Former comic legend Barney Google seeking compensation for use of his name
Now-forgotten comic legend Barney Google (the guy with the ‘Goo-goo-gooogley Eyes’ according to an old hit song) is suing website mega-giant Google for copyrighted name infringement. Barney claims that Google intentionally used his name to increase their visibility in the marketplace. Contacted for their reply to this accusation, Google spokesperson Sharon Yahoo said, “Who?”
Mr. Google, the most popular cartoon figure in the ’20’s and 30’s, has been on a slow skid downwards since then. His sidekick, the wobbly horse named Spark Plug, actually surpassed him in popularity when he was added in 1932, pushing him to the sidelines in his very own strip.
Then, a visit from his North Carolina relatives brought another fresh face to the newspaper, the hillbilly hick Snuffy Smith, who also eventually outdid Barney in the ratings. In fact, so beloved was the precursor to Jed Clampett from the Beverly Hillbillies that Snuffy actually got top billing in the cartoon with Barney having to play second fiddle.
As the decades went on, Barney slowly disappeared from his own strip, leaving only his name at its helm to remind readers of him. He was once one of America’s most beloved icons.
Barney Google descended into a hell of the forgotten. He started drinking, eventually falling to the level of pilfering Snuffy’s moonshine and binging himself into a living coma. North Carolina ‘Revenooers’ caught up with him and the scandal was plastered across tabloids throughout the nation, ironically placing his image back in the very place that had once been his show stage.
For a while he became hooked on ‘corn squeezins’ and went through several detox clinics to get off the stuff. So desperate was he to be in the spotlight again that he even tried giving up his city duds and disguising himself as a hillbilly to sneak back into the strip. Somehow, Barney yelling “Times a wastin!” at the top of his lungs didn’t have quite the same comic appeal as when Snuffy hollered it.
It also didn’t help his depression any when his oversized, nagging wife, Mrs. Lizzie, divorced him in the 1920’s, then abruptly disappeared from the strip altogether. Rumors of a heinous murder passed through the gossip mill, including one that he paid someone to have her “erased,” but no substantial evidence against him ever emerged.
With the advent of the 2000’s he has again been appearing in the strip that still bears his name in cameo parts. General opinion, however, is that the comics syndicate is doing it just out of sympathy for the has-been or because they don’t wish to be accused of having abandoned him.
Meanwhile, the lawsuit against Google Incorporated is going forward. Most think that it is just an attempt by a desperate man to regain some of the former wealth and glory that he basked in, but most legal onlookers say that Barney has a crocked chance of success in the venture. Already repercussions have been felt as Google removed all mention of Barney Google from its databanks, thus successfully making Mr. Barney Google a non-entity in our modern, computerized world. There is not even a Wikipedia trace of him any more.
Being ever careful, Google Inc. already has a backup plan. Should they lose the lawsuit, they will change their name to “Fred.”
In another ironic development, it seems that Spark Plug, in his old age, has been sold to the glue factory and is now part of the binder material that holds the newspapers together that used to bear his image.
Watch “Ain’t It The Tooth? (Snuffy Smith & Barney Google)” (5:28):
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