Spinning Disney's World: Memories of a Magic Kingdom Press Agent

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9781887140676: Spinning Disney's World: Memories of a Magic Kingdom Press Agent

Disney Legend Charles Ridgway looks back on over forty years of working with the Mouse, from Disneyland, to Walt Disney World, to Euro-Disney and beyond. Filled with light-hearted and hilarious reminiscences of famous people and outlandish publicity stunts, this memoir will delight Disney fans young and old.

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From the Inside Flap:

On Main Street, U.S.A., in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, the windows above street level are filled with old fashioned lettering announcing the businesses within. One of them reads, simply:

RIDGWAY PUBLIC RELATIONS
Charles Ridgway Press Agent
No Event Too Small

Ridgway Public Relations may be an imaginary business, but Charles Ridgway is very real. In fact, he is a "Disney Legend," recognized by the Disney Company for his four decades of service to "the Mouse."

Ridgway, or Charlie as he is known to generations of Disney cast members, spent his time at Disney dreaming up new and better ways to get publicity for Disney theme parks in Anaheim, Orlando, Paris, Tokyo, and Hong Kong. In the early days, Disney did next to no advertising, relying on Ridgway's ingenuity to spread the word about the wonders that awaited within the parks. It was a strategy that worked very well.

In Spinning Disney's World, Ridgway recounts his many triumphs of flackery, such as having fifty white Peking ducks parade down Main Street behind Donald Duck in celebration of his fiftieth birthday. It was no easy task.

To pull it off, Donald himself had to be on hand at the ducks' birth, so that he would be the first thing they saw. That way, they would "imprint" on him and follow him anywhere.

Donald's birthday bash was a huge success. But Ridgway's ingenuity didn't end there. When the celebration was over, he arranged to have Disney donate pairs of ducks to zoos around the country, guaranteeing another avalanche of publicity.

Ridgway's book is filled with tales of the famous and the unknown. He rubbed shoulders with Walt himself and became close to both Roy E. Disney and Michael Eisner. As a result, he has a unique perspective on the controversy that surrounded Eisner's last years at the company.

He also got to know virtually every famous journalist of the last fifty years, from Walter Cronkite to Charlie Gibson and Diane Sawyer. He saw the world of media change from an era of manual typewriters to the age of instant global communications and Disney events pioneered some of the news gathering and distribution techniques we now take for granted.

But he hasn't forgotten the unsung cast members who made Disney parks so special, like the anonymous young woman who was so protective of her role as Snow White that, in costume, she never answered to her own name and out of costume never admitted, even to her closest friends, that she portrayed the character in the parks.

That's Disney Magic!

From the Back Cover:

"Walt, stand over there!"

From opening day in Anaheim to opening day in Hong Kong, from Donald Duck's fiftieth Birthday bash to secret visits by royalty, from Walt Disney to Michael Eisner, Disney Legend Charlie Ridgway, a Disney press agent for forty years, has the inside scoop.

The man who told Walt where to stand for photos, helped usher in the era of electronic news gathering -- and befriended generations of movie stars, television hosts, and news reporters -- now shares his wry and revealing reminiscences of life in the world's greatest Mickey Mouse outfit.


ADVANCE PRAISE FOR
SPINNING DISNEY'S WORLD

"Charlie Ridgway is part of a breed of people I'm not sure exist anymore in our business."
- Roy E. Disney, former vice chairman, The Walt Disney Co. and a Disney Legend

"Spinning Disney's World is an E-Ticket read!"
- Dick Nunis, former president of the Outdoor Recreation division of The Walt Disney Co. and a Disney Legend

"Ridgway's credibility with news people is a legend, a legend earned . . . his book, as always, tells it straight."
- Walter Anderson, CEO, Parade Magazine

"Ridgway was present at the creation of Disneyland and Walt Disney World, and he spins wondrous tales."
- Bob Thomas, author of Walt Disney: An American Original

"Charles Ridgway, the shrewd and affable top publicist for both Disneyland and Walt Disney World, here shares his insider stories. If you loved your visit to the Magic Kingdom - and who doesn't? - you'll want to read this entertaining book."
- Myrna Blythe, former editor in chief, Ladies Home Journal, and author of Spin Sisters

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