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Tolkien Estate Sues New Line Cinema (Failure to Pay Royalties Apparently)
Yahoo! News (AP) ^ | 2/11/2008 | Alex Veiga

Posted on 02/11/2008 5:48:45 PM PST by Pyro7480

LOS ANGELES - The estate of "Lord of the Rings" creator J.R.R. Tolkien is suing the film studio that released the trilogy based on his books, claiming the company hasn't paid it a penny from the estimated $6 billion the films have grossed worldwide.

The suit, filed Monday, claims New Line was required to pay 7.5 percent of gross receipts to Tolkien's estate and other plaintiffs, who contend they only received an upfront payment of $62,500 for the three movies before production began.

The writer's estate, a British charity dubbed The Tolkien Trust, and original "Lord of the Rings" publisher HarperCollins filed the lawsuit against New Line Cinema in Los Angeles Superior Court. If successful, it could block the long-awaited prequel to the films.

Robert Pini, a spokesman for Time Warner Inc.'s New Line, declined to comment.

The films — 2001's "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring," 2002's "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers," and 2003's "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" — have reaped nearly $6 billion combined worldwide, according to the complaint.

The estimate includes everything from box office receipts to revenue from sales of DVDs and other products.

The plaintiffs seek more than $150 million in compensatory damages, unspecified punitive damages and a court order giving the Tolkien estate the right to terminate any rights New Line may have to make films based on other works by the author, including "The Hobbit."

Such an order would scuttle plans by New Line to make a two-film prequel based on "The Hobbit." "Rings" trilogy director Peter Jackson has already signed on to serve as executive producer on the project, which is tentatively slated to begin production next year, with releases planned for 2010 and 2011.

"The Tolkien trustees do not file lawsuits lightly, and have tried unsuccessfully to resolve their claims out of court," Steven Maier, an attorney for the Tolkien estate based in Britain, said in a statement. "New Line has not paid the plaintiffs even one penny of its contractual share of gross receipts despite the billions of dollars of gross revenue generated by these wildly successful motion pictures."

Maier also claims the film studio has blocked the Tolkien estate and the other plaintiffs from auditing the receipts of the last two films.

The lawsuit claims J.R.R. Tolkien established a trust through which he signed a film deal in 1969 with United Artists. After Tolkien's death, his heirs created the charity in the author's name.

Meanwhile, the original agreement terms were picked up by Hollywood producer Saul Zaentz, who produced an animated film in 1978 based on the "Rings" books, and eventually licensed the rights to make live-action films to New Line.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs said they have spent the years since the movies hit theaters trying to negotiate a settlement with New Line.

Other disputes over the film's earnings have surfaced in recent years.

In 2004, Zaentz sued New Line, claiming the studio cheated him out of $20 million in royalties from the film trilogy, which he optioned to New Line for a percentage of the movies' profits.

He and the film studio reached an out-of-court settlement a year later.

Jackson's production company also tangled with New Line in 2005 over profits from the films. A lawsuit was settled last year.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: hobbit; hobbithole; hollywood; lawsuit; lordoftherings; lotr; movies; newlinecinema; tolkien
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Jackson's production company also tangled with New Line in 2005 over profits from the films. A lawsuit was settled last year.

Between the above and the subject of the article, it seems like New Line has a problem with paying up on what it rightly owes people.

1 posted on 02/11/2008 5:48:53 PM PST by Pyro7480
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To: HairOfTheDog; RosieCotton

Tolkien ping!


2 posted on 02/11/2008 5:49:24 PM PST by Pyro7480 ("Jesu, Jesu, Jesu, esto mihi Jesus" -St. Ralph Sherwin's last words at Tyburn)
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To: Pyro7480

New Line is pretty scummy for doing this.


3 posted on 02/11/2008 5:51:39 PM PST by VictoryGal (Never give up, never surrender!)
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To: Pyro7480

"Nassty. trickssy hobbitsesss!"

4 posted on 02/11/2008 5:53:12 PM PST by Charles Henrickson (Bad hobbits are hard to break.)
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This apparently happens a lot. The authors of books and writers are at the very bottom of the totem pole. Which is another example of how backwards hollywood is...the very people who CREATE the thing are least valued.

I recall Winston Groom had to sue over Forrest Gump because the studio tried to claim they didn’t make a profit. If memory serves, his cut came after all “expenses”. I don’t recall the outcome of the suit, but to claim that movie didn’t make money is simply laughable.


