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Music Monday: The Whimsy Works by Richard Sherman

Today, October 16, marks the anniversary of the Walt Disney Studio. It's the day recognized when the Disney Brothers (Walt and Roy) opened up their Los Angeles studio on Kingswell Ave in 1923. After the success of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, they would move their studio to Burbank where it grew and still stands today. 

Disney Legend, Richard Sherman, wrote a song called "The Whimsy Works" that is about Walt and what is was like working on the Walt Disney Studio lot. It was actually written for a 2016 show called "L.A. Now and Then - A Musical Review." If you watch this D23 video at 2:37, you can watch Sherman talk about this particular song and hear him play it on the actual piano in Walt Disney's office. 

Here is a the actual song number from the musical review. It's kind of fun to hear this original and new-ish song from Sherman after all the years that have passed when he used to write for Walt Disney.

Coincidently, my youngest daughter was able to attend a special lecture class at her high school last week where Sherman spoke to the students about song composition and his long career. My daughter said he shared many Disney stories, too. Sherman did talk about "The Whimsy Works" and he closed their session with a rendition of "it's a small world." You can read about Sherman's visit to my daughter's high school in this article

Happy Music Monday!


Shop Disney: I Am Excited About These 2 New Disney Books

I was perusing Amazon for some Disney books and came upon these two new Disney books that are due to be released this year. These are both being published by Disney Editions

The first book I am excited about is A Kiss Goodnight.  I see that Disney Legends Richard Sherman and Floyd Norman have author credit. Sherman wrote the song and I am happy to see that Norman has illustrator credit for this book. What a great combination. The bonus is that there is a CD with a recording of the song by Ashley Brown. Brown originated the role of the Broadway production of Mary Poppins and she sang this song at Disneyland's 60th Diamond Anniversary event and fireworks show. The song was never released on any platform, Disney album or compilation so I am very happy to get this song on a CD. 

Not only is the title of the book, A Kiss Goodnight, but the actual song has the same name. There is a direct Walt Disney connection to this phrase, "A Kiss Goodnight" that you can read about in one of my earlier post HERE

 Release date: Aug 22, 2017

Release date: Aug 22, 2017

The next book that is on my Disney book list is Ink & Paint: The Women of Walt Disney's Animation by Mindy Johnson. Johnson was one of the contributing writers to Marc Davis: Walt Disney's Renaissance Man. The topic is one of great interest to me. I always hear talk about the INK & PAINT department during the Walt Disney Studios golden years. It will be a great read to learn about women who were a big part of making classic movies like Bambi, Pinocchio, and Sleeping Beauty. The women of Ink & Paint remind me about some "hidden figures" in Disney animated history. 

 Release date: Sept 5, 2017

Release date: Sept 5, 2017

I love most things Disney but have a particular interest in Disney things associated with Disneyland, the Walt Disney Studios and overall Disney heritage or history. So these two books are definitely on my list. Disney books are one of those types of books that I enjoy in hardback copy. They are always filled with great photos and art.

Happy Shopping,



Friday Find: Walt Disney Company Christmas Cards (1990s)

This week, D23 posted some really great holiday cards from their archives. According to THIS POST, the Walt Disney Studio started sending Christmas cards to all their employees beginning in the early 1930s.

I was a Disneyland Cast Member from 1989 - 2001. I found several Christmas cards that were sent to me from the Walt Disney Company from the early 1990s. This first card that I am sharing I am going to guess might have been 1991. That was when the Team Disney Building (Burbank, Ca) was completed and the Disney corporate team moved in. 

 Front of card. c. 1991

Front of card. c. 1991

 Inside of card.

Inside of card.

They used to also include 2 free tickets in each card. I am also going to assume that the number of tickets you received may have been based on you dependent listing. I was a college student so it was just me. I always received 2 tickets. 

This particular complimentary pass had the following artwork on them so I saved this one. If you used them, they would either take them at the gate, stamp them or rip them for validation purposes. There were expiration dates on them so this one is no longer acceptable. Like I said, I really liked the artwork on this one.

These next two cards are full of character. Not sure what the dates were on these but they had to be before 1994. It has Frank Wells (Walt Disney Company CFO) on the card and he passed away in April 1994.

This next card features Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers. It must have been the year when Disney Afternoon was popular.

I am sure that I saved my other ones but not sure where they are. The annual Walt Disney Company Christmas card was always fun to get in the mail.

Wishing you a Very Merry Christmas weekend!


