Saturday, November 11, 2006

Andy Griffith loses in bid for sheriff.

Did you hear? Andy Griffith was running for sheriff of Grant County in Platteville, WI.

A local music store co-owner who changed his name to Andy Griffith to run for sheriff won't be turning Platteville into Mayberry any time soon.

The former William Fenrick finished last among three candidates in Tuesday's race for Grant County sheriff.

He had changed his name earlier this year to that of the actor who portrayed the fictional Sheriff Andy Taylor of Mayberry on TV's "The Andy Griffith Show" in the 1960s.

As if finishing dead last in the race for sheriff wasn’t bad enough, Andy Griffith now faces a lawsuit brought by…uh…Andy Griffith.

The lawsuit, filed Nov. 3 in U.S. District Court in Madison, alleges that William Harold Fenrick, 42, violated trademark and copyright laws as well as the privacy of actor Andy Samuel Griffith when he used his new name -- Andy Griffith -- to promote his candidacy for sheriff in southwestern Wisconsin.

The lawsuit says the former Fenrick changed his name for the "sole purpose of taking advantage of Griffith's notoriety in an attempt to gain votes" and asks the court to order Fenrick to go back to his original name.

Griffith's suit also asks Fenrick to publish disclaimers and an apology in Grant County newspapers, saying he has no association with the actor. It seeks unspecified damages and court fees.

"Now that the election is over, if Fenrick is willing in some fashion to clear the record, we probably could find a way to resolve it," said Griffith's lawyer, Jim Cole.

Maybe if you just give Fenrick Season 5 of “The Andy Griffith Show” on DVD, he’ll comply with the requests of the suit. One of the best episodes ever, “Opie Flunks Arithmetic”, takes place that season!

1 comment:

StarBittrune said...

Hey, Brad. Thanks for the update on this story. My wife and I first read about this fake Andy Griffith last week in WORLD:

It reminds me of MaryJane Rachner’s changing her name to “Patricia Reagan.” Of course, in her case, it was more than adopting a recognized name, it was ditching a tainted one. I’ve read other cases where candidates changed their names legally or just ran under different names. (For example, there was some candidate who lost when she first ran under her married name, but she ran the second time under her Hispanic-sounding maiden name, and won. For that matter, there’s Harry Truman, who had no middle name, but ran as “Harry S. Truman” because it sounded more appealing.) It would be interesting to see a history on name-changing as a political strategy. In any case, Ruth and I thought it should be illegal to change your name while running for political office. Better yet, if you run for office, you must run under a name you’ve had for at least one year.