5 posted on 02/11/2008 5:53:58 PM PST by Crimson Elephant
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To: Pyro7480

Tolkein estate, meet Hollywood accounting.


6 posted on 02/11/2008 5:54:04 PM PST by Bubba Ho-Tep ("More weight!"--Giles Corey)
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To: Pyro7480
it seems like New Line has a problem with paying up on what it rightly owes people.

It would seem so. I was pleased that PJ was able to settle his differences, they seemed irreconcilable for a while there. I hope this too, gets taken care of so we can look forward to a Hobbit movie.

7 posted on 02/11/2008 5:56:38 PM PST by HairOfTheDog
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To: Old Sarge

Tolkien PING!


8 posted on 02/11/2008 5:56:41 PM PST by MS.BEHAVIN (Women who behave rarely make history)
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To: Pyro7480

That’s some pretty serious coin. New Line should probably pay up before some “nassssty orcssesss” come collecting.


9 posted on 02/11/2008 5:57:18 PM PST by Pablo64 (What is popular is not always right. What is right is not always popular.)
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To: Pyro7480

To think that Hollywood is full of socialist, liberal, communist leaning wannabes... Oddly, it doesn’t strike me as funny that they’d impose a “tax” on the original content, depriving authors and writers of a share of the same.


10 posted on 02/11/2008 5:59:26 PM PST by coconutt2000 (NO MORE PEACE FOR OIL!!! DOWN WITH TYRANTS, TERRORISTS, AND TIMIDCRATS!!!! (3-T's For World Peace))
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To: Pyro7480

The MPAA are such fine, upstanding people, so concerned about respecting copyright...


11 posted on 02/11/2008 6:00:06 PM PST by sourcery (Electile Disfunction: The inability to get excited about any of the available candidates)
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To: Pyro7480

So we’re back to no “The Hobbit” movie again?


12 posted on 02/11/2008 6:01:38 PM PST by Telepathic Intruder
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To: sourcery
The MPAA are such fine, upstanding people, so concerned about respecting copyright...

Aren't these the same people that will sue a 12 year old for downloading a movie?

13 posted on 02/11/2008 6:11:10 PM PST by The Iceman Cometh (Evil has a name and it is Hillary!)
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To: Pyro7480; monkapotamus; Tamar1973; EveningStar; KevinDavis; All

Ping Lord of the rings fans


14 posted on 02/11/2008 6:14:46 PM PST by SevenofNine ("We are Freepers, all your media belong to us, resistence is futile")
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To: 2Jedismom; 300winmag; Alkhin; Alouette; ambrose; Anitius Severinus Boethius; artios; AUsome Joy; ...
Sounds like New Line doesn't like sharing their profits with anyone.


Ring Ping!!

Anyone wishing to be added to or removed from the Ring-Ping list, please don't hesitate to let me know.

15 posted on 02/11/2008 6:16:12 PM PST by ecurbh (Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man.)
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To: Pyro7480

Also I should like to know about risks, out-of-pocket expenses, time required and renumeration, and so forth’ (Bilbo) - by which he meant: ‘What am I going to get out of it? and am I going to come back alive?’ “


16 posted on 02/11/2008 6:17:13 PM PST by Red_Devil 232 (VietVet - USMC All Ready On The Right? All Ready On The Left? All Ready On The Firing Line!)
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To: Pyro7480

Time for New Line to re-jigger the books so that they don’t show a profit.


17 posted on 02/11/2008 6:18:43 PM PST by Nachoman (My guns and my ammo, they comfort me.)
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To: Pyro7480

The thing that would truly put the fear of God into them would be to give the property rights to the films to the plaintiff.


18 posted on 02/11/2008 6:21:05 PM PST by elmer fudd (Fukoku kyohei)
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To: al baby; Auntbee; BJClinton; Dashing Dasher; dfwddr; exile; feinswinesuksass; Finger Monkey; ...
For those of you who really give a rat's ass. :)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket TaЯd ping!

"Tard" refers to the ping list members and not to the subject of the thread!

List of Ping Lists

19 posted on 02/11/2008 6:22:42 PM PST by EveningStar
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To: ecurbh

Does seem to be a recurrent theme, doesn’t it?


