Marty Sklar is one of the few remaining ‘old timers’ at Disney for whom I have a tremendous amount of respect. In countless old Wonderful World of Disney telecasts you can see him standing and working right alongside Walt back in Disneyland’s early days. He has been with the company for at least 50 years and since 1974 he has been the Vice Chairman and Principal Creative Executive of Disney Imagineering, a department that by all accounts has been downsized to the point of irrelavance by Michael Eisner.
His glowing support of Michael Eisner in an OC Register (u:socalscan p:socalscan) commentary over the weekend has me scratching my head.
Most of us park watchers are expecting Marty to retire on or around Disneyland’s 50th birthday next year. I personally was hoping he would stay with the company for as long as possible to help restore the declining quality level of attractions in the parks, but alas, it appears that’s probably not going to happen. Disneyland hasn’t gotten any new innovative, ‘industry-first’ attractions since Indiana Jones opened up in 1995 – almost a decade ago.
Between his article above and some comments he made back when Tokyo DisneySea opened, it’s looking more and more like Marty has more of an interest in watching the bottom line than he does in engineering new guest experiences. Which is fine if you’re a corporate officer. It’s his job I suppose.
He’s in a tough spot, sure, being pretty high up in the company and all. But to just come right out and say that Michael Eisner is doing a great job…I dunno man. He does work with the guy, and I’ve never met either one of them.
It’s just sad.