Music Monday: "Steamboat Bill" from Steamboat Willie

Today marks Walt Disney's birth date (Dec 5, 1901). I thought it would be fun to look at the music from Steamboat Willie (1928), which introduces the world to Mickey Mouse and was also the first Disney film to have synchronized sound. In the cartoon, we hear Mickey Mouse whistling a tune and it is called "Steamboat Bill." Written by Ben Shields (lyrics) and the Leighton Bros (music), it was a song popularized before the Steamboat Willie cartoon came out. There are words to the song and it was made popular by singer, Arthur Collins

I think most of us are familiar with the iconic scene where "Steamboat Mickey" is at the helm of his steamship whistling this tune. I think one of the most underrated attractions at Disneyland is the Main Street Cinema on Main Street USA. You can go inside and watch Steamboat Willie and other cartoons that launched Mickey's career and the Walt Disney Studios.

It is fun to think of how these early Disney cartoons were considered a "game changer" in the late 1920s. Thank goodness for MIckey Mouse's success. Did you know that Walt Disney was the Mickey Mouse until 1947? 

Happy Music Monday!

Happy Birthday, Walt!



Music Monday: I'm Wishing/One Song (Snow White)

October 16th is remembered as the start date of the Disney Company. in 1923, it was formally known as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studios and would soon change to the Walt Disney Studio. It would not be until 1937 that the Studio would release its first full length feature animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Snow White).

One of the songs from Snow White is "I'm Wishing." Written by Larry Morey (lyrics) and Frank Churchill (music), it is the song that Snow White sings while she is at the wishing well. Even though it is one of the first songs you hear, according to the definitive Snow White book, The Fairest One of All, this particular song was actually one of the last to be written. The music was also tailored to the vocal strength of Adriana Caselotti, who provided the voice of Snow White.

As Snow White sings her song, it echos in the wishing well. The Prince, who just happens to be riding through the forest, hears Snow White singing. As she finishes the song, The Prince, joins Snow White as he answers her wish. A bit frightened, Snow White runs from The Prince. He doesn't give up and he begins to sing "One Song."

These two songs help to introduce the characters of Snow White and The Prince to each other. It's the beginning of their courtship. Trivia: "One Song" is the only song that is sung solo by a Disney prince. 

If you visit Snow White's Grotto at Disneyland, you can hear "I'm Wishing" playing in the background. According to this Disney Parks Blog post, Adriana Castelotti re-recorded her song for the 1983 New Fantasyland opening.  

Happy Music Monday!


Write this Way - Disney Letterhead

I love all kinds of stationary and that includes really fun letterhead. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, letterhead is defined as follows:

the name and address of an organization (such as a company) that is printed at the top of a piece of paper used for writing official letters; also : paper that has the name and address of an organization printed at the top

I usually go on eBay to see what kind of Disney type of stationary is out there. Over the years that the Walt Disney Company has been around, there has been letterhead for their movie productions, Park divisions, and other Disney events. Whenever there is name change for Disney divisions or logo updates, there is new letterhead. When I worked at Disneyland, I received variety of correspondence that included special letterhead to commemorate milestones like Park anniversaries. 

Here's one example of Disneyland letterhead that was used in the 1990s. Remember that this time period is before the existence of Disney California Adventure. 

 circa 1990s - Classic Disneyland letterhead

circa 1990s - Classic Disneyland letterhead

 Disneyland letterhead designed for 40th Anniversary, 1995

Disneyland letterhead designed for 40th Anniversary, 1995

 Disneyland Resort Letterhead design, 2001

Disneyland Resort Letterhead design, 2001

I recently discovered a retro pack of Disney letterhead compiled by the Walt Disney Archives that I purchased through Amazon. There are two different versions and each has 40 sheets of letterhead (5 each of 8 designs).

It is going to be fun to mail some of these out to my reproductions to my friends who are Disney fans. Getting some pretty snail mail these days is a plus. I posted another idea in this post about an idea of how to turn some of this Disney letterhead into a reusable memo board. 

A couple years ago, I discovered this really great site called, Letters of Note. I liked it for not just some of the awesome post of correspondence from famous people but it really highlights the art to letter writing through decades. You can do a search on this site for "Disney" or "Walt Disney" and there are several blog posts related to specific Disney letters like this one and my one of favorites from Disney Legend Ward Kimball on Walt Disney Productions letterhead. 

Take some time to write a note to a special someone and put it in the mail. 

Have a magical day!



Music Monday: Pretty Irish Girl (Darby O' Gill and the Little People)

I thought it would be fun to find a song related to St. Patrick's Day. I remembered that Disney had produced "Darby O'Gill and The Little People" (1959). One of the most notable things about this movie is that Sean Connery played the role of Michael McBride. This appearance caught the attention of the James Bond movie producers which would eventually lead them to cast Connery as Agent 007.

