The Crazy Days of Disney

It’s Tuesday morning and it’s time to lighten things up just a little bit. Here’s a sketch that brings back a few memories. Back in the eighties, pop star, Michael Jackson made one of his famous visits to the Walt Disney Studios. The studio was abuzz with rumors of a new video and attraction at Disneyland. It was called “Captain EO” and more than a few Hollywood heavyweights would be involved. But first, let’s get back to the famous visit by the gloved one.

Back in the eighties, we made our home in the R.O.D. Building on the Disney Studio lot. When word spread that Jackson was on his way, we immediately headed out of the building. You would have thought we were having a visit from a head of state. In many ways, Michael Jackson was more important than a head of state. We didn’t have to wait long because before we knew it, Michael Jackson came walking our way flanked by his crew of rather large body guards. Keep in mind this was back when Michael Jackson still looked pretty much like Michael Jackson. His skin was a golden brown and he wore a pair of sun glasses. This was in the days of Michael’s “band uniform,” and his jacket was covered with brass buttons and golden epaulets. In spite of all the frenzy around him, Jackson seemed pretty mellow as he walked down Mickey Avenue toward the Disney Commissary. And with that, the Disney employees rushed back to their phones to tell all who would listen that they just had an up close sighting of Michael Jackson.

Unfortunately, the Captain EO filming did not take place on the Walt Disney Studio lot. Because there was a lack of sound stage space, the Disney attraction had to be filmed over in Culver City. Bummer! It would have been a blast to have been around when the filming was taking place. Remember, “Captain EO” would have a few important people around including director, Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas to name a few. But, all was not totally lost. Because of special connections (no names will be mentioned here) we were able to gain a look at a rough cut of the ground breaking attraction. Remember, this was supposed to be an amazing compilation of a space opera, music video and theme park attraction sprinkled with Disney animation. But, I’ll let you in on a little secret. You may have been impressed when you viewed the Disney attraction in all its 3D glory but the rough cut I saw was hilarious. Not because it was supposed to be a laugh riot. It was falling down laughing funny because it was so bad. I mean, really, really bad. But, thank heavens for post production - because this weird attraction ended up looking pretty good after all.

Sadly, we don’t have zany stuff like this going on today. The Disney Studio, I’ll admit is extremely successful and profitable. Animated features are raking in the cash and consumer products are flying off the shelves. When innovation is needed, the Disney bosses simply grab their shopping carts. As for myself, I still miss the creative Disney. The crazy Disney where anything could happen. Regretfully, I doubt we’ll ever see those days again.

Michael Jackson arrives at Disney and it was a pretty crazy day. Say what you will about CEO, Michael Eisner. He managed to keep things creative and crazy. At least for a little while anyway.

Michael Jackson arrives at Disney and it was a pretty crazy day. Say what you will about CEO, Michael Eisner. He managed to keep things creative and crazy. At least for a little while anyway.