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Old 11-29-2001, 01:11 PM   #1
DVC-Landbaron
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Question The Great Deeds of Eisner thread

First I'd like to say how much restraint it took not to incorporate my standard "$" within his name for the thread title. It's the first time I've spelled his name right in many months.

Anyway, on to the question at hand. In another thread the good Captain said:
Quote:
I believe he [Eisner] has done some great things for Disney
So, this got me thinking. Just what has he done that was so great? I'm really (for a change) trying to be serious about it. And I don't mean that trite "saved the company" routine. We've been down that road before. I think we all understand that Wells was to play a much more important role that Ei$ner ever hoped to, and since his assumption of power the "takeover" has taken place. Internally. He has done NOTHING different than a raider would have done, short of busting up the company.

Anyway, I can certainly see some good things that have happened. But it seems that for virtually every good thing, there is a story that goes along with it, to make it, in my view at least, a little less 'great'. Sometimes it's the lost potential. Sometimes it's outright boneheadedness. And sometimes it's just greed. But by and large his 'Great Deeds' seem always to be tainted somehow.

And it's equally frustrating that implicit in any Ei$ner (ahh! that "$" felt good) bashing argument is the yearning (almost a requirement) to defend past practices, especially by the Walker/Miller tag team. And that shouldn't be the case. They had their share of successes and failures, and should not have to be woven into an Ei$ner debate.

Case in point: RESORT BUILDING

I think I've pretty much driven everyone crazy with my constant harping regarding the caste system of Disney resorts, so I won't beat that dead horse (unless someone else brings it up again. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED). But there is another aspect. Whether the Walker/Miller team were visionless or more like deer caught in the headlights is a subject for some other thread. Suffice to say that WDW was a little stagnant under their care. So the natural 'Great Deed" for Ei$ner was to build some resorts!!! A no brainer that anyone, even the most incompetent bum of a CEO imaginable, would have done. So what did he do that was so great?

And this is where I have a hard time with this guy. Yes, he build some resorts. Yes, they are nice resorts. But he lacked vision!!

"What!!!" You say. "LandBaron, the Floridian or Beach Club lacks vision?!?!? Have you lost what little sense we thought you had?!?!"

OK! OK! Just hear me out. What he brought us (beside a huge price increase) was pretty mundane stuff. Pretty mundane compared to the vision of what could have been. The Asian, Persian, Venetian, Mediterranean, etc. Any exotic place on the globe. But what did he give us? Cape cod. New York. Yellowstone. Key West. Hmmm. Pretty pedestrian, isn't it? Pretty 'American'. Not that there's anything wrong with that. It just could have been sooooo much cooooler. With just a little vision. But it's hard to fight this concept because the resorts he gave are certainly nice. (Not sure I made my point.)

TRANSPORTATION

Again, we must really try to remember the past in realistic terms. Disney transportation always sucked!!! From day one it was confusing and time consuming. Today you have to plan an hour and half (at least) in order to get from 'here' to 'there'. Let me be the first to say that it was no better in the 'good old days'. In fact, it might have been worse in some ways because no one drove their own cars, on property. The roads were not marked and security was… well… let's say… a little less than "Disney" friendly. The only saving grace was that the place was tiny, compared with what is now there.

But what has this 'great deed' kind of guy done about it? NOTHING!! What should have been one of his highest priorities, he has ignored. I find that depressing at the least. And typical of his mindset.

So, with just a couple of these thoughts thrown out there, I ask all of you (especially the car #1 people): Just what "Great Deeds" did Ei$ner do?

Have fun.
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Old 11-29-2001, 03:25 PM   #2
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Disney Animated Features during the 18 years from Walt's passing to the hiring of Eisner:

The Aristocats
Robin Hood
Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
The Rescuers
The Fox & the Hound

Disney Animated Features during the 17 years from the hiring of Eisner to today:

Black Cauldron
Great Mouse Detective
Oliver and Company
The Little Mermaid
The Rescuers Down Under
Beauty and the Beast
Aladdin
The Lion King
Pocahontas
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Hercules
Mulan
Tarzan
Fantasia 2000
The Emporer's New Groove
Atlantis


I'd say that's an upgrade in that part of the Company.
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Old 11-29-2001, 03:46 PM   #3
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Unhappy To me the list proves the arguement

Quote:
I'd say that's an upgrade in that part of the Company.
Well, I can certainly see your point. And it kind of goes hand in hand with what I said about him. He has certainly done some good things. But it's not without that taint that clouds almost everything he touches. Also, you're bringing that comparison (Miller/Walker vs. Ei$ner) that I wanted to steer clear of. And I would contend that the very list you present, and the story behind it, ruins your argument.

