The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

19 May 2007

Would you, could you, under oath?

In 2001, Portland playwright Charles Augustus Steen III filed suit against the estate of Theodor Seuss Geisel, otherwise known as Dr. Seuss, charging that Daisy-Head Mayzie, based on a manuscript found by Audrey Geisel in her husband's papers after his death and subsequently published as a new Dr. Seuss book, was in fact based on Steen's copyrighted-but-yet-unpublished book The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. The case was dismissed on a technicality — Steen missed a filing date for some papers — but it wasn't over.

Steen's next step was a play with the incendiary title The Tragical History of Audrey Geisel or How the Grinch Plagiarized My Goddamn Children's Story, a copy of which was emailed to the Geisel estate's lawyers, accompanied with a drawing by Steen of several Seuss characters enjoying some, um, amok time. (The Grinch seems happy, and when's the last time you saw the Cat out of his Hat?) Somewhere along the way, Steen asked for $2.5 million ("after taxes") from the estate; he was charged with extortion, and drew three years' probation and a series of anger-management classes.

Out of probation, his record expunged, Steen's still out there; Tragical History was presented at Portland's Someday Lounge earlier this month, and he's posted his take on the case on his MySpace page. The Oregonian has posted a summary of the situation.

(Via Bill Peschel.)

Posted at 11:28 AM to Almost Yogurt