Friday, August 11, 2006
Here's a fun Blast from the Past... You might be wondering what the above Disney memo is. Well, it's a "joke" Disney memo, on actual Disney memo-paper. It's twenty years old, and has had a looong half-life. Here's its story: Back in 1986, a few months after Peter Schneider was installed as a pooh-bah at Disney Feature Animation by Eisner-Katzenberg-Disney, it was decided by the corporate chieftans to change the title of "Basil of Baker Street" (then at the tail-end of production) to "The Great Mouse Detective." Many in the story department weren't pleased with the new name. And story artist Ed Gombert, then as now a puckish wit, grabbed some blank paper and dashed off the above. And shared same with his fellow animation employees. (Here's the text, in case the image above is hard to read): To: Animation Department From: Peter Schneider Along with the new title for "Basil of Baker Street" it has been decided to rename the entire library of animated classics. The new titles are as follows... "SEVEN LITTLE MEN HELP A GIRL" "THE WOODEN BOY WHO BECAME REAL" "COLOR AND MUSIC" "THE WONDERFUL ELEPHANT WHO COULD REALLY FLY" "THE LITTLE DEER WHO GREW UP" "THE GIRL WITH THE SEE-THROUGH SHOES" "THE GIRL IN THE IMAGINARY WORLD" "THE AMAZING FLYING CHILDREN" "TWO DOGS FALL IN LOVE" "THE GIRL WHO SEEMED TO DIE" "PUPPIES TAKEN AWAY" "THE BOY WHO WOULD BE KING" "A BOY, A BEAR AND A BIG BLACK CAT" "ARISTOCATS" "ROBIN HOOD WITH ANIMALS" "TWO MICE SAVE A GIRL" "A FOX AND A HOUND ARE FRIENDS" "THE EVIL BONEHEAD" And of course our latest classic destined to win the hearts of the American public... "THE GREAT MOUSE DETECTIVE" Since most of the story department hated the new title, much merriment ensued. And ANOTHER animation employee (who I won't name because he hasn't given me permission), mailed a copy of the fake memo to Katzenberg. It turned out that Jeffrey K. was neither merry nor amused when he read it. In fact, he was angry. In fact, he asked new executive Schneider just what the hell was going on. Peter S., of course, had no idea, since he hadn't written the thing (even though his name was on it) and in fact knew nothing about it. There was an attempt to find out who the author of the memo was, but no culprits turned up. And there the matter would have ended, except that an EX-Disney employee, over the objections of his wife, mailed a copy of the memo to the L.A. TIMES, which instantly published a story about it after asking various embarassing questions of Disney execs. And there the matter would have ended, except several years after THAT, the game show JEOPARDY picked up the article about the memo and used the above for a series of questions about Disney. When we track down the LA TIMES article from '86, we will put it up here for your amusement and edification. In the meantime, the specimen above is amusing enough, don't you think?
Posted by Steve Hulett at 3:15 PM