From a legal standpoint, the Sea Monkey legal battle is no laughing matter: an ongoing conflict between Yolanda Signorelli von Braunhut, widow of Sea Monkeys “inventor” Harold Nathan Braunhut, and Big Time Toys. Yes, that’s the company’s name – at least it’s not “Acme.”

Sea Monkey Legal Battle

However, the backstory is something that Federico Fellini might have created in one of his more bizarre moments.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Ms. von Braunhut now lives in poverty on an estate on the Potomac River, frequently without heat, electricity, or running water.
  • She is being represented by William Timmons, who attended legendary Halloween parties hosted by Ms. von Braunhut’s father, opera singer Maestro Signorelli. It was at these events that Timmons met Yolanda, Signorelli’s second-youngest daughter.
  • In the 1960s, Ms. von Braunhut began a career in bondage films, appearing in “Venus in Furs,” “All Women Are Bad,” “Too Much Too Often!” “Death of a Nymphette,” and “Assignment: Female.” When asked to comment on her film career, Ms. von Braunhut observed:

In those days, they might have been racy, but today? I don’t think so.

  • Husband Harold was quite a unique individual as well. He took out patents on 196 different inventions during the 1950s and 60s, was single-handedly responsible for the products advertised on the back page of comic books, raced motorcycles under the name the Green Hornet, worked as a magician called the Great Telepo, and high-dived into a wading pool filled with 12 inches of water.
  • On the opposing side, Sam Harwell, chief executive of Big Time Toys, is married to Beth Harwell, Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives.