Wolf Files: The Selling of TV Catchphrases

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Eat My Shorts shouldn't be confused with another trademarked property — Incredible Edible Undies. The company ceased production two years later, no doubt the work of notorious C. Montgomery Burns, the Donald Trump of Springfield, who is currently investigating the trademark for his own Trumpy catchphrase, "Excellent!" 3. Good Grief:

What does Charlie Brown say when the little red-haired girl won't talk to him, when his dog Snoopy thinks he's Joe Cool, or when Lucy drives him crazy as the 5-cent psychiatrist? He shouts, "Good Grief!"

But what would Charlie Brown say if he knew that "Good Grief" has also been trademarked by a funeral service company, which markets wholesale and retail urns and other funeral and bereavement accessories?

Poor Linus must be double-clutching his security blanket as Schroeder plays "Amazing Grace" on a toy piano.

4. Say Goodnight, Gracie: George Burns and Gracie Allen's signature joke became lingerie, thanks to a Palisades, Calif., entrepreneur who trademarked the comic quip in 1997.

For those who forget: Gracie played the scatterbrained blonde. To get her off stage, George would tell her, "Say goodnight, Gracie." To which Gracie always replied, "Goodnight, Gracie."

Jokes in the bedroom are risky, and three years later the public said goodnight to this Gracie scheme. The trademark lapsed, apparently because not so many women want to play dumb, even if Burns always described Allen as the brains behind their act.

5. Play It Again, Sam: "Play It Again, Sam" has been trademarked over the years as a phone answering device, a karaoke machine, a logo for children's clothing, and even a breakfast at Denny's.