use of the name? (copyright, registered, incorporated). I am sure in some form it is, but as I said in an earlier post, I am not going to do the investigation to find out, I am sure he has taken care of his business.


Last, if anyone has sent me a private message, I have not been on the Café for a looooooooooong time, so please resend. My light was flashing, but there was no notes there.

Take care all, and have a great summer!!

Blair Marshall
"ShaZzam!"
John Martin
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Well said Blair!!
cheesewrestler
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Speaking of copyrights and such:

"Shazam" was the word which transformed newsboy Billy Batson into superhero Captain Marvel. (The word was formed from the initials of ancient Greek Gods. I forget why BB was selected to receive superpowers.)

Anyhow, the "Captain Marvel" comic book, and its various spinoffs, were hugely popular in the 30s/40s/early 50s, which did not make DC Comics, publishers of "Superman", very happy. They took the Captain's publishers to court for copyright infringement - Capt M was superstrong, could fly, wore a bodysuit & a cape - and after years in court drove the Captain's publishers out of the superhero business.

DC got the rights to the character & still uses him sometimes, except now he's actually called "Shazam", I think to avoid problems with their rivals, Marvel Comics.

I'm pretty sure an internet search on "Captain Marvel" would turn up lots of additional info on Cap & "Shazam!".
Blair Marshall
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Thanks for the input C.W., after writing my last note I did a search for shazam on Google and came up with a new super hero movie that has a working title of "Shazam". I am not up on my super heros and never followed Marvel, mainly D.C. Superman, Superboy, Action, Justice League etc. I even have some of my old (early 60s') stash around. But this movie is not for Captain Marvel, which surprised me.

As an example of not doing anything, a dance company played Montreal a year or so ago from France, their show "Shazam". It was for a few performances and they even mentioned, I believe "the magic of dance" etc. I could have looked into the name useage, and perhaps tied it up for this event. But why?? Even several magicians called to ask if I was opening my show locally, so there was a confusion. The result would have been some press, but in the longterm it would have got the local producers royally pi---- off with me, and in a close market you don't want to bite the hand that feeds you.

Take care all.

Blair Marshall
"ShaZzam!"
Pete Biro
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Capt. Marvel was my second favorite comic book character. My first favorite was "The Sniffer" (I bet nobody even heard of it).
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
Blair Marshall
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I don't want to even guess what their super power was!!!!!!!!!

Blair
Blitzen
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Here's more than you probably wanted to know about Capt. Marvel aka Shazam
http://members.ozemail.com.au/~scunge/shazam/#acronym
There was also a "Captain Marvel" in Marvel comics http://www.fact-index.com/c/ca/captain_m......cs_.html

Anyway, back to the original post. A show itself can be copyrighted for as little as $30. See http://www.copyright.gov/register/performing.html. Of course, copyright attaches immediately and what you're doing with the copyright office is merely registering the copyright. There are advantages to registration that make it well worth the $30 (statutory damages, presumption of validity, ability to sue) Although it's true that you may not have the money to prosecute an infringement case, chances are the other side also doesn't have the money to defend against one so what we're left with is a ****ing contest of sorts where one side (the copyright holder)has the upper hand if the case actually makes it to court...meaning the infringer is likely going to blink and back down if he ever talks to a lawyer and sees that he's going to lose. I would think it'd be worth sitting down with a copyright lawyer and having him draft a letter pointing out to the others that they're infringing your copyright and common-law trademark and asking them politely to stop or to contact you about licencing the show (if you're interested in doing that). You want to be polite at this point, there are plenty of opportunities to be nasty later. Call the county bar association and see if there is a solo attorney around doing copyright law. A solo is often going to be less expensive than a firm (and firm resources are not needed for a simple letter).
Blair Marshall
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Thanks Steve for a very informative reply. I will review Canadian regulations, I believe there is some honouring of international copyrights between our countries.

