Bill Murray film’s use of famed U.S. Horse racing phrase attracts lawsuit
NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. Horse racing announcer Dave Johnson, who known as Triple Crown races for ABC television for two decades, on Wednesday, sued the makers of Bill Murray’s 2014 movie “St. Vincent” for the usage of his signature word “and down the stretch, they come” without permission.
Johnson, seventy seven, a Manhattan resident, accused the film’s distributor Weinstein Co, the producers Chernin Entertainment and Crescendo Productions and different defendants of infringing his 2012 trademark inside the word, one of the maximum recognizable in American sports. The lawsuit does no longer name Murray as a defendant. Murray’s individual Vincent MacKenna, a grumpy retiree who drank and gambled, used the phrase “within the context of a race and in a clean try to imitate” Johnson, the complaint stated. Johnson stated this would in all likelihood confuse the general public, tarnishing his rights to a word “inextricably related” with him. “I’ve spent my entire life calling races, and that’s something I desired to defend,” Johnson said in a smartphone interview from New Orleans, where he is attending Saturday’s, Louisiana Derby. “It’s glaringly mine. That’s my word.” The lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court seeks unspecified damages, which Johnson said he would donate to charities related to horse racing, including for disabled jockeys. “St. Vincent” grossed $ fifty-four.8 million worldwide, in line with BoxOfficeMojo.Com. A lawyer for the defendants did no longer right away respond to requests for comment.
“‘And down the stretch, they come’ embodies all that is right about thoroughbred racing,” Johnson’s attorney Andrew Mollica said in a telephone interview. Johnson’s use of the word entails emphasizing the phrase “down” as horses grow to be the homestretch of a race. He instructed Reuters that he started the use of the phrase in the Nineteen Sixties, and gave it more of a “rumble” when calling races at Santa Anita Park in California so the gang could hear him on its decades-vintage sound device. “People commenced to say it back to me,” he said. The lawsuit references different trademarked signature sports terms, which include late baseball broadcaster Harry Caray’s “Holy Cow!”, basketball broadcaster Dick Vitale’s “high-quality child” and boxing and wrestling announcer Michael Buffer’s “Let’s get equipped to rumble!” Johnson stopped calling the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes for ABC Television while the races moved to NBC in 2001. Asked why he did now not sue over “St. Vincent” quicker, Johnson said he become not a large movie watcher. “My subsequent-door neighbor advised me about it,” he stated.