It’s high time Madison Avenue took advantage of the Shakespeare Brand. Of course there have been a plethora of books over the centuries, fiction and non-fiction. There is a Shakespeare bobble-head figure and some queer looking square teapots and fussy tea cozies. I will admit to owning a William Shakespeare switch plate. These things are PEANUTS! The time is well past due to make real money on the good old Bard.
Merchandize, franchise, animated films and video games—that’s where my fortune will be made! Consequently I propose the following enterprises. Call for a complete list of royalty and licensing fees. Nothing is beneath me.
Animated movies with their lucrative licensed merchandise are a great place to start. Picture all those little darlings singing the movie’s theme song, wearing adorable outfits, buying action figures (costumes extra) and filling their rooms with other movie inspired items. A Midsummer Night’s Dream awards the wise filmmaker who comes up with an enchanting feature length cartoon/film, complete with an entire line of associated products. Little girls wearing gossamer outfits, Lady Gaga singing the catchy theme based on Mendelssohn’s Wedding March, and boys donning mighty Oberon’s magic robes. Envision Titania figurines and stuffed “Bottoms”—the possibilities are unlimited.
Animators, imagine Beatrice and Benedick romping through garden and banquet hall, singing of the single-life and surprising love. [Accessories sold separately.] I wonder if we couldn’t move the story to an undersea coral garden and have a charming Little Serving Wench sing Much Ado to You and You at their wedding which would be set in a sea of multicolored kelp? [Florida theme park developers copy.] DREAM BIG—the Bard wrote fourteen comedies!
Expand the experience. A planned trilogy based on the Wars of the Roses and/or the French Wars would delight, not only animated film fans, but also video gamers. Which Henry will your son want to be? Richard III must be included too. Extra points for unhorsing him! Heck, maybe six films and associated games for the histories alone.
Video games are gold. In addition to the Henrys, how about a romp through the Forest of Arden for the kiddies, or action games like Midsummer Mummies and the ever popular Titus Andronicus? There’s money to be made as Macbeth and the Three Witches fight to gain and keep a kingdom. Wouldn’t Romeo make a great vampire? BARD GAMES, available for all game consoles.
Think $$$! Licensed soliloquy heads make great Christmas gifts. Hamlet’s head will sprout “To be or not to be…,” and Henry V’s “This day is called the feast of St. Crispian…” will echo through the winter’s night. Portia can be heard to speak “The quality of mercy is not strain’d…,” while Romeo declares “But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?” It will be wonderful to hear your children mimic Mark Antony’s, “Friends, Romans, countrymen…” or Macbeth’s “Is this a dagger which I see before me, the handle toward my hand…?” or Lady Mac’s “Out, damned spot! out, I say...” A mashup of the Three Witches would make a great birthday present: “Thrice the brindled cat hath mew’d, et al.” (Eye of newt extra.) Just think how conversation at family meals will be enriched. Baby Boomers can delight in dis-inheriting their children as Lear spouts “How sharper than a serpent’s tooth…” while they spend the kids’ inheritance. Collect them all: HEAD ROLES: Educational, Fun and Great for Parties.
No one could resist this merchandising scheme: Pithy quotes to go along with that expensive cup of morning java? Read them while sipping your double extra latte-cappuccino - “Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall,” “He that dies pays all debts,” “Many a good hanging prevents a bad marriage,” “Tis ever common that men are merriest when they are from home,” “For There was never yet philosopher that could endure the toothache patiently,” “You lack the season of all natures, sleep,” and “I like this place, And willingly could waste my time in it.” JAVA EYE-POPPERS, licensed of course. [Perhaps we could find some lighter fare to adorn a kiddie meal cup of sugared soda?]
Afternoon coffee breaks will become fun, collegial exchanges when cup quotes stimulate conversation with their “SHAKES OF THE DAY” messages: “Men have died from time to time and worms have eaten them, but not for love,” “Hell is empty, And all the devils are here,” “O beware, my lord, the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on…,” “And do as adversaries do in law, strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends,” “Neither a borrower nor a lender be; For loan oft loses both itself and friend, And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry,” or “If one good deed in all my life I did, I do repent it from my very soul.” I assure you, the office will be buzzing.
New companies will form: The Sir John Falstaff Weight Loss Program, Portia’s Bail Bond Services, or Lady Mac’s Out, Out, Damned Spot Cleaners franchise. Plan your next event with As You Like It Catering; Visit Prospero’ Magic Island Water Park; Shop at Twelfth Night Party Goods for your next event; find the perfect mate on Romeo and Juliet’s eMatch, and, if that doesn’t work out, call King Lear’s Family Law for a quote.
Keep those royalties rolling in! Who can resist collectible bric-a-brac? Every home should have cute salt & pepper sets, bathroom towels, plates, and pillow cases depicting legendary Shakespearean lovers: Petruchio and Katharina, Rosalind and Orlando, Antony and Cleopatra, Titania and Bottom, Othello and the lovely Desdemona. Well, maybe you should think twice about the Othello bed pillows and the Petruchio plates.
Seriously, the time has come to cash in on this Bard of Avon thing. [BOAT LLC] Hey, that’s a great name for my merchandising empire! Call me.
[Sorry, Will. You’re not going to get a brass farthing from BOAT LLC, but Happy Birthday anyway.]