In yet another alleged cost-cutting measure, Disney has decided to close it’s Orlando animation studios, sending hundreds of talented artists to the street. Their last day of employment will be January 15th. The team in Orlando have been producing animation for Disney films ever since 1991’s “Beauty and the Beast” and are notable for creating films like “Mulan” and “Lilo and Stich” completely in-house.
The latest strip from the weekly comic “the Zoo” (www.zoocomic.com) deals with some of the madness going on at “The Happiest Place on Earth.”
I don't know about you guys, but I'm just about sickened by the way Eisner has destroyed the Mouse House. In an age of trash culture, corporate villains and a decreasing supply of executives who can think beyond this quarter, it was disheartening to see Disney being forced to resign from the board of the company his family founded. Furthermore, with the increasing number of Eisner cronies all worshipping at the Temple of Ca$h, the resounding rumbles in California are not so much earthquakes as Walt Disney spinning in his grave (or cryogenic chamber, take your pick which one you believe).
Roy Disney is not the one to blame for all this. He has tried to save the company that his uncle and father founded, even going so far as to oust Roy Sr.'s handpicked successor (and Walt's son-in-law), a noted greedhead and clueless dolt. Roy did this by bringing in a hot young turk, one with fire and imagination to do the job. That man was Michael Eisner, circa 1982.
However, in retrospect, that was a disaster. Eisner was already responsible (in hindsight) for a number of debacles at Paramount Studios, and now, through the Wayback-Machine-in-Reverse view of twenty years later, Michael Eisner is to blame for the destruction of Walt's (and America's, maybe even a global) dream. In the beginning, he saved Disney from disaster (anyone old enough to remember when then-chairman Ron Wells' plan was to split the company in three and possibly sell the animation department to Warner Bros.?), but he himself has now become the cancer, the cure becoming worse than the disease. He has cheapened the company's parks, helmed substandard films, destroyed the morale of cast members and guests alike and now has forced a Disney out of the company that his family built to greatness. Before Roy was forced to take his drastic step, Disney's board of directors should have said “C ya real soon” to Eisner instead.
Any financial analyst or “master of business” who waves any of this off as inconsequential and unimportant to Disney's future does not understand what the company sells and, more important, who has been responsible over the last several decades for maintaining the “Disney magic.” The big amusement parks in Anaheim and Orlando are not called “EisnerWorld” or “Eisnerland.” There is no “Eisner Channel” or “ToonEisner”. People do not wander around Burbank, CA or Lake Buena Vista, FL calling them “Mikeville”. The fact is, this isn't Mike's world…this is Uncle Walt's.
With the shareholder's meeting coming up in March, something needs to be done, and someone better do it soon. If not, Disney will probably cease to be the global keeper of enduring cultural integrity absent Roy's association with Mickey and all his friends. Eisner's short-term boardroom win is a long-term loss for society.
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