Fantastic article. Refreshing to hear a Disney coloumnist, or a Disney fan for that matter, being optimistic for once and having a head level enough to see the good through the recent bad.
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I enjoyed the article. It's nice to hear someone actually say something positive about all of the good things Eisner has done and remind us that there's a lot of things at Disney we wouldn't have been able to enjoy if it hadn't been for Eisner.
Yes, I too agree...an very well written article. We do need to be reminded what Disney might have been without Michael Eisner and Frank Wells coming on board in 1984.
I actually wrote Michael a letter a few months ago wishing him well as he begins the transition away for being CEO. I did mention that there have been some disapointments and rough times over the years, but I basically kept the letter very positive. I also recalled him having served me a hot dog and coke at Coke Corner at Disneyland at one of the Disney Family Holiday Parties many years ago, and how really exciting it was to help him pick out some special watches one time he was in Disneyland doing some shopping. Surprisingly enough a few weeks ago I got my letter back in a Disney envelope and Michael had personally written a note of thanks for my comments. We may not have always agreed with what he did, but again as Kevin points out, he did do a lot of good for the company. It will be interesting to see the direction the next CEO takes.
“The press [should be] a watchdog. Not an attack dog. Not a lapdog. A watchdog. Now, a watchdog can't be right all the time. He doesn't bark only when he sees or smells something that's dangerous. A good watchdog barks at things that are suspicious.” – Dan Rather
Well said, Kevin.
I'm thankful that you wrote this article because I think it's important we all recognize all the good things we have enjoyed as Disney fans thanks to Eisner and his reign.
Ever since reading 'Disney War', I've been thankful that Eisner had the reigns or we would have lost our precious 'Laughing Place' even as recently as the Comcast fiasco.
Thanks Eisner for what you've done for Disney!
I only hope we never lose sight of one thing... that it was all started by a mouse!
Thank You! I truly think all Disney fans, who truly love what Disney is owes Eisner a great deal of thanks for what he did for the Co. over the last 20 some years. Interesting to see how things go in 10 year periods. Letting the last 7 years or so spoil what Eisner has done right for the company is ignorant to the past.
Eisner takes over-1984
Wells dies and Eisner takes Co. in new direction-1994
Shareholder revolt, Save-Disney starts-2004
Wonder where we'll be in 2014?
Here's to Eisner's past as it has treated us well and spoiled us with some of the best animation in film history. To the theme parks which have given us some of the best moments in our lives, but more importantly, to the future. May our optimism not be crushed in the upcoming years but brought to life on screen, stage and in the parks.
I have always disagreed with the recent-years condemnation of Michael Eisner citing the exact points Kevin makes in this article. I am so happy to see someone in a credible position presenting these ideas to a large and concerned audience.
The future? I think Iger is a capable man who carries an understanding of the combined importance of the stockholders as well as the art and the consumers. Eisner would not have selected him otherwise. Eisner understood that the corporate growth and profits enjoyed a synergistic and dependent relationship with the Disney magic. Eisner may have put too much emphasis in recent years on less noble causes than the continuance and advancement of the Disney legacy, but I think that especially after the shock of the revolt, he would have been very able to bring continued prosperity to the corporation while heading it in a more "Disney" direction. Now that's up to Iger. Regards to them both.
Here's how I (and many others, I believe) see how it went down:
1. Eisner was the idea guy, reined in by Wells the financial guy.
2. Wells dies, but Eisner can't find a suitable "no man" to replace him. I don't think Katzenberg would have been the "no man," since he's an idea guy, too. (I didn't say great-idea guy. Good, buyt not great.) And the "no man" position is not the "successor guy" that Katz wanted to be.
3. So now, Eisner is the idea guy and the no guy. This doesn't mix very well, as he can't make great-idea decisions without killing it with ROI analysis. Instead, he starts making ROI ideas. That's not the Disney way:
1. Going safe;
2. Competing on competitors' levels;
3. Driving good ideas into the ground instead of leveraging them over years;
4. Looting the Treasures -- the timeless, classic films -- by making them available to all (VHS then DVD), so there will be no need to release them theatrically on the traditional schedule. That means the future relies on taking the risk to create new timeless classics. And since the ROI analysis rejects such risks, creativity is scaled down, and risk-sharing partnerships are formed. Yeah, we all like our DVDs, but that guts a core asset of the company, making it more cautious with new projects, since tehre is nothing to fall back on. In the past, there was always the re-release between films or in case of recessions to make virtually risk-free money.
Basicall, it all comes down to Wells dying, turning Eisner from idea guy to the no guy.
"Here You Leave the World of California Today and Enter the World of, um, er, California Today."