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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The side walk shuffle » » Costumed Characters... (3 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

NYCTwister
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...are becoming a big problem.

They've invaded NYC and some are harrassing people, in some cases assaulting/berating them over small tips. I've witnessed a few incidents that in my opinion should have lead to an arrest.

One of them involved "Hello Kitty" picking up a child without permission and the child went ballistic. Bad enough, but HK then held the terrified child while saying "take a picture, take a picture, tips, tips." The parent had to pull their child out of HK's hands. Amazingly HK then held out her tip bag still expecting a tip. The police were called and after a lengthy discussion, during which the parents repeatedly said they wanted her arrested, she was told to leave the park. She came back a few days later and was escorted out of the park.

Another incident involved "Mickey Mouse" taking of his head and cursing out an asian couple for a one dollar tip. That situation would probably have come to blows if not for two gigantic gentlemen intervening.

I also witnessed one of the anti semetic "Elmo", Dan Sandler, racist rants. Thank goodness that psychopath is in jail for trying to extort the Girl Scouts of America.

I don't know why the police are allowing anonymous people to wear masks in public. Seems like a powderkeg with a very slow burning fuse.

Another thing that's baffling to me is why the companies that own the trademarks haven't taken legal action, especially Disney which is known to protect their properties aggressively. Some of them are wearing licenced Halloween costumes, so that might be a gray area. The "big head" costumes though are definately bootleg.

I know that people need to make money but, to me, they are not entertainers in any sense of the word. They are more like statues. This isn't sour grapes on my part since they don't come into the park too often. In fact I tend to do a bit better when they've been around.

Has anyone else had any problems with these pesky critters?
If you need fear to enforce your beliefs, then your beliefs are worthless.
tom hughes
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Took my kids down to Times Square a few years ago to see Elmo... unfortunatelly Elmo was on his cigarette break. That took some explaining.
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0pus
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Today there are gangs of Elmos in Times Square. At times there are more costumed characters than there are tourists.
george1953
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Here in Palma there are dozens of them around the cathedral area. Most are not a problem and the tourists seem to like them.
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DonDriver
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This happen when I was on a visit to N.Y.C. but I wasn't in Time Square at the time. http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-.......1881561

Now they have NAKED woman walking around Time Square.I know guys...but believe me it isn't cool at all.I saw two right outside Toys R Us.You would think Toys are Us would put up a fuss with the city as well as other big corporate companies in Time Square.They can put a stop to it all because they have the money to do it.I think Rudy Giuliani would have done something about it.I can't believe the city doesn't step in and put a stop to all if it.This might one day keep the tourist away from Time Square.

NYCTwister said: "Another thing that's baffling to me is why the companies that own the trademarks haven't taken legal action, especially Disney which is known to protect their properties aggressively. Some of them are wearing licenced Halloween costumes, so that might be a gray area. The "big head" costumes though are definately bootleg." This has also crossed my mind.Why don't they start some lawsuits ?

Just my two cents...
Don
gallagher
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Hey Don,
you should not be so harsh on those Ladies walking 'freely' around Time Square,..
who knows how long they've been waiting for THEIR Busking Gear!

As painfull as Winter is,.
it certainly has it's cleansing powers,
when it comes to Street Performing.

...{,got to get the Truck inspected today,
cross your fingers everyone,.. BRAKES(!).}
gallagher
DonDriver
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Lets all hope this is not how it will all end for Times Square. http://nypost.com/2014/09/16/isis-suppor......-square/
Magician Shaun
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"Another incident involved "Mickey Mouse" taking of his head and cursing out an asian couple for a one dollar tip. That situation would probably have come to blows if not for two gigantic gentlemen intervening."

As I read this out loud to my wife (who is Chinese) she began laughing hysterically. You see Asian Culture is not a tipping a culture. As such, poor tips are to be expected from them.

When she first came to America 7 years ago, she never tipped. It took her about 2 years living here to figure out when and how to tip. Today she still asks me sometimes if it is appropriate to tip in some situations, like people mowing the grass.
NYCTwister
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I was just being descriptive. My sincerest apologies if I offended anyone.

I quickly learned about the cultural differences regarding tipping. Some people just don't know how to respond when you tell them that they decide how much to give/pay.

Just one of the many things you learn when you stand out in public wearing a balloon hat.
If you need fear to enforce your beliefs, then your beliefs are worthless.
JoeJoe
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Quote:
On Sep 16, 2014, DonDriver wrote:
NYCTwister said: "Another thing that's baffling to me is why the companies that own the trademarks haven't taken legal action, especially Disney which is known to protect their properties aggressively. Some of them are wearing licenced Halloween costumes, so that might be a gray area. The "big head" costumes though are definately bootleg." This has also crossed my mind.Why don't they start some lawsuits ?


The companies do take legal action, but rarely because it is so easy to side-step their 'protections'.