20 posted on 02/11/2008 6:23:42 PM PST by BibChr ("...behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, so what wisdom is in them?" [Jer. 8:9])
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To: Pyro7480
Frito rolled his eyes heavenward. It was going to be a long epic.
21 posted on 02/11/2008 6:23:51 PM PST by Red_Devil 232 (VietVet - USMC All Ready On The Right? All Ready On The Left? All Ready On The Firing Line!)
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To: Bubba Ho-Tep

The only thing in this world more mythical than hobbits are residuals in Hollywood.


22 posted on 02/11/2008 6:25:38 PM PST by MediaMole
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To: coconutt2000
To think that Hollywood is full of socialist, liberal, communist leaning wannabes... Oddly, it doesn’t strike me as funny that they’d impose a “tax” on the original content, depriving authors and writers of a share of the same.

Many years ago I was a Hollywood entertainment attorney. Every nasty rumor you have ever heard about the ethics of producers and studios is true. It is the most dishonest bunch I have ever encountered.

23 posted on 02/11/2008 6:39:08 PM PST by ModelBreaker
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To: EveningStar
"New Line was required to pay 7.5 percent of gross receipts "

If the contract was for payment to be made based on profit, we all know that they would never see a dime. However, the contract appears to be based on the "gross." Now if New Line prove they had no "gross" that would indeed be an accounting miracle. I hope this goes to a jury and the jury slams New Line.

24 posted on 02/11/2008 6:43:47 PM PST by Enterprise (Those who "betray us" also "Betray U.S." They're called DEMOCRATS!)
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To: Charles Henrickson
I wonder how much they owe Carville?


25 posted on 02/11/2008 6:53:35 PM PST by ItsForTheChildren
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To: Red_Devil 232
Frito rolled his eyes heavenward. It was going to be a long epic.

Wow! I thought I was the only one who knew about lustful elf-maidens and roller-skating dragons!

26 posted on 02/11/2008 6:57:53 PM PST by SlowBoat407 (Just how will wrecking the U.S. economy save the planet?)
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To: SlowBoat407
How about this one?

The water was nowhere more than a few feet deep, and the boggies had little difficulty making their way across. "This is indeed a queer river," said Bromosel, as the water lapped at his thighs.

27 posted on 02/11/2008 7:02:40 PM PST by Red_Devil 232 (VietVet - USMC All Ready On The Right? All Ready On The Left? All Ready On The Firing Line!)
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To: Pyro7480

The movies were pretty good, though I was disappointed that they cut out Tom Bombadil. They did stay relatively true to the tales though, and kept a good sense of right/wrong and good/evil.


28 posted on 02/11/2008 7:03:56 PM PST by MarineBrat (My wife and I took an AIDS vaccination that the Church offers.)
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To: Pyro7480

Huh—I thought Tolkein sold the rights to LOTR many years ago for a pittance, claiming it was “unfilmable”—I didn’t know there was anything contracted for a share of gross receipts.


29 posted on 02/11/2008 7:06:29 PM PST by Mamzelle (not mccain)
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To: Nachoman

Won’t help them in this case - the agreement was for a percentage of gross receipts, not gross or net profit...:) Smart of the Tolkien trust!


30 posted on 02/11/2008 7:10:44 PM PST by PugetSoundSoldier (Indignation from the sting of truth is the defense of the indefensible.)
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To: MarineBrat
Bromosel lives! See post #27

In his hand he carried an ancient and trusty weapon, called by the elves a Browning semi-automatic.

31 posted on 02/11/2008 7:11:45 PM PST by Red_Devil 232 (VietVet - USMC All Ready On The Right? All Ready On The Left? All Ready On The Firing Line!)
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To: PugetSoundSoldier

New Line Cinema fights to the death on this one.


32 posted on 02/11/2008 7:14:28 PM PST by Anti-Bubba182
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To: Telepathic Intruder; ecurbh
So we?re back to no ?The Hobbit? movie again?

No... That's diffrnt I think.

The Hobbit movie was hung up on a dispute between PJ and New Line. Which has apparently been resolved.

33 posted on 02/11/2008 7:17:26 PM PST by Ramius (Personally, I give us... one chance in three. More tea?)
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To: Red_Devil 232

Dagnabit! Where is my copy????

Grundig blaupunkt luger frug
Watusi snarf wazoo
Nixon Dirsken nasahist
Rebozo boogaloo!


34 posted on 02/11/2008 7:18:22 PM PST by SlowBoat407 (Just how will wrecking the U.S. economy save the planet?)
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To: Red_Devil 232

Vas ist? Ver is der handsome Farahslaxer?


