is the correspondence between me and Craig Wolfe, president of
Celibriducks, producers of the "Elvis Duck". Some personal
matters relating to Ed Bonja have been excluded. But, as I understand it
Celibriducks were going to contact Ed who is recovering from heart surgery
Subject: celebriducks elvis rubber duck comments
Hi Sid....thank you for taking the time to protect the wonderful
career and legacy of Elvis. You know I am a huge fan of Elvis and
would never want to do anything disrepectful regarding his life or
image. As I mentioned to another fan, our art form is ducks so be it
the Buddha, James Brown, Charlie Chaplin, etc, they will be
represented in our world as a duck...not out of disrespect, but that's
our world here....We don't make fun of people we add to the line.
Quite the opposite, we consider it an honor to have them included.
We spent an extraordinary amount of time trying to capture his look
and do this appropriately. Almost everyone who has written and
called has loved it. We even took the time to hand-paint all 1023red
sequins on each duck. .Everyone is entitled to their opinion and
their own feelings, but I hope you can feel where are heart was when
we created this particular Celebriduck. We are fans here too!...
And regarding the comment regarding Ed Bonja's photo. Our web person
had no idea and in fact we have access to EPE's photo library so we
have thousands to choose from. We had no idea we were using a photo we
need permission for. We would never do such a thing. If Ed
wishes us to change it, that is no problem, or even better, perhaps is
to credit the picture as belonging to Ed. I'm not exactly sure which
picture it is, but I'm sure you can help me with that.
Perhaps, you might communicate to Ed our feelings. I so wish he or
someone would simply have written us as we would have changed it
immediately if need be. .I hope this helps clarify where we are coming
from a bit and I do hope you will write back. I only wrote because
someone had told us of some of your comments and we were very hurt
especially of the ones regarding Ed. At a time of his surgery,
the last thing in the world would be for us to ever want to cause him
any problems whatsoever. All we care about is his recovery to good
health. I very much look forward to hearing from you.......take
Subject: What famous person would not warrant your "duck
Thank you for your email and I must
say I was suprised but pleased to receive it. It is nice
to know my Newsletters are being read, forwarded and hopefully
encouraging thought and discussion. I respond to all emails
relating to Elvis and of course will take this opportunity to
further my satirical arguments against your ducks on a more
reasoned and personal level.
What famous person would not
warrant your "duck art"...Mother Teresa, Princess Diana,
Nelson Mandella, Martin Luther King, Ghandi ? I could not find
these images on your website and presume you have not manufactured
them. Your Jesus Duck was very toned down and it had
nothing like a beak more like big lips. Why didn't you give
Jesus the full 'Celibriduck' treatment with the huge beak
covering nose and mouth ? If you had produced a Princess Diana
duck I think you would have a wave of criticism of "bad
taste" and likewise for Mother Teresa. A Martin Luther
King duck would have got a serious backlash from the black
community. Nelson Mandella is a great leader and inspiration to
millions of people all over the world, as was Ghandi. To demean their
sacrifices, achievements and inspiration by featuring them as
Celebriducks would be sacrilege. The arguments I have used for all
these famous people also holds for Elvis Presley.
Elvis Presley changed the 20th
Century. He was a one man revolution that changed music for ever,
the way we dressed and how we lived. He was a social phenomenon
that changed the world. His music brings joy, happiness and
hope to millions of people all over the world. For the past 28
years I have had to defend Elvis and fight all the bad press he
has got about the drugs, hamburgers, over-eating, fat Elvis to
remind people Elvis made our world a better place. An Elvis
duck demeans his memory and gives ammunition to the media that have
put Elvis down for all these years. Only since the 25th Anniversary
has the world's media started to realise Elvis had enormous talent,
could sing, could act and that he was unique. Elvis deserves more
than being 'immortalised' as a duck.
