Gandalf the ClownTM
To make a long story short, Gandalf the ClownTM has been locked in a legal dispute with Tolkien Enterprises for 7 years regarding the use of the name “Gandalf”. Michael Kaplan, the man behind the clown, has used the defense that the name Gandalf is from early Norse mythology and therefore is in the public domain and not eligable for a Trademark.
Note: While the AP carelessly uses the word “Estate” in the first paragraph, this dispute only involved Tolkien Enterprises and Kaplan, not the Tolkien Estate.
Thanks to Brian for pointing this out to us.
Earlier articles about Gandalf the Wizard-ClownTM:
US News 3/10/97
Update: The New York Times has removed the story from their webpage, you can now find it on Yahoo here.