35 posted on 02/11/2008 7:19:42 PM PST by SlowBoat407 (Just how will wrecking the U.S. economy save the planet?)
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To: MarineBrat
They did stay relatively true to the tales though

Yeah, Arwen saved Frodo, not Glorfindel. While I enjoyed the movies quite a bit, I was annoyed by a number of things such as Arwen's "you want him, come and claim him". I've read the trilogy 5-6 times in the past 30 years or so and I have to roll my eyes at that one. Glorfindel sets Frodo on his horse and sends him across the ford of Bruinen thereafter invoking Elrond's invokation to have the ford wash the riders away. In the movie...Arwen does it and rides across with him.

Bombadil would be extremely difficult to adapt to the screen since he's essentially insane. An immortal with unlimited powers, as he was before and he will be after. He makes Treebeard seem like a hatchling. I can't imagine how you could do Tom without going way into some weird Monty Python type of world where you find a refuge in the middle of war where people feel that basket weaving is the most important task of the day, everything else being useless dreck.

36 posted on 02/11/2008 7:19:57 PM PST by Malsua
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To: Red_Devil 232

Boggies are an unattractive by annoying people whose numbers have decreased rather precipitously since the bottom fell out of the fairy-tale market. Slow and sullen, and yet dull, they prefer to lead simple lives of pastoral squalor.


37 posted on 02/11/2008 7:20:24 PM PST by MarineBrat (My wife and I took an AIDS vaccination that the Church offers.)
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To: Anti-Bubba182

Oh you bet! A royalty of 7.5% on gross receipts of $6 BILLION would be a $450 million dollar payout... You can bet that New Line will push themselves to bankruptcy over this one!


38 posted on 02/11/2008 7:24:07 PM PST by PugetSoundSoldier (Indignation from the sting of truth is the defense of the indefensible.)
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To: MarineBrat

In their midst was a towering dark shadow too terrible to describe. In its hand it held a huge black globe and on its chest was written in cruel runes, “Villanova.”

“Aiyee,” shouted Legolam, “A ballhog!”


39 posted on 02/11/2008 7:25:40 PM PST by Strategerist
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To: Malsua
Bombadil would be extremely difficult to adapt to the screen since he's essentially insane.

True, he was pretty loopy. I loved his portrayal in "Bored of the Rings" as Tim Benzedrine and his wife Hashberry. Strobe candles, indeed!

When they get around to doing The Hobbit, I want to see what they do with Beorn.

40 posted on 02/11/2008 7:26:43 PM PST by MarineBrat (My wife and I took an AIDS vaccination that the Church offers.)
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To: Strategerist

“Crud!” a narc screamed. “It’s her nibs!”


41 posted on 02/11/2008 7:29:20 PM PST by MarineBrat (My wife and I took an AIDS vaccination that the Church offers.)
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To: Pyro7480

since when to studios pay royalties? is this a new thing?


42 posted on 02/11/2008 7:32:11 PM PST by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: SlowBoat407
In the eastern sky, Velveeta, beloved morning star of the elves and handmaid of the dawn, rose and greeted Noxzema, bringer of the flannel tongue, and clanging on her golden garbage pail, bade him make ready the winged rickshaw of Novocaine, herald of the day. Thence came rosy-eyeballed Ovaltine, she of the fluffy mouth, and lightly kissed the land east of the Seas. In other words, it was morning.
43 posted on 02/11/2008 7:33:33 PM PST by Red_Devil 232 (VietVet - USMC All Ready On The Right? All Ready On The Left? All Ready On The Firing Line!)
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To: Bubba Ho-Tep
yep... New Line probably used the tired line that they'd pay royalties only on NET profits... therefore New Line would claim that there was no net profit after paying actors, production crews, marketing, etc.

Hopefully the Tolkien estate has it in writing that royalties were to be paid on GROSS profits (or some such).

I read some time ago that the author of the Silence of the Lambs got zilch because the contract stipulated it would pay only if there was a net profit... wa-la no net profit so the author got nada (or relatively little).

Hollywood = sleaze-ville.

44 posted on 02/11/2008 7:33:59 PM PST by Trajan88 (www.bullittclub.com)
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To: Mamzelle

Yeah, Tom Bombadil was a neat character. I also didn’t like how they altered some characters and scenarios, especially Faramir. For this reason, “The Fellowship of the Ring,” in my opinion, (especially in its Extended Edition), was the best adaptation of the source material.


