On Friday, Michael Eisner officially stepped down as Head Mouse in Charge of the Walt Disney Company, ending his roughly two decades astride the Magic Kingdom. A Defamer spy stood in the sweltering heat to listen to Eisner's final address to his "cast members," filing this report:
Just a few morsels from [Friday's] studio send-off of Michael Eisner where the biggest Mouseketeer of them all bid the Disney cast members a fond farewell. Grinning through his clenched jaw, tongue firmly planted between gums and cheek, Eisner took the podium in front of the Disney Commissary to say a few parting words—evidently the man's presence conveniently conjured up the heats of hell as no fewer than three hundred Mouse employees gathered (standing room only mind-you) underneath the insufferable rays of the Valley sun.
Nevertheless, while fending off heat stroke, employees were graced with a few "good 'ole time" stories from Eisner's tenure. 1-Being forced to taste-test the food at a Disney World Restaurant that he likened to dog crap. 2. Cruising New York City in a Mouse Limousine where Frank G. Wells was solicited by a prostitute, and he was appropriately offended that she didn't offer him the same services. Oh- and he went on to refer to the homeless person who urinated on the tire of the aforementioned limo as an "animal." Eisner: a humanitarian until the bitter end. He continued to make a few comments about how tomorrow he would be able to say "what he really thought" of people within the House of Mouse, but today, he was gracious for everyone's drive and effort and magic during his 21 years. He concluded after what I felt was an all-too-long applause from the onlookers and then exited behind the Roy Disney building - but not before flashing what could not be mistaken as the Richard Nixon peace-pose, which drew its fair share of laughter.
We hope that new CEO Bob Iger can figure out some way to utilize his predecessor without compromising his own authority, mostly because Eisner's going to find it hard to find another workplace (one that doesn't involve quarter-powered personal video booths, at least) where it's considered cute to show up in nothing but red shorts, white gloves, and a pair of oversized mouse ears.
Elsewhere: Reporter Kim Masters pens a farewell note to Eisner at Slate, and the LAT gives the highlights of Eisner's good-bye e-mail to his former subjects.