Nothin’ Says Lovin’ Like SCREW in the Oven!

That time Pillsbury sued us for $50 Million…

Pillsbury Co. v. Milky Way Productions, US No. C78-679A (1981) was a precedent-setting case that established fair-use protections for the publication of registered trademarks in sexually explicit parodies in the United States. This case paved the way for the parody porn you see all over the Internet today.

SCREW #699 (April 21, 1978)

The February 20, 1978 issue of Screw magazine featured a parody of a Pillsbury advertisement, much in the same style as the parody ads National Lampoon magazine was popular for at the time, except this one was a little too dirty for its time. The “ad” which featured Pillsbury’s barrelhead trademark and two-lines from The Pillsbury Baking Song, also depicted a cartoon figure that resembled the Pillsbury Dough Boy — Poppin’ Fresh — performing, “various lewd sexual acts, including fellatio and sexual intercourse’ on his girlfriend, “Poppie Fresh”. (In another ad, he gave her a yeast infection.)

POPPIN’ FRESH POUNDS LITTLE DEBBIE’S CAKE

That’s A Lotta Dough

Eventually a copy of the issue made it to the corporate brass at Pillsbury who didn’t find it even remotely funny. The Pillsbury Company immediately filed an initial complaint against Milky Way Productions (owner of Screw at the time) and publisher Al Goldstein in United States District Court in Atlanta contending that the manner in which Screw presented the “ad” implied that Pillsbury had placed it. They went on to allege several counts of copyright infringement, common law trademark infringement, federal statutory damages, violations of the Georgia Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act and of the Georgia “anti-dilution” statute, along with several counts of tortious tarnishment of its marks, trade characters, and jingle. For all of that Pillsbury demanded $50 MILLION in damages. That’s a lotta dough, hoo-hoo!

The judge presiding the case, William Clark O’Kelley, issued a temporary injunction against Screw on April 21, 1978, which was immediately disobeyed the following week when Al Goldstein ran a piece in the magazine entitled, “Nothin’ Says Lovin’ Like a Jew in the Oven,” depicting Pillsbury as Hitler. In its final decision, however, the Atlanta Division of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia held that the pictures were editorial or social commentary and, thus, protected under fair use. The case was dropped. Screw won.

POPPIN’ FRESH’S BUTTERMILK GRAND

Screw’s New “Mascot”

After that, the sinister porn version of Poppin’ Fresh became Screw’s unofficial logo for an entire year – as “payback” from Al. To make matters even worse for Pillsbury, investors from Japan had just licensed rights to the Screw name and likeness to publish their own Japanese version. Not knowing who Pillsbury was or anything about Poppin’ Fresh at the time, they simply assumed this unofficial, pornographic Poppin’ Fresh logo was some sort of Screw “mascot” and it was subsequently published on every cover of the new Japanese Screw until they finally learned otherwise!

Today, because of the precedent set by this case – a/k/a Pillsbury v. Screw – everyone gets to use popular logos in dirty parodies to make them look more realistic. Parody porn is a “thing” today because of this case paved the way for it!

POPPIE FRESH – MOIST ‘N DELICIOUS

Got Old Issues of Screw?

Unfortunately, we couldn’t find any back issues of Screw in our archives from that period, except for the cover image above which was the first one published after the case was settled. If you look close, you’ll see Al Goldstein’s middle finger is conveniently shoved right up Poppin’ Fresh’s ass – his trademark “Fuck You!” to Pillsbury as only he could do it.

If you or anyone you know has any old copies of Screw featuring any of the old Poppin’ Fresh stories and art, we’re always looking to acquire back issues missing from our archives. Please contact phil@screw.wtf for an offer.

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