Robert Iger, Disney

Once upon a time, in a Magic Kingdom not far away, there lived a great storyteller who dabbled in short-form animation. After achieving recognition in 1928 for creating the world’s first cartoon talkie, he conjured up plans for full-length-animated features, theme parks, transit systems, futuristic work/live spaces and other fantastical ideas few could conceive as possible. After a long and magical quest, he made his dreams manifest, and even expanded them to include a vast vacation paradise in Orlando, Fla. But before he could see this promised land, the visionary passed into his eternal slumber (and, despite legends to the contrary, didn’t have his body frozen for possible future reanimation).

Eventually, a new ruler took over the Kingdom, not a bad ruler, but not quite animated by the magic of his predecessor. Oh, he expanded the Kingdom, to be sure, into cable entertainment and sports, even network television, and his splashy PG movies made Wall Street happy, as did his emerging retail fiefdoms. Returning to the quality of animation that initially made the Kingdom so beloved and wealthy, the new lord even leveraged these properties into strategic alliances with other great kingdoms, expanding its reach and pull to global proportions. But, slowly, over his 20-or-so-year reign, the magic ebbed. The Kingdom fell into disrepair, its ruler becoming better known for rumors of megalomania, slumping sales, outdated animation, infighting, outfighting, killer rides and sundry other things that made great sight gags for Shrek movies.

Finally, one day last fall, this ruler stepped down from the throne and appointed a charming successor, Bob Iger, whose positive effect cascaded through the company’s morale like a burst of pixie dust. Soon, staff in every department seemed to whistle while they worked.

The Kingdom got its mojo back, whether by sorcery, smarts or just serendipity. Amid the dry sands of network sameness, the regime cultivated oases of TiVo-worthy, creator-driven TV dramas (Grey’s Anatomy, Lost, Desperate Housewives), and mustered a phalanx of features (The Chronicles of Narnia, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, Cars) to storm the holiday and summer box office. It saw to the nurturing of the Kingdom’s young with a youthful explosion of song and dance (High School Musical), disseminated liberally across its multimedia platforms, and it spread its joyful noise far and wide, bringing millions in pilgrimage to its theme parks and branded resorts for children of all ages. Then, early this year, just like a sleeping princess kissed back to consciousness, years of grudging detente with a longstanding, less-than-pixilated partner suddenly disappeared, swapped for a deal that made their studios one big, happy, animated family, and perhaps even infusing the Kingdom, yet again, with the palpable creative spark that once made it great.

And, as the story goes, they all lived happily . . .

Hey! Let’s tell it the Disney way! Through song . . .

“The Wonderful Thing About Igers”
(Sung to the tune of “The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers” from Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day, and The Tigger Movie)

The wonderful thing about Igers
Is Igers are wonderful things!
The sixth Chief Executive Officer
In Disney’s history!
They oversee all entertainment,
Fun, fun, fun, fun, fun!
But the most wonderful thing about Iger is
Bob’s now Disney’s No. 1

From surging resorts and theme parks
To gangbusters Pirates and Cars,
To Disney and ABC’s ascent
As “must-see” avatars,
To picking up popular Pixar,
Bob’s ushered in happier days
For the multitiered powerhouse lately
Mired in Eisnerian malaise

Yes, Disney has rightly been scolded
For donning a neocon guise
From Narnian Christiansploitation
To 9-1-1 fictionalized!
Banking the value of family
At Dobson’s and Reed’s shrill behest
With Miramax now sans its Weinsteins
And few Touchstones for all of the rest

Still through cordial arrangement with Apple
And strategic ally in Steve Jobs,
Lost and Desperate Housewives
Are now playing on video iPods!
While assuming the chair left by Eisner,
Groomed in advance for the job thereupon,
The wonderful thing about Iger?
He’s no audioanimatron!

“It’s A High School Musical”
(Sung to the tune of “It’s a Small World After All”)

It’s a world of mathletes
A world of freaks
It’s a world of jocks
And of drama geeks
But when they realize
Their dreams to vocalize
It’s a High School Musical

It’s a new twist on
MGM’s old yarns
Starring Judy, Mickey,
And rehabbed barns
Swap the barn for a gym
And dope urban rhythms
You’ve got High School Musical

It’s a High School Musical
Reaching tweens at home and mall
Disney Channel’s
Schedule is full
With this mus-i-cal

Follow rival teens
Who break into song
As did viewers some
26 mil strong
But the real rivalry?
Raven, Lizzie McG
Versus High School Musical

Brand extensions,
Sequels and licensing
And Mouse House multi-
platform marketing
Cuz in Zac’s dreamy eyes
Someone smelled a franchise
Called it High School Musical

“Get’cha Head in the Game”
Downloads by the score
Top 10 soundtrack per
[Sister pub] Billboard
Extras on DVD?
Dancing steps, bouncing Bs,
So that kids can sing along.