Blair Marshall
carbone1853
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It looks like the word/title Shazzam/Shazam was used in comic books before it was used for your show. So, I don’t see how you have a beef with anyone using that title for a show.

Chris
Blair Marshall
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Hi Chris, I had written a great big long reply, but somehow it got deleted when I hopped over to your web site to visit.

Today people protect what they pay for. "ShaZzam!" was developed for a magic show, and that show and title were purchased by me. The same way you pay the "performing rights" for some illusions. You don't have to ............. but!!!

It would seem you do a lot of research for your shows.
I would like to think that when people decide on a name for their show they try to be original. And then research it. The original postings on this topic were when people here were debating illusion rights, principles and "moves" on the Café. That is why I jumped in with this subject, a name should be easy to keep track of!! Especially today with the net, but it would seem not to be.

For an extreme case, and if I understand you well, that because, like shazam (1 - Z) was used in the comic book, spellbound which is a word in the dictionary allows me the "right" to create a new show with that title, perhaps even package it, and sell the "rights" to the name??? I don't even have to look into this it as I know a show already exists with this name and in myself I would want to be a little more creative and original.

Side note: One magician has created several shows and after using them, sells the show and the "rights" to the name.


In the "old" days, some magicians would use books, other performers, write letters for information. Today with the net there is no excuse for ignorance. Google, Dogpile, Altavista, all great magical resource tools, and lets not forget the Café.

Take a read on some of the questions posted here and then try your luck at finding out the information. Is it a sign of the gimme generation? No work, or just laziness?? From what I read about your show you try to teach children the road to discovery. And that road may require some work and a little effort on their part. Magic should also be that way.

Shazam was used in comic books long before the "ShaZzam!" show name was developed, but this "ShaZzam!" was developed (not borrowed, or lifted) and became the name of a working illusion show, which was sold with rights to the name, to be used in this manner (a magic show).


Question: Would you use "Spellbound", "ShaZzam!", at the professional level without checking it out??

Take care,

Blair Marshall
carbone1853
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To answer your question, no. I would not use Spellbound or ShaZzam.

In fact one of the first shows I wrote was called Math Magic. After performing it for a few years I got a call from someone who had booked my show. She was very concerned because a friend of hers saw a show called Math Magic and it was not very good. It turned out someone else was performing a show called Math Magic and they sucked. This irritated me, as you can imagine. Not wanting to be associated with a sucky show I changed the name to a more imaginative title. After thinking about this, I realized that the title Math Magic was not a very creative title. After this I was always careful to pick titles that others would not pick by chance and that if they were to use my title it would be clear they ripping me off.

The title Science, Flying and Fun did not exist before I invented it and I think someone would be unlikely to also come up with title by accident. The reason I think you have less of a case is the title ShaZzam existed before your show. I DON’T think anyone SHOULD use your title. It would be nice if they changed the name of their show when they found out someone had that title already. But if you pick a common name you will run into this problem over and over again.

Chris
Blair Marshall
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Hey Chris,

Glad to see we are thinking along the same wave length. To my knowledge "ShaZzam!" was coined/created for the show and was not the same as the word (at least in written form ie 1 - Z)as used in the comic. I have asked around in the higher (!) magic circles and not to anyones' knowledge was it used prior to in magic, or used in the 2 - Z form. Also note how it is written, I also know the actual show graphic ("ShaZzam!") has been duplicated by a show producer. (One of those I had addressed, as to where he came up with the name/design, and got no response). It was used for one of his shows. Also, some people may revert to the original spelling (1 - Z) to be able to use the reasoning you put forward. I am glad I am not using that version, as Marvel seems to be on a roll.

Anyway as I explained in my earlier note to you, I was only exploring the "copying" issue, and taking it a bit further.

There are also other things I cannot put down for you, and comments from other professionals concerning the matter. Oh well, the price we pay to be politically correct over coffee!

Take care, and as I have been known to say "ShaZzam!".

Blair Marshall
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