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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Montie Montana Jr. Owns "Buffalo Bill's Wild West"

Think Disney owns the exclusive rights worldwide to the name "Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show"? I did. In fact, according to Buffalo Bill specialist Lynn Houze of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming, "Montie Montana, Jr. owns the rights to Buffalo Bill's Wild West - without the word "show" as Buffalo Bill never used the word "show." The Casual Reporter contacted Montie Montana Jr. for details. According to Mr. Montana, who owns the rights to the name "Buffalo Bill's Wild West" in the United States and intermittently produces "Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World", Disney registered the rights to "Buffalo Bill's Wild West" in France only around 1989, making it technically a non-competing entity to Mr. Montana's show. Mr. Montana writes, "Since then I've taken the show to 26 countries and now have some partners with plans to get on the road. Our show has around 80 performers and 100 animals or so and is usually 2+ hours with many of the same events as Colonel Cody had." One of the performers who traveled and worked for him on many of his Wild West Shows now plays Annie Oakley in our show: Sonna Warvell.

In the mid-90's Disney officially changed the name of it's wild west show to "La Legende de Buffalo Bill" although "Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show" is still used unofficially in most English-speaking circles. The change was made allegedly for easier pronunciation by the French speaking audience who have trouble pronouncing "W's", but the change may also serve to differentiate the Disney production from Montie Montana Jr.'s show, and whether intentional or not provides protection against concerns of trademark infringement.

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