Yes! Some good things happened early on. Wells and Roy got that Animation Division crankin' out the hits. And since Wells and more importantly Katzenberg left…? Not so good, is it?

And at the end of your list (or at the end of the story behind the list) is the gutting of the animation department with no real hope that their former glory could ever return. Again, not so good, is it?
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Old 11-29-2001, 03:55 PM   #4
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Sounds like you want us to try to make a case while you disallow all possible evidence.

While no recent animated feature has hit the highs of the Lion King, I think Mulan, Hunchback, Hercules, and Tarzan were better than any of the films released in the 70's and early 80's.

"And at the end of your list (or at the end of the story behind the list) is the gutting of the animation department with no real hope that their former glory could ever return."

A pessimist could see it that way. A realist might conclude that they decided they had gone to far in one direction (i.e. multiple releases in a year) and needed to scale back a bit. My understanding is they will continue to release one major animated attraction each year.
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Old 11-29-2001, 04:09 PM   #5
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Talking The Evidence before the court is - incontrovertible...

... There's no need for the jury to retire!*

Quote:
Sounds like you want us to try to make a case while you disallow all possible evidence.
Well, that's my usual style!!

But seriously, I can see how it would look that way, but in all honesty, I'm really just trying to have a discussion about it. And my rapid response to Gcurling had nothing at all to do with 'not allowing evidence'. It's only because it's a slow Thursday at work (phew! for a change!!).
Quote:
A pessimist could see it that way. A realist might conclude that they decided they had gone to far in one direction (i.e. multiple releases in a year) and needed to scale back a bit.
"Scale back a bit"?!?! Wow! I guess I am a pessimist.




* Pink Floyd
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Old 11-29-2001, 04:40 PM   #6
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I'm out of order!? You're out of order! This whole court is out of order!

Sorry, something made me channel Al Pacino. And I certainly got the Pink Floyd quote without the asterisk (by the way, which one's Pink?).

But you didn't give me much to respond to as far as the argument went in your last post. How can we not point to the great expansion of quality Disney products that has occurred since Eisner took over when asked what good has Eisner done?
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Old 11-29-2001, 05:02 PM   #7
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Question A Question of Balance

Quote:
How can we not point to the great expansion of quality Disney products that has occurred since Eisner took over when asked what good has Eisner done?
Fair enough. I guess you're right. You have to point to them. But I guess I'm asking that we keep perspective, or in balance if you will, of these so called 'great deeds' and examine them in light of the examples given. By that I mean:

Built tons of resorts! What a guy!!!
Yeah, BUT - he left out all the exotic stuff!! How unimaginative!!

Inherited a horrible transportation system!! Poor guy!!
Yeah, BUT he's done NOTHING to fix it!! What a jerk!!

Produced greater films than pervious leaders!! What a guy!!
Yeah, BUT he really didn't do much AND he got rid of Katzinberg and most of the Animation Department!! What an idiot!!

I just don't see anything he's done that could truly be labeled - "great".
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Old 11-29-2001, 05:05 PM   #8
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I'll kep this first post simple

Landbaron, my freind, you lump "Resorts" together as though they are one, but my friend, you haven not visited AKL, a Resort so great that I don't even care if I visit a Park...Thanks Mike.
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Old 11-29-2001, 05:44 PM   #9
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I'll tell you What Micheal Eisner did. One day maybe less then a year, maybe a Year (I don't remember the airdate)into his reign. He took a short walk across a sandy Beach while introducing 20,000 Leagues under the Sea for the wonderful World of Disney. And as he slowly walked past the wrecked boat and the Contemporary Resort came into view. An 8-10 (again, don't remember the airdate) year old kid for the first time in his life had the name and the face of a living breathing person that he could connect with his Micky mouse plush. Eisner may not have been a good actor and he certainly doesn't seem to be that great a buisnessman, but in that little intro while Discussing the hurricane that plagued 20K's production, I saw a man having the time of his life in charge of the Disney Magic. Now it may be that it was all phoney. he may not really care, but he and he alone made Sunday evenings like a trip down mainstreet.

