Related topics

Saloon Ordered to Keep “Spanky” Out of Name

September 14, 1990 GMT

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) _ George McFarland, the chubby child star Spanky of ″Our Gang″ and ″Little Rascals,″ wants about $100,000 from a saloon that he says used his name and face for 13 years without permission.

Federal Judge James Rosenbaum on Thursday ordered the saloon not to use the ″visage or name″ of Spanky. It’s not enough for McFarland.

In March, seven months after McFarland filed a lawsuit, the owner of the bar changed its name from Spanky’s Saloon to Checker’s Nightclub.

Drawings of a round-faced kid wearing a beanie came down from the front of the building and from interior walls. Patrons no longer could buy jackets, T- shirts and hats imprinted with the Spanky’s Saloon logo.

Other businesses pay the McFarland, 62, who lives in Fort Worth, Texas, for the right to use his name and childhood face. McFarland wants similar retroactive payments from the owner and former co-owner of the St. Paul bar.

″He’s after 5 percent of their gross profits for 13 years and that’s an exorbitant amount of money, even if they did something wrong,″ said Dennis Johnson, a lawyer for the bar’s former owner, Michael Kalis.

Kalis sold his interest in the bar to his partner, Walter Engelhardt, in 1982.

Johnson and Engelhardt, who represented himself in court, contend that the bar’s name had little to do with its business and that the connection with McFarland was unintentional.

Marshall Tanick, a Minneapolis attorney representing McFarland, said they denied his client his legitimate livelihood. He said the Spanky name and image are McFarland’s meal ticket.

Tanick also accused the bar owners of tarnishing McFarland’s name by associating it with heavy metal bands that perform at the bar. McFarland was shocked when he discovered his name had been linked to such bands as ″Raw Meat,″ ″Primal Scream″ and ″Blue Murder,″ Tanick said in court papers.

″Spanky’s wholesome appeal, particularly to families and children, is debased by associating him with these morbid musicians,″ the lawsuit contended.

In addition to 13 years of licensing fees and legal costs, McFarland also wants all the merchandise and bar equipment featuring the Spanky’s logo.

Rosenbaum urged attorneys to work out an agreement regarding the merchandise and took McFarland’s other claims under advisement.