WASHINGTON — Don't sing "Hooorrraaayyy for Hollywood"--California, that is--to Rep. Larry Smith. To the Florida Democrat, those are fighting words.
Smith, whose congressional district is centered in the suburban Miami resort of Hollywood, is madder than a jilted starlet at businessmen in the better-known California movie capital who have begun collecting royalties on the use of the Hollywood name.
"Tinseltown has thrown down the gauntlet, but the city of Hollywood, Fla., will not back away," he said recently in a tongue-in-cheek challenge on the House floor.
Registered the Name
The Hollywood, Calif., Chamber of Commerce last year registered the Hollywood name as well as the Walk of Fame and the likeness of the famous sign in the Hollywood Hills with the California secretary of state.
The move enabled the chamber to begin selling rights for the use of the name and pictures on coffee mugs, ash trays, T-shirts and a host of other products. Proceeds from sales of the rights are used to underwrite renovation projects throughout the California community, which was established in 1886.
Smith's Hollywood in Florida was not built until 35 years later, but he insisted it has just as great a claim to the name as the California locale. If Californians can claim and sell rights to the name, he said, it could touch off a mini-trade war between like named places across the country.
'May Have a War'
"If Tinseltown is successful, what next?" he asked colleagues. "Rome, Ga., versus Rome, N.Y.? Portland, Ore., versus Portland, Me.? We may have a war between the cities starting on the steps of the U.S. Patent Office."
Recalling the California Hollywood's reputation for glitz, Smith marveled at the community boosters' charitable plans for spending the licensing revenues. Quoting a Florida newspaper columnist, he cracked: "I am only surprised they don't want to use the money to buy more chains for Sammy Davis Jr.
"I just want to tell my friends who represent Tinseltown: don't tread on me or my Hollywood," he continued. "We will retain our right to Hollywood. . . . The almost 150,000 residents of Hollywood, Fla., love their name, all 60 years of history, and they will resist--to the death if necessary--to protect and preserve Hollywood, Fla. We have just begun to fight."