This week in Disney Headlines, we hear about a Disneyland cabal, mourn a Disney Legend, experience the perils of the public domain, and learn that t-shirts aren’t free now.
Yes, a lot has happened over the past week at Disney.
A… Shadowy Cabal?
Whenever I notice a shameless attempt to snag a media cycle, I’m always amused.
So, I had to tip my cap the other day when news of a shadowy cabal leaked out of Anaheim.
You may have heard that the Republican resigned due to corruption. Here’s the short version:
Sidhu got caught with his hand in the cookie jar over stadium negotiations.
The former Mayor sold out the people of Anaheim in anticipation of a hefty campaign donation this election year. He…isn’t gonna be on the ballot now.
Anyway, Disney got swept up in this nonsense when reports surfaced that a group of powerful entities was running Anaheim.
According to an LA Times headline, FBI records indicate that a Disney executive is one of the “power broker(s)” calling the shots in Anaheim.
At this point, I should clearly state two facts. The first is that the former Mayor hasn’t been charged with anything yet.
He resigned because he believed it was coming, but that’s not certain to happen.
Secondly, nobody at Disney has been directly accused of anything. In fact, there’s nothing to charge here, as the executive didn’t do anything wrong.
Instead, the individual did her job in lobbying to the best of her abilities for her employer. That’s what lobbyists do.
In fact, we can even pinpoint how this came to pass. Remember when Anaheim’s City Council blocked Disney from moving a hotel project by two blocks?
At the time, Disney canceled the project and then worked to elect pro-Mouse council members for the next election cycle.
Once that happened, Disney negotiated better deals with these recently elected individuals.
So, there’s nothing surprising here. I do like the mental image of Mickey Mouse wearing a goatee and stroking a white cat, though.
RIP Tom Murphy
A Disney Legend died the other day, and you probably didn’t even recognize his name.
That’s because Tom Murphy worked behind the scenes as an executive/entrepreneur.
What did Murphy buy? The honest answer is a little bit of everything over the years. However, his most significant purchase occurred in 1985.
Murphy and his partner, Daniel Burke, pulled off a stunning transaction when their organization, Capital Cities, purchased the American Broadcasting Company (ABC).
Capital Cities had made its bones as a series of network affiliates. Yet, somehow, Murphy anchored the purchase of a MUCH larger company.
One business analyst at the time described the seemingly impossible acquisition as “a minnow that swallowed the whale.”
The closest analogy I could make in modern media today is if the producers of Stranger Things somehow purchased Netflix.
A decade later, Capital Cities/ABC performed another merger, this time with The Walt Disney Company. That’s how Disney came to own ABC.
Still, Murphy’s greatest contribution to Disney came in a different form. He worked as a mentor to a talented but mercurial television executive named Bob Iger.
Yes, if Disney’s former CEO qualifies as the father of the modern Disney empire, Murphy is unquestionably his grandfather.
In Iger’s autobiography, he discusses at length the numerous occasions he picked his tutor’s brain before making major acquisitions.
Iger learned from the best, and Disney fans today have Murphy to thank for properties like Pixar, Star Wars, and Marvel.
Perhaps none of that would have been possible if not for the minnow who figured out a way to bring down a whale.
The Other Two Amusing/Terrifying Headlines
Disney will spend the next few years fighting hard to protect its intellectual properties in court.
Several Disney copyrights are due to expire or could if lawsuits don’t go their way.
You may wonder why Disney cares so much about losing its IP to the public domain.
What I’m about to show you may haunt your dreams, and I apologize in advance if it does.
However, this trailer reflects the perils of Disney’s predicament:
Yes, some sick individual has created a horror movie wherein the villains are Winnie the Pooh and Piglet.
How is such a thing possible, and why hasn’t Disney stopped it? Sadly, the residents of Hundred-Acre Wood have entered the public domain.
Five months ago, Disney lost its exclusivity to these characters in a general sense.
The company does keep them for its own representations of the characters in movies and television. So, nobody can legally riff off what Disney has done.
Sickos can turn Winnie the Pooh into a psycho killer, though. The thought of this happening to Mickey Mouse is keeping Disney’s lawyers up at night.
Meanwhile, the other headline for this week isn’t a big deal inasmuch as an amusing follow-up on a previous one.
I’d mentioned at least twice that Disney possesses a somewhat odd theme park dress code policy.
When individuals arrive at the parks, cast members casually scan their wardrobes to ensure it’s appropriate at a place for families.
In rare instances, Disney has given away a free shirt to someone so that they’ll wear something less revealing.
Those stories went viral, which led to this:
Now the shirts ain’t free. Finally, Disney has caught on to that scam!
So, as an FYI, you shouldn’t wear a top that’s only held together by a string. That’s allegedly the rule.
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Feature Photo: Disney