'Mrs. Munger' sues Disney
Created 12/31/1998 - 01:00
Imagine having your geeky yearbook photo digitally altered, animated, and then broadcast all over the world. "Mrs. Munger's Class," a segment that airs on ABC's top-rated children's programming block, "Disney's One Saturday Morning," is based on this very concept. Every week, a new short segment brings a page from a school yearbook to life, using computers to superimpose moving lips and caricature the facial features of the fictional Mrs. Munger and her students resulting in humorous and nonsensical conversations. However, a group of students from the class which the original yearbook photos were taken - Kathleen Foresman's 1975 group of sixth-graders at Woodbridge Middle School - have sued ABC-TV and the Walt Disney Co., the network's owner, claiming that ABC didn't have permission to use the pictures and the skit defames them by making them look like idiots and subjecting them to racial slurs. The suit also claims that a representative of the show tricked the real teacher, Foresman, into signing papers allowing the use of her name and likeness for which she was compensated $1,000. In addition, legal papers cite that a former member of the Woodbridge Middle School class became an art director for the show and decided to use the yearbook as the basis for a parody of sixth-grade life. However, it claims this was done "for the purpose of humiliating and ridiculing his or her former schoolmates." These segments have previously appeared on ABC's Friday night line-up, TGIF, and ABC In Concert. Moreover a series based on these characters had been in development prior to the lawsuit. Needless to say, the interstitials no longer air. Disney representatives declined comment due to the case's pending litigation.