NO "MERRY" FOR THIS CHRISTMAS ICON
Arthur Rankin, Jr., creator of such holiday TV classics as RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER, FROSTY THE SNOWMAN, THE YEAR WITHOUT A SANTA CLAUS, THUNDERCATS and THE HOBBIT is dealing with a BURGERMEISTER MEISTERBURGER in the form of WARNER BROS. It seems that WARNER BROS. had underpaid RANKIN/BASS in various ways, including 19 years of impermissible $200,000 annual deductions from the pool of revenues from which Rankin's profit participation is paid.
"It was an accounting mistake on WARNER BROS., part, a mistake that the company's accountants readily admit, right down to the penny," said Rankin. "However, WARNER BROS. is now claiming I caught their error too late. So instead of doing the right thing and fairly compensating RANKIN/BASS for helping generate years of viewer enjoyment, not to mention an awful lot of revenue,WARNER BROS.is hiding behind the statute of limitations."
The dispute dates back to the 1980's, when WARNER BROS. acquired from RANKIN/BASS, the rights to several of the RANKIN/BASS Christmas classics and other animated properties, including the enormously popular 1980's animated television series THUNDERCATS and SILVERHAWKS. The recent WARNER BROS. home video DVD box set releases of THUNDERCATS sold over a million DVDs and they are getting ready to release SILVERHAWKS. Mr. Rankin even graciously appeared on Set #2 of THUNDERCATS in a documentary and did the same for the WARNER BROS. Deluxe DVD release of THE YEAR WITHOUT A SANTA CLAUS (Which is also available in a new box set).
"This is obviously not the right thing to do to a creator of such wonderful programming and the rest of his staff," says Rick Goldschmidt RANKIN/BASS Historian/Biographer. "As in all RANKIN/BASS specials, writer Romeo Muller would reform the villains. This villain needs to be reformed."
"As far as I am concerned," continues Rankin, "There is no question as to what is right and what is wrong. If you take something by mistake, you put it back. You don't get to keep it. We put those kinds of ethics into our shows for children. Maybe the folks at WARNER BROS. should watch a few of them."