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Be patient, I'm getting to the part about Alice.
It seemed that Roy would not get not to speak, but he approached the microphone and looking right at Eisner said he hoped he would not be cut off for exceeding the 15 minute limit the chairman was so adamant about. It was a chilly moment. Roy wore a green tie with yellow-shoed Mickeys on it. He took issue with the notion that Disney is a brand. He said it is a name, and that name stands for things that can't be quantified but that affect every product the company releases. Branding is for cows, he said, a way to differentiate things that are identical (I don't know if this was a veiled reference to the upcoming “Home on the Range”). He continually stressed the importance of creativity and giving guests respect and value (in short, Magic) and not leaving them with the impression that Disney is after their last buck. He received a standing ovation and it was surely this quiet man's finest public moment and one that I'm sure will live on in Disney history.
When the dissenters finished, revealing his never failing ease before a crowd, Eisner cracked “Well, that was a joy.”
At that point, the floor was opened to questions and comments regarding the Roy-Stanley issue. This is when corporate gadfly Evelyn Y. Davis almost kidnapped the meeting. She did make a reasonable proposal that Sid Bass would make a good chairman of the board, but then she wouldn't stop speaking and interrupted the meeting several times by shrieking over Eisner from her seat. He never lost his composure, however.
Enter Alice. She asked Michael if he remembered her.
“Yes. Pentagon Mall.”
“Pentagon City,” Alice corrected. I'm going to paraphrase what happened next. I'm not a reporter so I may have a few of the words down wrong. “You said you know me, Michael. Then you know that I have supported you at past meetings, thought not always outside the meetings. I'm going to support you again, because the pension funds want to decapitate the company, don't care about Magic and are looking after their own agendas. But Roy Disney's resignation letter resonated with me because it said many of the things that were in my own resignation letter from the company. The cast members have been saying these things for a long time. You need to get out and talk to the cast.”
Eisner thanked Alice. He let her speak for quite a while and I did not get the impression that he was cutting her off, despite what Alice felt. I thought he treated her respectfully and I think it speaks volumes about both of these individuals, Michael and Alice, from such opposite ends of the corporate pyramid, that they know each other and have managed to form a relationship of sorts. Can you imagine this happening at Fox, Viacom or GE?
I have nothing to add about the corporate presentations. It was a star studded affair, with some bright moments like Dick Cook of the film studio showing previews of new films. He announced that Pirates 2 and 3 will be filmed at the same time and will be released close together in the summer and Christmas of 2005. What a year for the box office that will be! He got a big hand too when he announced that Disney will be adapting the Chronicles of Narnia series, forming a franchise to rival The Lord of The Rings and Harry Potter. Ultimately though I wondered if the many presentations were meant to showcase the company's creativity or drain the hall before the shaming results of the vote were announced.
It was a meeting I will never forget. I will post again later about the question and answer period at the end of the meeting.
David (norton35)

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