I think that's why I'm so wishy whashy towards him. I actually have a childlike emotional attachment to him from my childhood.

I'm sure that the older folks here, the DisDucks and such would scoff saying they had the real deal and eisner is nothing like Walt, but Walt Died before I was born and Even at that tender age, I understood that black and white reruns weren't real. Mike, standing in a place I had been in the midst of magic. That was special.
that was a great deed of Eisner whether it was intentional or not.
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Old 11-29-2001, 06:31 PM   #10
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You have to admit if it wasn't for Eisner, Disney might have disolved years ago after the Black Hole and Black Cauldron. He did do a lot for Disney. However, he strikes me as more or a businessman than a visionary (more of a Roy O. Disney than a Walt). The thing that will help Disney is that if they can get a dreamer, a "Walt", if you will, to match Eisner's "Roy".
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Old 11-29-2001, 07:52 PM   #11
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Probably...

...Eisner's greatest feat as CEO was to cash in on the brand name Disney.

For all of Miller's and Walker's faults, perhaps the one that most doomed them was how much money they left on the table; how many opportunities to exploit the Disney name for money that they failed to make use of.

Eisner, on the other hand, has failed to make use of precious few opportunities to exploit the Disney name for money.

Jeff

PS: of course, the drawback to that is that the company has grown faster than its infrastructures are being reinforced. Structures get treacherously rickety that way.

PPS: the right plan of action, of course, was to head down that road, just not so far. High-end DVD presentations of Snow White with bonus features is a good exploitation. "Snow White III: Grumpy No More!," produced by a tv cartoon company, not so much.
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Old 11-29-2001, 08:34 PM   #12
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I agree with Land Baron in that disney has built too many resorts in a cheap manner. I think disney need to capitalize on the need of people wanting to stay on site, but from having stayed at the Poly and seeing how good its theme was carried out and then compare it to All Star sports with its only theme being large tacky objects, its a let down on the dinsey image. Disney should stand for high standards and if you arent going to do it you shouldnt do it at all.
I also agree with JeffJewell that Eisners main accomplishment has been to capitalize on the disney name/brand/vault to make money that others werent doing. Under his leadership they have created some good animated movies, but also alot of clunkers.
And lastly what has he done lately to inspire any confidence that he has the creativity to bring disney out of its doldrums. He doesnt inspire any confidence as far as im concerned. I think his time has come and gone but with his handpicked board there is little chance of him being removed.
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Old 11-29-2001, 08:49 PM   #13
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Hmmm…. Eisner and Animation.

Well let’s see. When Eisner first showed up he announced his intention to stop producing feature length animation. To him, animation was only for television and for Disney that meant Mickey and company on Saturday morning. Nothing more. Eisner even tried to pull the pull on the then-in-production ‘Little Mermaid’ calling it a “stupid kiddie movie”.

Fortunately for humankind, Roy Disney not so gently reminded Mr. Eisner that The Great Uncle’s Legacy was based on animated features and the he, Mr. Eisner, was just a hired hand. After much consternation, Mr. Eisner allowed ‘Mermaid’ to proceed despite his loud (very loud, very public) pronouncements that it was going to be a box office failure. To “rescue” the animation department for such a horrific fate, Mr. Eisner put ‘Oliver and Company’ into production. A film, he proclaimed, filled with a hip score, crowd pleasing voices and characters, and so commercially sound he even sold product placement spots in the movie. THIS, he told people in the room, would make an animated film “that will be appreciated by main stream audiences”.

In another fortunate happening, Jeffery Katzenberg saw both films. He had be mainly on Eisner’s side of the argument right up until he saw ‘Mermaid’. He was the one who pushed ‘Beauty and The Beast’ through production despite strong objections from Mr. Eisner.

Given this background – how exactly is Eisner responsible for the rebirth of Disney’s great feature animated films?

Last edited by Another Voice; 11-29-2001 at 11:08 PM.
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Old 11-29-2001, 08:56 PM   #14
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Quote:
...this he told all of us in the room...
Very interesting...
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Old 11-29-2001, 10:10 PM   #15
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Wink And the voice in the empty garage echoed...

... Follow the money.

I really do pay attention Mr. Voice. You told us that story once before (but not in quite so personal terms, eh Captain?). And I was very tempted to paraphrase it, but I was hoping you'd drop in a give us a rerun. Thank you!!!! You did it much better than I could have ever hoped to!
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