To fans, Elvis is something
approaching religious fervour. He is practically worshipped and
loved by millions of people from Memphis to Mongolia, Sudan to
Sumatra. As Vernon Presley stated on Elvis' gravestone, Elvis was
"a gift from God". You have betrayed the dignity and
status Elvis deserves. Look on the various Elvis newsgroups around
the world and you will see you have upset and angered so many
fans. Perhaps some misguided fans who bought Albert Goldman's book
"Elvis" or Gail Giorgio's "Is Elvis Alive" may
buy your duck but the vast majority of Elvis fans feel annoyance and
You remember Elvis in the image of
a duck and I raised money for three years when I started Elvisly
Yours to honour Elvis with a life size bronze statue. Since you have
offended so many Elvis fans around the world perhaps you would like
to donate all profits from the sale of the Elvis ducks to charity.
P.S. How many Elvis ducks have been
made in your limited edition?
Hi Sid...thank you for taking the time
to share your thoughts with me. I really do understand how you feel.
But I do have to say that we have sold thousands of these Elvis ducks and I
have spoken to so many Elvis fans and collectors..just wonderful
people...and yes, honestly, they do love the duck.
In answer to your question, we didn't make very many...just around 5000, so
they are a very collectible limited edition. We turn down more agents and
celebrities than we accept to add to our line. To us it is an honor to be
Please understand, I have no problem with anyone's opionion or taste. But
again, it is a matter of ones taste. You mentioned a number of famous
people, many of whom I greatly respect and do wish to add to the line some
day. You have to appreciate that people write in asking us to produce
specific ducks and the ones you mention including our religious ones are
None of them are done to be disrespectful. Now I look at some of the
representations of celebrities in different forms and I get the feeling they
are more about making fun of the person. Their caracatures do sometimes seem
a bit disrespectful to me personally. So to me, the cartoony way they did
it, makes me feel it was more to do it as a novelty and not to honor the
person in question.
Of course, I understand how you can look at us and say, but "once you
do a person as a duck, how can you say that your intentions were
noble?" But look at the hundreds of different ducks we have done. And
look at the ones in the custom duck section also. People have loved these
duckies. I was asked to do Princess Di so many times. The reason I didn't
even try and get the rights was I did feel it was still too close to her
untimely death and would not have been appropriate. But over time, yes, I
would like to add her. I do want to add many of the people you mentioned. I
have been asked to add them and I have great fondness for them.
In fact, we are now working on Our Lady of Guadalupe. The Jesus ducks
are sold in Relgion graduate school bookstores, Churches, etc. Yes, I
did adjust the beak...but actually, it really did look better. It still has
orange on it, but not as much. I thought it looked better. I saw no reason
to do it with the other ones.
I do believe that religious and artistic tolerance are so important. And I
really do respect everyone's feelings and opinions are to what is important
to them. If the Elvis duck seems not quite appropriate to you, I of course
can accept that. But I think it is important, especially for someone
like yourself, who people respect and look up to, to at least give a little
company like ours the benefit of the doubt as to our intentions.
To you, doing people as ducks, especially people of great significance,
doesn't feel right. But to many, many others it does. Who is right?...it is
not a matter of right or wrong. It is simply a difference in taste. My
daughter designed that Elvis duck. I know the spirit it was done in. And I
know our intentions here. I don't know how other companies operate or if
they create Elvis products simply for a profit and don't actually care about
Elvis the man and his legacy. And I realize you may question our motives.
But this would not be an accurate picture of me or my company.
I do believe that compassion, tolerance, and love are the most important
qualites of any human being. Please know that I try to never
intentionally do anything to offend others and I have turned away business
that could make me a lot of money because I did not feel it was appropriate.
Indiscriminately making money or hurting others is not the way I choose to
live my life.
So anyway, these are my thoughts...maybe you want to post this on your site!
Actually, I hope one day you see one of these Elvis ducks in real life and
see the love and craftmanship that went into them. Who knows..things change,
people change, opinions change...maybe you will even want to do business
together...I truly hope this letter helps a little bit in expressing my
feelings regarding this matter...take care, Sid...
We will just have to agree to disagree. The vast majority of Elvis fans find
the Elvis Duck demeaning and insulting, but there will always be some who
would buy anything Elvis related, some just for the quirkiness.
P.S. Do I take it since you have offended so many Elvis fans there will be
no more Elvis ducks?