Chapter Excerpt from Of Permanent Value: The Story of Warren Buffett / 2008 Cosmic Edition by Andy Kilpatrick – Highlights from the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meetings
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (PRWEB) April 24, 2008
At 8:30 on the morning of each annual meeting, the company movie is shown –a collection of highlights and comedy routines and the latest commercials for company products. The film, updated every year, may open with Buffett strumming a ukulele, singing a welcoming song to the tune of “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke.” “When NASDAQ’s down, you’ll never frown. Berkshire’s here to stay,” he sings.
The sitcom once included a cartoon featuring the Oracle of Omaha as Agent 008 battling the terrorist Has Been Rotten. The Oracle prevails by firing exploding Berkshire products.
The premeeting video featured skits of Buffett in various soap opera and Omaha Press Club appearances. One segment has a takeoff of “The Graduate” where Dustin Hoffman is told, “The future is in plastics.” In this video, the word “plastics” was substituted with “GEICO.”
One clip in the 1997 video showed Washington Post’s Katharine Graham complaining that Berkshire-related businesses were so cheap they didn’t offer dental programs until you were 90 and that she was being forced to continue working and had decided on a discount furniture business: “Mrs. G’s.” Her talk was accompanied by an ad: “Mrs. G’s blowout discount on furniture.”
One popular segment over the years has featured Buffett and Gates appearing before Judge Judy to sort out a fuss over a bridge game. When Gates argues his side, Judge Judy tells him to go to “shutup.com” and orders Gates to give Buffett a break so he can amount to something.
Other clips showed joking tributes from Bill Gates and Tom Brokaw, or even highlights of Nebraska’s greatest football plays. In 2007, the skit was a sequence of shots of Buffett and LeBron James making impossible shots on a basketball court with Buffet making a final full court swish to defeat James.
For several years, the low-budget movie was created by Berkshire’s Treasurer Marc Hamburg. Now Buffett’s daughter, Susie, heads the effort. The video is not given out because of possible copyright issues. Susie Buffett has said, “It’s one thing to get permission to use things that are in one item that never gets distributed. It’s one entirely different thing if we start selling copies.”
The movie now includes cameos from celebrities like Tiger Woods (with Buffett as his caddy), Bono during a photo shoot with Bill and Melinda Gates as Persons of the Year for Time magazine, Jimmy Buffett, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The 2006 movie was a great hit; based on “American Idol,” it was called “Omaha Idol,” if you will. The three idol judges were Buffett, Munger, and Mrs. See.
The cartoon portion of the movie was created (for free) by Andy Heyward, CEO of DIC Entertainment of Burbank, California. The cartoons, which open the film, have included “Omaha Idol” and spoofs on Batman and Robin, James Bond, and Survivor.
One skit spoofed Bill Gates’ Windows product, as an actual window.
Arnold Schwarzenegger was made fun of for his new voting machine that allowed votes only for him. At one point, Arnold held up two books; one about him and one about Buffett, saying, “mine is bigger.” Then he turned the book about Buffett sideways for viewers to see it was an earlier version of this book. Arnold then proclaimed, “Yours is thicker.”
Donald Trump and Snoop Dogg were lampooned.
One clip featured Buffett and Munger with Dick Cheney, who was dressed as Elmer Fudd. Buffett said, “Hunting with Dick Cheney? Then you need insurance now!” Cheney then shot Munger in the rear, and Munger said, “Any closer shave would have to be by Gillette!”
A See’s Candy clip featured Ellen DeGeneres getting factory workers to look away while she stuffed candy down her dress.
Another skit involved Buffett suddenly falling in love with hi-tech stocks but having difficulty persuading Munger about the idea. So Buffett called Jamie Lee Curtis, who was lying suggestively in bed, and asked her if she’d call Munger, a fan of hers.
Munger took a call from Curtis asking, “Is this really Jamie Lee Curtis?” She replied, “Is this really Mr. Hunger, I mean Munger?” Munger promised he’d speak to Buffett about the hi-tech stocks.
A skit with Tiger Woods showed Tiger having trouble with a shot and Buffett suggesting to him that he was “putting too much arm into it.” Woods then hit a perfect shot and declared Buffett his new coach.
A “Desperate Housewives” skit featured the actual actresses discussing the sexual prowess of old men. When the movie ended, Buffett and Munger walked on stage to huge applause. Then, like a bolt from the blue, Buffett said, “I’m Warren. He’s Charlie. You may wonder why Charlie gets the girls (Jamie Lee Curtis) in these things. It has to do with what I call the Anna Nicole Smith rule. When choosing between two old, rich guys, pick the older.”
Woodstock was underway.
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