For example, I used to work a shop where we rented "purple dinosaur" costumes. Now everyone knew that the "purple dinosaur" was a knock-off of Barney, but because we didn't call him "Barney" we were not violating anyone trademarks/copyrights/etc. Usually, when you see these costumes there are differences from the "real" version (ie: Barney has yellow dots on his feet, our Purple Dinosaur had green dots that matched his belly).

The companies' actions are usually at the wholesale level; Disney attends Halloween conventions (where Halloween stores purchase costumes and accessories they can re-sell) looking for trademark offenders. Most of their actions are at this level, and not the end-user actually wearing the costume.

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ringmaster
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Quote:
On Sep 18, 2014, DonDriver wrote:
Lets all hope this is not how it will all end for Times Square. http://nypost.com/2014/09/16/isis-suppor......-square/


Most of the character's in Times Square are Disney employees .
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DonDriver
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Quote:
On Sep 24, 2014, ringmaster wrote:
Quote:
On Sep 18, 2014, DonDriver wrote:
Lets all hope this is not how it will all end for Times Square. http://nypost.com/2014/09/16/isis-suppor......-square/


Most of the character's in Times Square are Disney employees .

No way..where did you get this idea from? If this is a joke I didn't get it.
tommeepickles
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I have worked on Hollywood Blvd many times and the costumed characters were everywhere. They were not sanctioned by any company and it prompted a advertising campaign on the digital signage warning people not to tip the performers. In other places here in the South, I think it gets to hot in the costumes to be considered worth trying for tips. I think we need to make the weather change.
ed rhodes
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Quote:
On Sep 24, 2014, JoeJoe wrote:
Quote:
On Sep 16, 2014, DonDriver wrote:
NYCTwister said: "Another thing that's baffling to me is why the companies that own the trademarks haven't taken legal action, especially Disney which is known to protect their properties aggressively. Some of them are wearing licenced Halloween costumes, so that might be a gray area. The "big head" costumes though are definately bootleg." This has also crossed my mind.Why don't they start some lawsuits ?


The companies do take legal action, but rarely because it is so easy to side-step their 'protections'.

For example, I used to work a shop where we rented "purple dinosaur" costumes. Now everyone knew that the "purple dinosaur" was a knock-off of Barney, but because we didn't call him "Barney" we were not violating anyone trademarks/copyrights/etc. Usually, when you see these costumes there are differences from the "real" version (ie: Barney has yellow dots on his feet, our Purple Dinosaur had green dots that matched his belly).

The companies' actions are usually at the wholesale level; Disney attends Halloween conventions (where Halloween stores purchase costumes and accessories they can re-sell) looking for trademark offenders. Most of their actions are at this level, and not the end-user actually wearing the costume.

-JoeJoe


I remember when I worked at the Mighty Marvel Mailroom (no, we didn't really call it that). One October day I was in a local store when I saw a Ben Cooper "Dr. Strange" costume. It was the current cheap kind where the "costume" is a vinyl bag with a picture of the character on it and a mask. Well the mask for Dr. Strange made him look evil. He had a nasty look on his face and the coloring was all off. The next day I work I mentioned to the licensing guy (Nelson Yomtov, a really nice person) about the costume and he looked at me funny, went through his big book of licenses and said; "Ben Cooper doesn't have a license to sell "Dr. Strange" costumes." He got on the phone and I tip toed out of is office quietly. Never did find out how that played out.
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Holistic Magic
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Just like any job, there are some that do it well and some that don't. Here is a very good documentary showing some of the better ones from Hollywood Boulevard. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXszfdtAkhU
Mike Gilbert
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This is a bad problem in Las Vegas, as well. They hang out in packs on both the Strip, as well as the Fremont Street Experience. Most of the costumed characters (the cheap costumes anyway) are homeless alcoholics/crack heads. A lot of them take breaks...or even naps...right out in public; heads off, smoking a cigarette or drinking a beer. The costumes are usually dirty, and the people behind the costume have ZERO sense of responsibility as an entertainer. There was a bad problem with the whole tipping thing as well. The bigger issue behind getting rid of these folks is that they are on public property, so nobody can touch them. They know this. We know this. It's obvious that Las Vegas doesn't require a busking license, as this would clean up 99% of the problem! It's a sad state of affairs. To crack down on the tipping issue, a resolution was agreed upon (mandated) that no "entertainer" could demand a tip, as they were previously doing. It is entirely up to the patron to decide if a tip was warranted, and the entertainer cannot say anything if no tip is received. It's far from over, and it only seems to get worse. I believe it delivers a rather nasty blow to our image out here as a city and entertainment capitol. Hopefully more can be done in the future.
*Don't get me wrong...I'm all for buskers and entertainers that actually *entertain*. The problem at hand is a bunch of bums panhandling in cheap, filthy costumes.
-Mike Gilbert Smile

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