innings, a corps of dancing girls performing on top of the dugouts,
spectators bobbing in a tank for baseballs, races for kids in the
aisles and a dozen similar activities that I've been able to blot
from my memory. Because there was no escape from the incessant,
relentless noise for the sake of noise, it was impossible for the
fans to second-guess the team manager.
It apparently never occurred to these overpaid marketeers that the
only entertainment that would attract more paying customers -- as so
magnificently illustrated last season -- was a winning team.
The response from the people who came to see baseball and got
Mickey Mouse was instant, outraged and uncompromising: floods of
angry letters to the newspapers covering the Angels, scores of phone
calls to Disney and the Angels' front office, reactions ranging from
disinterest to contempt at the ballpark.
And the most important reaction of all: tepid attendance. So
Disney got the word. All of the cute stuff stopped. Slowly, the
energy and money devoted to window dressing were redirected to the
product on the field. It took a few years, but tickets were being
scalped for $1,000 or more at Edison Field in October. For baseball.
I bring up this bit of history now because my wife and I broke our
pattern and went to a movie over the weekend, the overpraised
throwback to the 1930s and '40s called "Far From Heaven."
Because there was a long line at the box office, it was clear that
we needed to get a seat while we could. That meant we were part of a
captive audience force-fed 20 minutes of hard-sell commercials before
the previews came on.
So I went into the movie full of anger at the people who subjected
me to this. I don't think that is the mental climate in which the
creators of this film would like it to be seen. I also don't think
that is of the slightest interest to the flacks pushing these
My wife and are movie buffs. On average, we probably see a
half-dozen movies a month throughout the year -- and more when our
son is home. We are accustomed to and mostly welcome previews,