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‘Kadabra, return’: Pokémon Company to print first Kadabra card in over 20 years

kadabra uri geller
via Pokémon, IBTimes UK

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    The Pokémon Company is releasing the psychic-type Pokémon Kadabra back into the wild of its trading card game after a ban of almost two decades.

    Kadabra will be part of the Pokémon Card 151 set, scheduled to be released in June alongside the other Kanto classics. This would have been impossible prior to 2020, as Kadabra had been excluded from the card game since the early 2000s due to a lawsuit filed by illusionist Uri Geller.

    Geller, who became known for bending spoons with alleged psychic abilities, accused Nintendo of using his likeness to create the Kadabra, which carries a bent spoon. 

    The Pokémon’s Japanese name, Yungerer, also bore similarities to Geller’s name. Geller was particularly upset about the Team Rocket Kadabra card, which featured “Evil Yungerer.”

    Geller expressed his irritation toward the character in a 2000 interview with the BBC.

    I’m very angry about this. I wouldn’t have given permission for an aggressive, and in one case evil character to be based on me. This is not even anything to do with the old question of if I’m a magician or a real psychic. It’s straight theft of my persona.” 

    Geller sued Nintendo in a California court in November 2000, demanding millions of dollars in damages.

    He also called for Pokémon to discontinue using the character.

    Although his lawsuit was dismissed in 2003, Geller continued to file lawsuits in other regions. However, following years of failed lawsuits and fan letters, Geller eventually relented and sent a letter to Nintendo granting permission for Kadabra to continue being used.

    “I never realized how powerful and important it was for me to lift the ban on Yungeller/Kadabra, especially for all the kids around the world!” he wrote in a tweet on Nov. 29, 2020. “I’m sorry for what I did 20 years ago, but you can learn from mistakes even more than you can learn from success!

    The Pokémon Company’s president Tsunekazu Ishihara sent a letter and several Kadabra cards back to Geller in 2020 as a sign of appreciation. 

    Geller has the letter and cards displayed in his museum in Israel. 

    In August 2022, Pokémon fan site PokéBeach received voice messages from Geller, with the illusionist once again emphasizing how sorry he was. 

    The reason I changed my mind — first of all, I did a stupid thing for suing them. I was just angry that my name appeared on a Pokémon card out of the blue without ever being asked. The most important thing is in these 20 years I became a grandfather. I saw my granddaughters and I thought ‘Come on, you gotta release the Pokémon card back into circulation again.

    The entire evolutionary line for Kadabra, which also includes Abra and Alakazam, is a play on magical phrases or in reference to famous magicians. 

    Abra’s Japanese name, Casey, is a reference to American purported clairvoyant Edgar Cayce. Alakazam’s Japanese name, Foodin, is a nod to Harry Houdini.


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