Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Creatives write the best passive-aggressive fake memos

In this case, it's a Disney animator who objected to the renaming of the 80's less-than-epic cartoon "The Great Mouse Detective" from its more evocative working title "Basil of Baker Street".

I can just imagine the executive decision coming down:

"'Basil of Baker Street'? Nobody is going to care about that! What about 'The Mouse Detective?'"

"Not epic enough. This is Disney. We make timeless animated classics."

"Okay then... 'The Great Mouse Detective'!"

"Brilliant! Inform the scribblers."

Click to enlarge.

Here's the full backstory, via Letters of Note:

When, in early-1986, Disney executives decided to change the title of their upcoming animated feature from 'Basil of Baker Street' to the less ambiguous 'The Great Mouse Detective', its production team were less than pleased. One animator in particular, Ed Gombert, harnessed his displeasure to comical effect by creating, and circulating, the following: a fake memo purportedly from then-head of department, Peter Schneider, in which he announced the retroactive renaming of Disney's entire back catalogue, bar The Aristocats, in a similarly bland style.

It was a hit, and in fact such was its popularity that the memo soon reached a very unimpressed Jeff Katzenberg, then-CEO of Disney, who, after questioning an entirely innocent Schneider, tried and failed to uncover the identity of the memo's creator. To make matters worse, a copy then found its way to the LA Times.

To Disney's dismay the movie's name was suddenly on everyone's lips, albeit for the wrong reasons.

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