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 The Kingdom fell into disrepair, its ruler becoming better known for rumors of megalomania, slumping sales, outdated animation, infighting, outfighting, killer rides and sundry other things that made great sight gags for Shrek movies.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