Take 20 words chosen at random. Put them in a bowl. Draw one, and write something about it.
Simple? Maybe not.
(New York, N.Y., Friday) — Media icon Hearty Harharre will be taken to court next month in a civil suit filed here today by his brother, Hale.
The action alleges that Hearty has unfairly capitalized on the “Hale and Hearty” image established by both brothers more than 50 years ago and has failed to equitably share the revenue generated by that image. The suit seeks a total of $11.6 million in compensatory and punitive damages.
Industry experts have expected legal action on the issue for decades.
“The surprise, here,” observed Beatrice Kale, CEO of the Eat What’s Good for You or Else Conglomerate, “is not that Hearty is being sued by Hale, but that it took so many years for it to happen.”
Some speculated that the closeness of the two brothers made the issue too emotionally charged for action until now. Others theorized that the death of their mother, Hedy, last month may have triggered the action. Their father, Hardy, died in 1996.
The brothers had been extremely close from birth. As identical twins, they didn’t have much choice at the starting gate.
They were inseparable while growing up in rural Vermont, becoming the very epitomes of robust young men in that healthy environment. Both got into body-building in their teens, and it wasn’t long before advertising agencies discovered the brothers and came a-knockin’.
A brand was born.
Soon, everyone wanted to be Hale and Hearty. Their images appeared on breakfast cereal boxes, soup cans and a variety of feminine hygiene products. The last didn’t do very well, but you can’t blame an ambitious advertising agency for trying.
No one knows exactly what happened, but in 1987, Hearty decided to strike out on his own. Perhaps he had noticed that no one ever referred to a substantial meal as “hale.” Hearty had become a standalone, household word, whereas Hale seemed to have virtually disappeared from the American lexicon.
“It was a logical move,” Kale said. “Hale had more or less just been along for the ride for quite some time, so it made sense to dump the baggage.”
Hale was blindsided and devastated. He tried to sell the Hale brand, but found no takers. Spelling-impaired focus groups associated the word with iceballs falling from the sky or yelling for a cab, neither of which were going to move goods and services. A rare exception was the Hale and Hearty Soups chain in New York, but Hale was not getting a cut of that action.
Hale sank into depression, becoming addicted to alcohol, Altoids and Candy Crush. He never spoke publicly of the rift with his brother, but those close to the Harharre family said that Hale never lost hope that he and Hearty would be reunited.
Each year on their birthday, insiders reported, Hale invited Hearty to celebrate. Hearty never accepted, leaving Hale alone with his symbolic single-candle cake.
“My client is only seeking what he deserves,” said Sharky Shyster, Hale’s attorney in the lawsuit. “He bears no malice toward his brother.”
“Hale was always a follower,” Hearty boomed in his trademark megaphone voice. “Going solo was as much ‘tough love’ as anything.”
“We are just twins, for God’s sake, not Siamese twins,” he finished with a hearty laugh.