Junk Metal: Inside the California Disney Pin Counterfeiting Bust

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A Note on Sources

The following article is based primarily on documents on file with the Superior Court of California, County of Orange in the case of The People of The State of California vs. Larry James Allred and Robert Edward Smyrak, 11NF1191.

My research in these was supplemented by telephone interviews with the defense attorneys involved (I thank them for taking the time to speak with me); law enforcement press releases; public record searches; and, in a few instances, previous media reports from reputable news-gathering organizations such as the Los Angeles Times.—Mike Bastoli

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eptember 29, 2011 was not a good day for Robert Edward Smyrak. At 8:00 AM in Courtroom N3 of the North Justice Center in Fullerton, California, the 52-year-old Anaheim man appeared before Judge Nicholas Thompson of the Superior Court of California, Orange County to receive his sentence.

Smyrak, who goes by Bob, was pleading guilty to one count of felony trademark infringement. The penalty, at least as paper, would be one year in jail, three years probation, plus restitution. In truth, because of overcrowding in California’s prisons, he would serve out his sentence entirely at home, through supervised house arrest. But it was still, to be sure, an unfortunate turn of events for the IT operations manager whose most serious prior conviction was for using a cell phone behind the wheel.

Smyrak’s journey into California’s madhouse corrections system had begun, at least in earnest, in the early days of 2010, with a little help from a friend, Larry James Allred, then aged 56 and a resident of nearby Walnut.

Hoop Dee Doo Revue Rewritten Due to Copyright Claim

It’s a long and sordid story, but the crux of the matter is the original Hoop Dee Doo Revue featured a song based on a famous Perry Como polka (here it here). Alas, all these years later the owners of the copyright on that song demanded Disney pay up, or stop using the song. Rather than fight, Disney has rewritten the title song of the popular show.

There’s a full video of the dress rehearsal or you can watch this version snapped on a cell phone, where the sound is a little better:

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the show in person. But while I don’t find the new song quite as snappy as the original, the audience doesn’t seem to mind and is clapping along with a lot of energy. If you’re a fan of the HDDR, what do you think of the new song?

For comparison I’ve place the opening title as it was in 2006 below the jump: