The weirdest fire alarm on earth

This morning I decided to write a big mass e-mail thing since I haven't written one in a while. Three of the four script coordinators are here today, so hopefully it won't be as busy as it has been these last couple of days when it's just two of us. So just as I sat down, put a CD on the headphones, and typed the first line, I heard a weird buzzing noise. My initial reaction was that one of the computers around me was going nuts. See, I have several fancy Mac G4s surrounding my cube - the folks who digitally fix up the background paintings for TV Animation sit there and bitch all day. Did I say bitch? I meant paint. Paint. Yeah ... that's it.

But it kept going. No one would let the computer make that noise for more than five seconds, especially people who complain all day about minutia such as the varying hues of the color green that the different painters use. Nope, can't be their computers. Since I was listening to a new CD that I'm not used to, and it was recorded live, I figured that something was messed up on my CD. "That's lame," I thought, "Why would Goldfinger, who are supposed musical professionals, let a harsh buzzing sound ruin a perfectly good rendition of 'Mable'?"

Then I looked up and saw flashing strobe lights.

Dammit. A fire alarm.

Now, I've had fire alarms all through grade school, in my college dorms, in my brother's college dorm, working at the Disney Store in the CambridgeSide Galleria, in Disney Feature Animation's Southside building and in Santa Monica's Water Garden Office Complex, where LEGO Media was. Each time the alarm has been piercingly shrill, louder than road construction outside your bedroom window at 7:30 am on a Saturday, and obvious that it IS an alarm. Granted, I slept through one in Warren Towers at BU, but I was a Freshman and, well, as we all know, Freshmen are tools.

Regardless, this was the sissiest fire alarm I've ever heard.

So I found the other two script coordinators and we fled.

Now, the Frank G. Wells building on the Disney Studio Lot is the weirdest conglomeration of people ever. The first floor is all meeting rooms, conference areas and theaters. A rotating assortment of suits - just yesterday I saw signs of the apocalypse, er, I'm sorry, signs for "Inspector Gadget 2". Today, it's something completely different. The second thru fourth floors are TV Animation. Also on the fourth floor is the Disney University, the training/orientation department for the whole greater Burbank/Glendale area. Another daily rotating door of Disneyfolk. And lastly, the fifth floor is lawyers and accountants and other denizens of hell.

So anyway we get outside and it's just a mess of people. Pink haired chicks, dudes in expensive suits, touristy looking folk, more pink haired chicks (TV Animation must have affirmative action for pink haired chicks, there's just no other explanation). People all over the courtyard, right in front of the building. Actually right in the shadow of the building. Right where the building would fall, if it decided to.

Needless to say, eventually they told us to move.

But, unlike working at Disney Feature Animation Southside, we had no escape plan whatsoever. Find your friends and hope they're not dead. At Southside, we had elaborate evacuation routes, signs, and group leaders with little orange vests. All TV Animation has is the buddy system.

Then all of the people in the downstairs conference rooms come out. First is a big group with matching TEAL golf shirts. They look like the Lame Family at the annual summer reunion on Dork Lake. Then a group of suits, all with little trinket bags full of goodies. I want goodies, dammit. Then another group with name tags on. Then Mickey Mouse.


Mickey Mouse, just like you'd see at Disneyland or Walt Disney World. And that's weird. See, we usually don't get the costumed characters on the Studio Lot - sometimes for events at the commissary they'll bring out the new characters, I think there was one for Atlantis two months ago. And sometimes at Southside we'd see the latest movie's costumed characters, or at least prototypes of, going to get approved by the producers and directors.

But Mickey Mouse just hanging out in front of the Frank G. Wells Building during a fire alarm is just a weird sight. Like he has an office in the building or something.

Of course the suits with the goodie bags all get yappy, smothering poor Mickey and taking countless photos. Um, it's just a person in a suit ... you know that ... right? In fact, at this exact second on this planet there are probably upwards of 15 people wearing the exact same suit playing "Mickey Mouse". As we all know the real Mickey Mouse is frozen in a casket under Disneyland's castle. Wait, no, that's Annette Funicello.

So the fire alarm ends, and we're all safe to go back to work. As we're walking back into the building, Mickey's right next to us walking in that overly pantomiming cartoon walk. I decide to make a little joke, "Stop following me! I'm going back to work now, I swear!!" (Trust me, most of it was in the spontaneity. And the timing. Yeah, had a lot to do with the timing. It was funny. For real.) And then the person in the suit plays along and starts miming that wagging her finger with her hand on her hip in a stern pose. Quite clever I thought. We got a laugh or two.

So next time someone asks me what it's like working for Mickey, I'll say that he's down to earth and a good boss, who's not afraid to mingle with the riffraff during a fire alarm.

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Last Updated on: August 23, 2001

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