Saturday, April 7, 2012

Lawyering-Up at the Cadillac Range in Cars Land

Disney artwork for Cars Land

Way back when, early 70's I suppose, the great (and late) satiric songwriter Warren Zevon penned a tune that simply solved most of life's predicaments. Zevon wrote the rock classic called (Send) Lawyers, Guns, and Money...

So Disney had a predicament with Disney California Adventure. Everyone made fun of it. Disney's answer to fix the problem 10 years after the park opened came in the form of money, about a billion dollars or a little more. This doesn't include other band-aid fixes like the Tower of Terror that Disney spent big money on over the years trying to bring atmosphere to a park that rose like a phoenix out of a parking lot.

The center piece of their billion dollar make over was recreating the town of Radiator Springs from the popular Pixar movie Cars (little is seen of Radiator Springs in Cars 2 one of that movie's many problems). Dominating the landscape of Radiator Springs are the mountains known as the Cadillac Range in the movie. So for a couple of years now, guests of the Disneyland Resort have been seeing the massive recreation of the Cadillac Range impressively go up in California Adventure. 

The Cadillac Range is a slight deviation of the old Route 66 iconic landmark in Amarillo Texas know as the Cadillac Ranch where a series of finned Caddies from the late 50's and early 60's are partially buried in the ground. Instead of flat ground, the Cars artists creatively built the finned Caddies into a mountain range.

Cadillac Ranch - Amarillo, Texas

But we have a problem here, a predicament. You see the word "Cadillac" is a registered trademark of the General Motors Corporation.  So now we get back to our old friend Warren Zevon .... send lawyers .... So Disney lawyers and GM lawyers get together to see if they can cut a deal where a little piece of the huge profits Disney expects to made from the opening of Cars Land get sent over GM's way for use of the word "Cadillac" in Disney's official marketing. Lawyers being lawyers, they can't cut a deal and now Disney is expressly forbidden to use the word Cadillac in any of their official Cars Land marketing even though anyone who is familiar with the movie Cars and the town of Radiator Springs knows those huge mountains are the Cadillac Range.

The other oddity in all this is the main attraction of Cars Land is the Radiator Springs Racers ride that scoots through the mountains. Radiator Springs Racers is variation of the Test Track ride in Walt Disney World's EPCOT which sponsored guessed it.....General Motors. 

Bruce Springsteen wrote a great song that paid homage to thundering Cadillac's of a bygone age called oddly enough - Cadillac Ranch.  I wonder if he had to pay off General Motors. I'm sure there were some conversations between Bruce's lawyers and GM's lawyers. That seems to be the way the world works.

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