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Web Exclusive: Does Woody Allen Just Write Like Rick Moranis? 

Startling similarities in their Disney parodies

Thursday, Dec 9 2004
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Do great comic minds think alike? Or is there something more?

In the December 13 issue of The New Yorker, Woody Allen imagines an interrogation between a lawyer and Mickey Mouse in a high-profile lawsuit involving the Walt Disney Co. Funny, because back on May 9, 1999, another comedian, Rick Moranis, imagined an interrogation between a lawyer and Mickey Mouse in a high-profile lawsuit involving the Walt Disney Co.

Hmmm.

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In Woody’s case, an unnamed counsel questions MM in the ongoing Disney shareholders’ lawsuit over the high-priced hiring and even higher-priced firing of Michael Ovitz by Michael Eisner. What follows are a series of pathetically dated references, even for the months during 1995-1996 when Ovitz was president of Disney, showing that Allen needs a refresher course in Hollywoodspeak. Sue Mengers hasn’t been on the Hollywood scene since 1990, Percodan has made way for Vicodin, the Betty Ford Center has given way to Promises in Malibu, Barbra Streisand’s house isn’t exactly ground zero for partying, Malibu’s Trancas is hardly cool compared to Point Dume, and the EST references ("one of the deepest ducks he’d ever met") are as old as Warren Beatty, who’s been replaced as Hollywood’s lothario by Jared Leto.

In Moranis’ piece, co-written with novelist Howard Kaminsky, which ran May 9, 1999 in the Los Angeles Times Sunday Opinion pages, defendant’s attorney Lou Meisinger questions MM (and plaintiff’s attorney Bert Fields queries other Disney toons) in connection with Jeffrey Katzenberg’s contract dispute with Disney. Even though it’s written five years earlier, Moranis’ piece is fresher and funnier and was first.

Read the following excerpt from Moranis’ LAT piece:

DATELINE: NEW YORK — The trial of Jeffrey Katzenberg versus the Walt Disney Co. has attracted enormous attention, partly because it is being held in open court. Katzenberg contends that the Disney Co. owes him at least $ 250 million based on a promise of a 2 percent profit in films that were produced while he was studio head.

The following are excerpts from pretrial depositions.

Louis Meisinger (lawyer for Disney): Could you state your address, please?

Mickey Mouse: I live at 2738 Annette Funicello Drive. You want the zip?

Meisinger: Do you know Mr. Jeffrey Katzenberg?

Mickey: You bet! He calls me every day. He gave me my own PalmPilot! Yippee!!!

Meisinger: Did Mr. Katzenberg ever tell you about an agreement he had with Mr. Eisner about profit participation?

Mickey: Oh, Uncle Mike wouldn’t give away money. Besides, he’s already made all of us soooo rich! Sure, the stock price is a little low lately, but Uncle Mike’s not the only one who didn’t see the Internet coming. Hey, let’s have a parade!

Now, the Woody Allen piece can be found at http://www.newyorker.com/shouts/content/?041213sh_shouts.

Okay, you be the judge.

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