Thursday, January 06, 2005


Dead or Alive? [Hebrews 9:27; other topics - Eternity; Life (after death)]

Television commercials showing famous actors such as Fred Astaire, dancing with a vacuum cleaner; Humphrey Bogart, hustling jewelry; and John Wayne; hawking Coors beer, can be powerful sales tools. Although these particular ads were authorized by relatives, every so often advertisers will simply pirate a celebrity’s likeness to move a product.

In California, where Hollywood has clout, a bill is working its way through the state legislature which would provide protection for dead icons. Among the key proponents are actress Janet Leigh and Astaire’s widow, Robyn. “Celebrities have control over their images when they’re alive and we ought to give them that same control when they are dead,” said state Sen. John Burton, D-San Francisco, author of the California bill. As Leigh put it, “My image is my product, my franchise, my commodity.”

Perhaps someone should go to the Actors Guild and tell those folks what is really important after death.

[Adapted from Jeff Wilson, “Digital technology raises questions as it raises the dead,” AP/MSNBC, 7/8/99]

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