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Kenversations™: Jack and the Bean Counters
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There is also extensive commentary on pricing and the switches from cash-per-ride to the "ticket" books (A, B,C, and later D & E coupons) and then to pay-one-price (and southern California discounts), but nothing about annual passes and the former seasonal passes.
The omissions are probably a function of only concern about the book - it was over too fast! I wanted more! That isn't to say readers are not given a full book. We are. It is just that Jack was involved or around to witness so much, it would be nice to see another volume.
There are moments the book gets slightly blue. Jack admits some of his mistakes, and some mistakes others made. He laments the loss of the good ol' days, perceives a decrease in "Disney Magic" since his days, and shares opinions you won't find in corporate Disney publications for public consumption. Even though he notes the deficiency of the California Adventure theme for the Disneyland second gate and that CEO & Chairman Michael Eisner didn't do as well after the death of COO & President Frank Wells (which happened after Jack's retirement), Jack does seem to temper his opinions and go a little lightly in some areas where he could have easily been more blunt and critical. It is worth noting that he mentions a successor, former Disneyland President Matt Ouimet, in a positive way, but is silent on the two Presidents between himself and Matt.
He does engage in some armchair Imagineering, including giving his opinion on what he sees as a current theming problem with Disneyland: Main Street, USA no longer has relevance, since it was originally a nostalgic connection for the grandparents visiting Disneyland in the 1950s, per Walt's own childhood. It is more like a themed mall now. Jack proposes updating Main Street to about the 1970s, turning it into another nostalgia trip for today's guests. I got a chuckle out of that because I have long thought California Adventure would have been better off originally if it took the same approach, opening up with a 1950s southern California boulevard as the entry funnel. That was a time when California was booming with post-WWII and rising Cold War growth. Americans were flocking west, agriculture was giving way to housing tracts and manufacturing plants, going to the movie theater or drive-in was an "in" thing, television was new, and so was Disneyland! Think of the music and the fashions! You've seen "Back to the Future" and "Grease". It would be Blast to the Past on a permanent basis.
Anyway, perhaps a less expensive way of making Main Street relevant again that won't send preservation-minded enthusiasts into fits is for Disney to set a feature-length movie or television series in a Midwestern Main Street circa 1900. But enough of this (unless a theme park design firm wants to hire me).
The most recent time I met Jack Lindquist in person, I shook his hand and called him "my President". When I meet him, in person or in his book, he takes me back to another time and makes me laugh and tugs at my heart - just like a trip to Disneyland, only a lot less costly. Jack's retirement in the early 1990s was a clear sign of the end of an era. Disneyland was transitioning from the folksy old guard Walt men who'd been involved from year one, the guys who revered the business of making magic in a special gem of show business - to the new wave of slick corporate climbers who were more prone to looking at Disneyland as just an aging cog in the Wall Street machine. When he was in service to the mouse, Jack was in service to childhood dreams of the Happiest Place on Earth.
In Service to the Mouse
My Unexpected Journey to Becoming Disneyland's First President
A Memoir by Jack Lindquist
With Melinda J. Combs
240+ pages, Index
-- Ken Pellman
Ken Pellman is a Public Information Officer and ghost/freelance writer/editor and occasional podcast guest. He has a BA in Thematic Environmental Design from California State University, Fullerton, got his first Disneyland Annual Passport in 1985 and was in service to the mouse as Disneyland Cast Member for fifteen years. He resides in Anaheim with his wife, two kids, and dog. Ken can be followed on Twitter @kenversations and found online at www.Pellman.com
The views, opinions and comments of Ken Pellman, and all of our columnists and reviewers, are not necessarily those of LaughingPlace.com or any of its employees or advertisers. All speculation and rumors about the future of the Walt Disney Company are just that - speculation and rumors - and should be treated as such.
-- January 17, 2013
©2013 Ken Pellman, all rights reserved. Licensed to LaughingPlace.com.