“Yo Ho—A Pirate’s Life for Me”
(Sung to the tune of “Yo Ho—A Pirate’s Life for Me” from Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean ride)

Yo ho, yo ho, a Pirate’s life for me
They pillage, they plunder, they rake in the loot
Drink up, me ‘earties, yo ho
They make blogs chatter so don’t give a hoot
About Rotten Tomatoes

Oh, Jack Sparrow, a Pirate’s life for me
Curse was surprisingly better than
The average action mo-vie
Including most directed by
Mr. Gore Verbinski

Yo ho, mo’ dough, a Pirate’s life for me
Dead Man’s Chest on opening night
Earned $55 mil doubloons
Top-grossing movie of two-thousand-six
Though it seemed longer than Dune

Yo ho, oh no, it has no real ending
Which makes us think there’s something to
The power of marketing
With Volvo, Verizon and Visa onboard
Or was it ALL juicy Johnny?

“Enter The Springs”
(Sung to the tune of “Under the Sea” from “The Little Mermaid”)

The grass it is always greener
When its planted ’round your racetrack
This time-warped, two-lane town looks quaint
But McQueen just wants to get back
Look at the world around you
While stuck in Radiator Springs
The simple life it surrounds you
Slow down and have some ice cream

Enter the Springs
Enter the Springs
Lightning, it’s better
With much less pressure
To race through things
Down at the track they work all day
Out in the sun grease monkeys slave
While we’re devotin’
Full time to loafin’
Here in the Springs

Out here all the Cars are happy
So are Disney’s marketeers
They made lots of deals with brand partners
Like State Farm, Hertz and Goodyear
The only one not in the lineup?
Was Newman’s Own salad dressing
Paul voiced the movie’s Doc Hudson
We’d expect to see some synergy

Enter the Springs
While it’s a desert
Mattel is master
Toy licensee
After Pirates o’ Car-ib-bean
Cars came in second place on screens
‘spite its appearance
It’s not Deliverance!
Here in the Springs
Enter the Springs
Ain’t got no Kinko’s
Come play some Bingo
Summer blockbuster bets were hedged
Cars kicked your ass, Over the Hedge!
As of late August
Box office robust:
At $240 [million]

“Monk” plays Luigi
Costas is Cutlass
Larry the Cable
Guy’s really typecast
We forgot to mention
McD’s, AT&T
They’re also brand partners
($50 mil marketing)
With 70 partners
In the licensing game
Can any film beat us?
Not Snakes on a Plane
Cars was ‘sposed to be
Our last with Pixar
But now that we’ve merged we’ll go far.

“The Disneyland 50th Anniversary March”
(Sung to the tune of “The Mickey Mouse Club March”)

Who’s the leader of the pack
In terms of parks with themes?
It’s D-I S-N-E Y-L-A-N-D

Which theme park in Anaheim
Last year turned 50?
It’s D-I S-N-E Y-L-A-N-D

Disneyland! (Matterhorn!)
Disneyland! (Tiki Room!)
Forever we will jump the Dumbo line
Fly! Fly! Fly!

Who’s branched out to Orlando
Hong Kong, Tokyo, Par-ee?
It’s D-I S-N-E Y-L-A-N-D

Hey there! Hi there! Whoa there—
Churros cost $7.50?!
Oh, D-I S-N-E Y-L-A-N-D

Disneyland! (Rides get stuck!)
Disneyland! (Long lines—yuk!)
Captain Eo, oh, we’re glad you’re gone
Gone! Gone! Gone!

Come along and sing as our
Rides morph into movies
At D-I S-N-E Y-L-A-N-D

“Let’s Get Together, Pixar”
(Sung to the tune of “Let’s Get Together” from “The Parent Trap”)

Let’s get together, yeah yeah yeah
Why don’t you and I combine?
Pixar plus Disney, what do you say?
We can have a swinging time
We’d be a crazy corporate team
Why don’t we make some synergy? Together

Let’s get together, yeah yeah yeah
Our animation lacks these days
Let’s get together, everyday
Your CG is all the rage
Pixar, your humorous stories
Don’t make the grownups want to scream. Ever

Oh! Toy Story was so swell
Uh huh! And so was the sequel
Ooh wee! Ditto for Cars, Nemo
$7 billion’s so low when you have box office mojo

Let’s get together, yeah yeah yeah
Iger, Cook and Jobs get along
Let’s get together right away
Especially now that Eisner’s gone
Now we’ll be sharing all you’ve got
In turn we gave Steve Jobs some stock,

Let’s get together, yeah yeah yeah
On distribution technologies
Let’s get together, digitally
We could use your expertise
Such numbers we have rarely seen
Since we made the Lion King. Whatever

Oh! We used to hate your guts
Ooh! You left us in a rut
But! Your plans to split went splat
Nothing would be greater, may some Happy Meals come later