DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Max Baer, Jethro Bodine on the 60’s television sitcom “The Beverly Hillbillies” is suing CBS, arguing the broadcaster made inappropriate deals with an Iowa restaurant chain to use the character’s name.
Max Baer Jr. filed a lawsuit Tuesday arguing that he had reached a deal with CBS in 1991 giving him rights to use the TV character to establish a chain of restaurants, hotels and casinos.
The suit contends Max Baer had rights to the character Jethro and he has been undermined by the Jethro’s BBQ restaurant chain, which is based in Des Moines.
The chain’s owner, Bruce Gerleman, told The Des Moines Register that his company is not named as a defendant and that customers have nothing to worry about.
“We own the name, we own the trademark, it will always be Jethro’s BBQ in Des Moines, Iowa,” he said.
Aspokesman for CBS said it has made great efforts over the years to try to amicably resolve the issue with Baer and will continue to do so.
Baer’s attorney, Jon Freis, said his client was “kept completely in the dark” about negotiations between the broadcasting company and the Iowa businessman over the chain restaurant.
The chain opened in 2008. CBS contacted Gerleman saying it owned the rights to the TV character and other themes from the show. The parties reached an out-of-court agreement, and Jethro’s BBQ changed certain features of restaurants, including food dishes named after some characters.