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View From Pooh's Corner

June 01, 2002

Walt Disney Co.'s bitter court fight over merchandising rights to the Winnie the Pooh characters is reverberating through the Hundred Acre Wood, reaching all the way to the cheerful bear who's humming a Good Hum as he climbs a giant oak tree.

"Isn't it funny how a chairman likes money? Buzz! Buzz! Buzz! I wonder why he does?"

"It's the shareholders, you bear of very little brain," Owl hooted derisively. "Nobody wants to be a millionaire, next fall's schedule couldn't catch a heffalump and the production arm is turning out stuff that's more prickly than a gorse bush during a Santa Ana. We're talking several hundred million money pots if this suit goes to trial and we lose."

Pooh, meanwhile, continued his hum: "It's very, very funny, 'Cos I know we had some money; 'Cos it had a label on, saying 'Money.'"

"You can bet your busted balloon," Eeyore brayed. "This story line would be rather gray and gloomy without the Grand Idea of adding lunch boxes, pajamas, video games and movies. It would be a rather boggy and sad place."

"Oh the Fox Network it is thriving, the Peacock is highflying and Must See still defines prime time. And everybody knows, (tiddely pom), how slow the profits (tiddely pom) are growing."

"This is all very reminiscent of the time greedy Pooh got stuck in my front door after too many mugs of condensed milk and honey," Rabbit said.

"A little something to sweeten the day is perfectly fine, but one must be careful of potentially sticky situations."

So they went off together to Disneyland, following in Shaq's considerable footsteps and mindful of Nancy Kerrigan's cautions. But wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, the little boy and his Bear will strive to keep shareholders in mind. After all, what good is a Forest where a little boy and his Bear are simply playing?

--With apologies to A.A. Milne and "The World of Pooh."

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