Playground Notes: One planet, two big red blobs and one lawsuit

Danny Schoenbaechler

A few years ago, a near life-size stuffed version of Big Red was stolen from the campus bookstore.

Now it appears there may be another case of red blob-snatching.

Initial reaction. Leggo my Big Redo.

An Italian television show is allegedly using a Big Red knock-off.

I say allegedly, but I don’t really mean it.

The Italian version is called Gabibbo. One look at this European impostor and the direct relation to Western’s mascot is inevitable.

Because of this alleged horrific act of mascot copying, Western has filed a $250 million lawsuit claiming copywright infringement.

Ahhhh jhea.

If Western wins this suit, President Gary Ransdell is going to not only be ballin’ but he will most certainly also be shot callin’.

Gov. Ernie Fletcher’s higher education tax cut looks minescule compared to $250 million.

Gabibbo can be easily spotted at www.striscialanotizia.it/gabibbo.htm.

Go ahead and take a look for yourself.

If you log on, you may notice that he is basically an Italian speaking, cufflink wearing second hand blob.

Italy is known across the world as a fashion leader. That explains the attempt to be high class by wearing a Playboy bunny style tuxedo.

But what happened to the concept of originality? We are talking about a roundish red thing with hands and feet. Couldn’t they come up with anything else to represent their television show?

Big Red is a Western staple who constantly creates a burning question.

What is it?

Don’t know, don’t care.

But he is a member of the mascot upper-class. This blob obviously has something going for him. But why rip him off?

Maybe this company didn’t steal Big Red, and Gabibbo is an original creation. But the two are amazingly similar. I guess cloning experiments could have moved from sheep to mascots.

In an interview with Novella 2000, Gabibbo’s creator Antonio Ricci reveals some interesting information.

After being translated, Ricci said, “It was the mascot of a Kentucky basketball team. I adopted it and immediately turned it into a television and song superstar.”

Seems pretty simple, and pretty arrogant.

He later talked more about the issue of copying Gabibbo off of Big Red.

“Are you insinuating that I’ve copied it? I’ll answer you as Gabibbo would: “I’ll smash your face in!” I have adopted him. In cold terms, I hold the rights in it for Italy.”

Just for the record, Gabibbo does appear to have one major difference from Big Red. The Western version of the red blob would never threaten to smash someone’s face in.

Bad Gabbibo.

It will be interesting to see how this turns out, and whether or not Ricci can be held accountable for using Big Red as his muse.

Either way, there is still only one true red blob, and while Gabibbo is more fun to say, there is nothing like the original.

Danny Schoenbaechler is the sports columnist and sports editor for the Herald. He can be reached at [email protected]