I have just returned safely from one of the weirdest fucked up days I’ve had in a long time (and I’ve had quite a few fucked up days lately).
On Monday night, I received a call from my old pal and competitor Michael Eisner (M.E.) who, as you know, used to be the Chairman & CEO of Disney before (as he says it) “being released into the wild by the Board of Directors to fend for himself”.
M.E. wanted to pick me up at 3:00 a.m. by helicopter and take me to one of the private duck hunting ponds he owns in northern California to do some hunting and talk about The Future of Television.
I explained that normally I would jump at that opportunity (I had never been duck hunting in my life) but I had Sumner Redstone staying at my house and he was not in the best emotional state (because he’s almost broke).
After a few moments of back-and-forth negotiations with M.E., it was settled that I would be picked up at 2:00 a.m. and I was to turn Sumner Redstone out into the street. (Michael Eisner is a master negotiator.)
At 2:00 a.m., M.E. arrived right on time, his massive military-style helicopter landing on my Great Lawn. The fucker didn’t seem to care that I had recently had a million dollar landscaping job completed.
He was dressed in combat fatigues with his face painted green and brown and brandishing two 12-gauge shotguns. I was dressed in gym shorts, t-shirt and tennis shoes. I wasn’t aware there was a costume for duck hunting.
M.E.: Are you fucking kidding me, Khan? Seriously, what the fuck is your problem? What are you wearing? Do you have your own gun or do you need to rent one from me?
I explained that I have never been duck hunting and didn’t realize there were special clothes.
M.E.: To kill a duck, you have to think like a duck. Capisce?
I wouldn’t think a duck would want to wear those clothes or that make-up. But I played along and found an old Army General’s uniform that my dad (Harry Manka) used to wear around the Manka Bros. studio lot to intimate talent.
I put that on and smeared my face with camouflage make-up that M.E. had with him. I would have to rent a duck-shooting-gun from M.E. as the only weapons in my house were controlled by my security team.
Flying low over the southern California mountains, M.E. leaned out of the chopper observing the pre-dawn movements of the San Fernando Valley like he was in the jungles of Vietnam. He held this position and didn’t speak for the approximate two hour flight to a remote area south of Sacramento.
Suddenly, through a mist, a giant pond appeared with large reeds sprouting out of it. M.E. looked up and gave me a wink.
M.E.: (pointing down) Quack-gri-la – we’re home.
The chopper landed and several very serious handlers came out to greet us – all dressed in military fatigues and wearing ridiculous duck-shooting hats with ear flaps.
M.E.: I’m going to take a couple of minutes to let my balls stop vibrating, then I’ll meet you in “the blind”.
Apparently, he meant “duck blind”… and I didn’t know what that was – but I was soon to find out.
And I was soon to get into a very interesting discussion on The Future of Television (which was quite different from my discussion on The Future of Media with Bob Iger - M.E.’s successor at Disney).
But now, I’m worn out. So I’ll get into all that tomorrow.