Friday, July 2, 2010
"No, he's busy," I said. "I don't want to bother him."
"Come on, you know you want your picture taken with him."
"Yes I do, but not now."
"You're just being shy."
I was not. Shy would've been getting the nerve to ask Robert Iger out on a date. Since the president and CEO of the Walt Disney Company isn't really my type, that wasn't an issue. Saying hello is a fairly simple process. I could see, however, that he was busy talking business to some people outside the Walt Disney Studios Theater, just minutes away from introducing chief archivist Dave Smith to an audience ready to celebrate 40 years of the Walt Disney Archives. Now was not the time. I was sure I'd be able to see him at the reception after the event. I'm very polite when I stalk well-known people.
Dave Smith has been running the show at the Archives for its entire existence. In the late 1960s, when he was a reference librarian at UCLA, he completed an extensive bibliography on Walt Disney and was later asked by the studio to help devise a system of organizing and archiving Walt's many letters, awards and memorabilia. So, Dave took a hiatus from his university work...and never returned. Forty years later, he's made the Walt Disney Archives the gold standard for animation and pop culture preservation.
Although the event last Friday wasn't meant to be a farewell party--Dave isn't retiring until October--it certainly felt like one, especially when Archives manager Becky Cline fought back tears as she paid tribute to Dave and his incredible legacy at Disney. Becky will succeed Dave as chief archivist, and it's a well-deserved promotion. She's spent more than twenty years with Disney, most of them at the Archives. As a child, she grew up near Burbank and was a regular visitor to Disneyland. "Mary Poppins" was the first movie she ever saw. By her own admission, she has the best job in the world. She can stay. She's one of us.
After the presentation, we were treated to cake and champagne outside the theater. It was also time to troll the crowd for some more Disney celebs.
And what about Bob Iger?
Ummm, well, he left early. I didn't see him at the reception.
Next time, I'll be more rude.
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