Clark the Cub, the Chicago Cubs’ new mascot, made his physical debut last night (see below) at a children’s hospital in Chicago, and by the looks of things the kids did not run away screaming or beat him senseless. That’s a surprising development.
But Clark isn’t out of the woods yet. Not only do most Cubs fans hate him, but he still could get sued into non-existence. And unless I miss my guess, there are Walt Disney Co. attorneys parachuting into Chicago as I write this.
— Aliza W. (@AlizaTweets) January 13, 2014
I’ll wager that most of you have grown up watching TaleSpin, the Disney cartoon that featured spinoff characters from “The Jungle Book” and put ’em in planes. The show centered on a pilot, Baloo, and his young aviator sidekick, Kit Cloudkicker. Which is itself sort of a ripoff of Luke Skywalker, but we’ll skip that for now.
It looks like the designers of Clark just watched an entire video of TaleSpin, drew up Kit, and called it a day. And when you see Clark in person, he looks even more like Kit.
Had a blast meeting new friends at Advocate tonight! Thanks to my fellow rookies for joining me! pic.twitter.com/2EOJPaNpjT
— Clark the Cub (@ClarktheCub) January 14, 2014
Disney only produced two original seasons of TaleSpin (1991, ’92), but it aired in syndication for years afterward, last appearing on Toon Disney in 2008. And it’s the same freakin’ bear, down to the red-and-blue backwards cap.
But if Disney sues, I have the Cubs’ defense. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I give you defense exhibit A: Disney’s “The Lion King.”
“The Lion King” was released in 1994, and fans immediately noticed that its protagonist, a lion cub named Simba, bore a striking similarity to the protagonist of a popular Japanese anime cartoon from years earlier: “Kimba the White Lion”. Disney apparently wasn’t even trying to hide this. Not only did they just change one stinking letter in the name, but the story lines and art direction were also much too close for comfort.
So I guess that Disney has no room to complain when Tom Ricketts grabs one of its cartoon characters. Although if the Cubs play per usual in 2014, Disney could probably sue for defamation.