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This 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 care...
craig wolfe
Subject: What famous person would not warrant your "duck art" ?

Dear Craig,
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 resentment.
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. 
Elvisly Yours,
Sid Shaw
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 included.

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 highly requested.

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...


Dear Craig,
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.

Elvisly Yours,

Sid Shaw
P.S. Do I take it since you have offended so many Elvis fans there will be no more Elvis ducks?

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