Friday, July 20, 2018
Things To Do

Judge blocks Lynyrd Skynyrd movie, saying it violates decades-old 'blood oath'

NEW YORK — A film created with help from a former Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer violates a "blood oath" surviving band members made not to exploit the band's name and history, a judge concluded as he blocked its distribution, siding with a surviving member of the 1970s pioneering Southern rock group and the widow of its lead singer.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Robert Sweet was unsealed Monday at the request of a lawyer for a Los Angeles-based independent record label that planned to distribute the film Street Survivors: The True Story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash. It was dated last Wednesday.

In the 1970s, the Jacksonville-formed band rode the popularity of classics like Sweet Home Alabama and Free Bird to stardom before lead singer and songwriter Ronnie Van Zant died in the October 1977 crash in Mississippi. The same year, the band released its final album: Street Survivor.

Evan Mandel, a lawyer for Cleopatra Records Inc. and Cleopatra Films, said in a Manhattan court filing that Sweet's ruling did not disclose the "specific parameters" of relief to the plaintiffs. The judge, though, wrote that a ruling against Cleopatra would result in no profits from the film, which cost $1.2 million to produce and was finished this spring.

Mandel said he would seek "immediate relief" from an appeals court. He did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

The judge said the film relied, in part, on the memories of Artimus Pyle, who joined as the group's drummer in 1975. The film focuses on Pyle, his relationship with other band members, particularly Van Zant, and events during and immediately following the plane crash.

Pyle was critically injured but survived the crash, as did founding band member Gary R. Rossington.

Sweet said Rossington, fellow founding band member Allen Collins, and Van Zant's widow, now Judy Van Zant Jenness, entered a "blood oath" post-crash, agreeing no one would ever perform as Lynyrd Skynyrd again. Collins died in the early 1990s.

The judge said a dispute after surviving band members decided to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the crash with a tribute tour resulted in an agreement defining when the parties could use the band's name, its history or the name and likeness of Van Zant. Pyle signed the agreement, writing "Under Protest" adjacent to his signature. He performed until 1991, before signing a termination agreement.

In June 2016, Pyle signed a deal with Cleopatra that would pay him 5 percent of the film's profits and give him a co-producer credit, the court ruling said. The judge said the film's screenwriter, Jared Cohn, regularly received historical information from Pyle, who reviewed his outline and script, offering comments and revisions. The judge said Cleopatra also solicited Pyle's views on casting and costumes and let him provide feedback on the accuracy of the portrayals by actors.

After hearing publicity about the film last summer, the plaintiffs sent Cleopatra the 1988 court order in July 2016 after only about $7,000 had been spent developing the film, the judge noted.

Comments

Sports on TV/radio for Friday, July 20

TODAYAction sportsX Games9 p.m.ESPNArena FootballPhiladelphia at Baltimore7 p.m.CBSSNAutosMonster Energy Cup: Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 qualifying4:30 p.m.NBCSNBaseballCardinals at Cubs2 p.m.MLBMarlins at Rays7 p.m.Fox Sun, FSF; 620-AMMets at Yankee...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Hillsborough County looks to hold the line in 2019 budget

Hillsborough County looks to hold the line in 2019 budget

TAMPA – County leaders won't know until November whether Florida voters will greenlight an increase to the homestead exemption that would take a $30 million chunk out of Hillsborough County's annual budget.But they're not taking ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
SoundBytes: The Struts, After the Burial, Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts and more

SoundBytes: The Struts, After the Burial, Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts and more

— Glam-rockers the Struts, most recently seen locally opening for the Foo Fighters at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, have announced a much more intimate show on Oct. 14 at the Orpheum. Spirit Animal opens. Tickets go on sale Friday. ...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Deep-fried wonders at Plant City Strawberry Festival to be featured on Cooking Channel

Deep-fried wonders at Plant City Strawberry Festival to be featured on Cooking Channel

The strawberry-laden and deep-fried wonders of Plant City’s Florida Strawberry Festival will be featured on two episodes of the TV series Carnival Eats, the first on July 29.The Cooking Channel series features host Noah Cappe as he marvels at the "ga...
Published: 07/19/18

Hernando Events for July 27

Events28 SaturdayWalking Sticks Club: Perry Oldenburg: The club will meet at Perry Oldenberg Wildlife and Environmental Area located off Deer Run Road, north of Brooksville. Registration is required. Those attending will learn about the history of Pe...
Published: 07/19/18
Three trips in one on a whirlwind tour of Ecuador

Three trips in one on a whirlwind tour of Ecuador

"Why Ecuador?" I was asked that at least a dozen times when I told folks I had booked a short trip to the South American country. At the time, the answer was that my husband, who has an Indian passport, didn’t need a visa to visit Ecuador and...
Published: 07/19/18
Top things to do in Tampa Bay on July 20

Top things to do in Tampa Bay on July 20

Rascal Flatts: American country band will perform with special guests Dan +Shay and Carly Pearce. 7:30 p.m., MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $21-$85.75. (813) 740-2446.Classic Albums Live: Pink Floyd: The concert series...
Published: 07/19/18
ESPYs host Danica Patrick falls flat in opening monologue

ESPYs host Danica Patrick falls flat in opening monologue

LOS ANGELES — Danica Patrick’s monologue to open the ESPYs went over like, well, a flat tire at the Indianapolis 500. The newly retired racecar driver was the first woman to host the annual show honoring the past year’s best athletes and moments on W...
Published: 07/19/18
The house featured in the ‘The Brady Bunch’ hits the market for $1.885 million

The house featured in the ‘The Brady Bunch’ hits the market for $1.885 million

There could soon be a new owner for one of the U.S.’s most iconic Hollywood homes.The house that’s featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch is now up for sale.Its asking price? A cool $1.885 million, the Los Angeles Times reports...
Published: 07/19/18
Pregnant Disney dancer claims gender bias in lawsuit

Pregnant Disney dancer claims gender bias in lawsuit

ORLANDO — A former aerial dancer at Walt Disney World has sued the resort alleging gender discrimination, saying she was fired after she became pregnant with twins and went on an 11-month leave. Krista Crowder filed the lawsuit in state court in Orla...
Published: 07/19/18