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Cast Member Corner: "It's Time to Light the Lights ..."

Cast Member Corner: "It's Time to Light the Lights ..."

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Hey, gang!

Jim Hill again. Given that today's article from Shawn Cleaves touches on what may happen next now that the Walt Disney Company has purchased the Muppets from the Jim Henson Company, I guess I should point out that -- early yesterday morning -- an article that I just wrote about the Disney/Henson deal went up over at Ain't It Cool News; check it out to learn the REAL reason that Brian and Lisa Henson sold the Muppets off to the Mouse.

And -- while we're posting links -- I guess I should point out that Mr. Cleaves is getting a new site of his own up out of the ground soon. It's going to be called www.mouseheads.com and will cater to the Disney Cast Member Alumni crowd. So -- if you're interested in seeing what Shawn has been up to when he hasn't been over here writing for JimHillMedia.com -- then I suggest you follow that link.

Okay. That's enough jabbering from me for today. Let's get to Cleaves' latest column, shall we?

So, is buying the Muppets really a distraction move (on Eisner's part)? Of course it is. But who cares? Years from now -- when all the great new Muppet attractions are up and running -- the average guests (and maybe even some of the above-average ones) won't remember why or how the deal finally went through. And so at this point, neither do I.

I think it shakes down like this: we care about the Eisner situation and we care about the Muppets, so we follow both parts of the story. The average guests only care about the Muppets, and don't give a damn about Eisner, so they follow the Muppet part. The SEC and ISS and Wall Street only care about Eisner and don't give a damn about the Muppets, so they follow the Eisner part.

In other words, this is likely not a big enough deal to dissuade anyone who's bent on Michael's downfall. It's kinda like trying to deflect a barrage of paint pellets with a 3½ inch 'I Like Ike' (or perhaps in this case 'I Like Mike') campaign button. A case of 'too little, too late' for Michael becomes a win-win for Muppet/ Disney fans who've been waiting out this deal since 1990.

I can still vividly remember seeing the rehab wall announcing the 'Muppet Movie Ride' from BST coming back past the Boneyard after Cat Canyon, standing about where Hunchback Theatre stands today, and thinking, "Wow -- how cool is THAT?" Now just the possibility of seeing that long overdue attraction finally realized is making me giddy. And I'm not the type to 'get' giddy, if you know what I mean.

Meanwhile, kudos to Brian Henson. Seriously. Say what you will about the bargain price and the Kermit legacy and what-have-you, but this is a good move for him. He's actually just secured (the Henson) legacy (for) long past his own lifetime and that of his children's children. This cannot have been an easy decision for him at all (recall that he was the one that broke off the Disney deal after Jim's passing), but he stepped up.

This is not a sell-out for Brian, and he didn't do it to help Eisner. This is a controversial and necessary survival move, complete with much chagrin, nay-saying and cat-calling from his peers and fans.And so again I say kudos to him. Especially for his ability to see far beyond this month and the next. While the rest of us are mired here breathlessly waiting for 3/3/04.

The exact same ability, ironically, that we consistently accuse Michael of NOT having.

Interesting column, don't you think? Quick question, though: Would any of you camera-crazy Disneyana fans have a photograph of that sign that Shawn mentioned in his column? You know, the one that you used to be able to see from Disney-MGM's tram tour? The one that read "Muppet Studios -- Coming Soon"? Yeah, the one that featured Robin (the frog) and Sweetums (the monster) both wearing construction helmets?

If someone out there could please unearth that image and then send a copy along to me, I'd be one very happy camper.

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