45 posted on 02/11/2008 7:34:27 PM PST by Pyro7480 ("Jesu, Jesu, Jesu, esto mihi Jesus" -St. Ralph Sherwin's last words at Tyburn)
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To: MarineBrat
When they get around to doing The Hobbit, I want to see what they do with Beorn

Beorn is doable. He's just a "golden compass" black bear that is sometimes man, sometimes bear. The morphing part shouldn't be an issue.

In the for what it's worth category, I play Lord of the Rings online...besides the fact that I run into the main characters on occasion, one of the most fun moments was very early on after release and my RL wife an me were exploring. We found the spot where Bilbo got the trolls "stoned". It was very satisfying on a number of levels. The game is quite true to the books, I've enjoyed playing it.

46 posted on 02/11/2008 7:36:00 PM PST by Malsua
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To: Strategerist

Forth from the gate burst a hundred thousand rabid narcs swinging bicycle chains and tire irons, followed by drooling divisions of pop-eyed changelings, deranged zombies, and distempered werewolves. At their shoulders marched eight score heavily armored griffins, three thousand goose-stepping mummies, and a column of abominable snowmen on motorized bobsleds; at their flanks tramped six companies of slavering ghouls, eighty parched vampires in white tie, and the Phantom of the Opera. Above them the sky was blackened by the dark shapes of vicious pelicans, houseflies the size of two-car garages, and Rodan the Flying Monster. Through the portals streamed more foes of various forms and descriptions, including a six-legged diplodocus, the Loch Ness Monster, King Kong, Godzilla, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, the Beast with 1,000,000 Eyes, the Brain from Planet Arous, three different subphyla of giant insects, the Thing, It, She, Them, and the Blob. The great tumult of their charge could have waked the dead, were they not already bringing up the rear.


47 posted on 02/11/2008 7:43:13 PM PST by MarineBrat (My wife and I took an AIDS vaccination that the Church offers.)
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To: Crimson Elephant
I read several years ago that William Shatner never received any royalty payments for the original Star Trek series because according to the studios it still hadn't turned a profit. IIRC, it worked like this: Studio 1 had the contract with the cast members, and had to pay them once the show turned a profit. Instead of renting it out for television at a profit, they rented it to Studio 2, (which was a part of the large corporation that owned both studios) at far below market value. Studio 2 rented the show to television stations and turned a ton of money, but Studio 1 showed it as a loss each time they rented the show out. Shatner talked about Desi-Lu (still owned by Lucy, then) screwing them royally. They required Star Trek (which was made by a production company, Desi-Lu was the distribution company) to buy their props from the Desi-Lu studios, and charged them something like $500 for the communicators (this was in 1966, when pro football players made $10,000 a year.)

People involved in the entertainment industry are dishonest.

48 posted on 02/11/2008 7:44:20 PM PST by Richard Kimball (Sure, they'd love to kill me, as long as they can do it without admitting I exist)
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To: Malsua
Beorn is doable. He's just a "golden compass" black bear that is sometimes man, sometimes bear. The morphing part shouldn't be an issue.

His intelligent animals would present the most difficult part I think. As I recall he had a house full of animal servants.

49 posted on 02/11/2008 7:45:34 PM PST by MarineBrat (My wife and I took an AIDS vaccination that the Church offers.)
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To: MarineBrat

Tim, now a rather handsome six-foot carrot, laughed loudly and changed into a coiled parking meter. Frito, dizzy as a great wave of oatmeal flowed through his brain, grew heedless of the puddle of drool collecting in his lap. There was a noiseless explosion between his ears and he watched with terror as the room began stretching and pulsating like Silly Putty in heat. Frito’s ears began to grow and his arms changed into badminton rackets. The floor developed holes out of which poured fanged peanut brittle. A score of polka-dotted cockroaches danced a buck and wing on his stomach. A Swiss cheese waltzed him twice around the room, and his nose fell off. Frito opened his mouth to speak and a flock of flying earthworms escaped. His gall bladder sang an aria and did a little tap dance on his appendix. He began to lose consciousness, but before it ebbed completely, he heard a six-foot waffle iron giggle, “If yoo dig it now, jes’ wade till th’ rush hits you!


50 posted on 02/11/2008 7:49:09 PM PST by SlowBoat407 (Just how will wrecking the U.S. economy save the planet?)
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