There is a song in the movie called "Pretty Irish Girl." Written by Lawrence E. Watkin and Oliver Wallace, the song is a short and simple love song sung by a young man yearning for his Irish sweetheart. 

In 1959, there was a UK release of the single featuring Connery and co-star, Janet Munro. However, it has been alleged that this recording has dubbed vocals by Irish singers Brendan O'Dowda and Ruby Murray. Back then, I don't think it was uncommon that an actor's voice was dubbed over with a singing actor's voice. Recent Disney animated movies like Mulan and Aladdin had voice actors and cast additional actors to be the "singing voice" of one character. 

There was a record release of just Connery signing "Pretty Irish Girl" in a compilation entitled The Music of Disney: A Legacy of Song (1992).

Happy Music Monday!


Music Monday: Bella Notte (Lady & the Tramp)

Hope you all had a fun Valentine's filled with sweet things and lovely people. One of the most iconic scenes associated with both classic Disney films and LOVE is this one:

 (c) Disney

(c) Disney

This image is from the 15th film from Walt Disney Animated Series, Lady and the Tramp (1955). The romantic scene is associated with the song "Bella Notte." It is Italian for "beautiful night." Written by Peggy Lee and Sonny Burke, the song is sung by the character of "TONY" in the movie. As Tony (played by George Givot) serenades the couple while they are sharing a plate of spaghetti, Tramp and Lady end up with the sweet moment captured in the image above.  

While the song is know as an Italian love song, it has also been associated as a Christmas song, especially in Europe, because the movie takes place on Christmas Eve. "Belle Notte" is listed as one of Julie Andrew's favorite Disney songs on THIS album. At Walt Disney World, there is a place called Tony's Town Square Restaurant, where you can enjoy Italian food and make your own romantic moments. 

"Belle Notte" remains as one of the classic love songs. 

Happy Music Monday!


My Tour of Walt Disney's Office Suite Part 2 (Working Office)


Welcome to Part 2 of My Tour of Walt Disney's Office Suite.

This post highlights what I was able to see in Walt's Informal Office. This space is considered more of Walt's working office where he would meet with his Imagineers to discuss things in production. The furniture including the drapes are all original.

In the photo above you can see Walt's Irving G. Thalberg Award that he received in 1941. Next to the award is a tiny deer that you might mistake as Bambi. The Disney Archivist giving our tour mentioned that the deer was carved by Walt Disney himself.

You can see this space was more informal with the work table to hold several people. It was designed this height so that plans could be rolled out on top of the table and people could easily carry on a discussion.

All the furniture, papers, and knick knacks are original items. 

One of the most interesting things is the hidden kitchenette that was part of the informal office. The wood panel would slide open to reveal a very modern kitchen of that time period. It was usually stocked with favorite items like Walt's favorite cans of chili.

I did ask about the cans that were in the cupboards as shown in the photo. They are not the original. The Disney Archives went through the effort of the reproduce items that would have been on the shelf during Walt's time. The labels were are also reproduced to be accurate for the time period.

One of the interesting items in this informal office is this map of Disneyland. The small red plaques meant projects that were completed and the yellow ones highlighted of things to come to Disneyland.

This yellow note was interesting as it pointed to 1001 Future Ghosts of the Haunted Mansion. When the Haunted Mansion opened in 1969, all Disneyland press materials spoke of 999 Happy Haunts that resided in the mansion.

One last interesting item in Walt's informal office was this photo of actor Ed Wynn. According to the placard by the photo, not only was he a good friend but sort of a good luck charm for Walt.

We spent maybe a 30 minutes touring the suite. It was really exciting to be in the actual place where Walt Disney worked and created Disney magic. I wanted to try to take everything  in but I was also feeling a little overwhelmed at the history and significance of Walt's office suite. As we left through this hallway, I was trying to look at all the different photos of Walt. We were a little rushed at this point so I didn't have time to look at each framed photo but I could tell that they were various photos of Walt in a working environment.

D23 did a great job to resorting Walt Disney's Office Suite known as "3H". They do hope to offer more tours but it is a premium opportunity. Even just to walk onto the Walt Disney Studio lot was great.

If you missed Part 1  of My Tour of Walt Disney's Office Suite (Formal Office), you can go back HERE to catch up. There is one more post for this series that I am working on. There was one more area located in the location that was part of the suite. I've also have some closing notes about my tour.

Stay Tuned,




My Tour of Walt Disney's Office Suite - Part 1 (Formal Office)

One of the benefits of being a D23 Gold Member is being able to get a chance to attend some of their premium events. So when the chance to be one of the first to get a peek into Walt Disney's office suite came up, I quickly put it on my calendar and diligently waited for the tickets to become available. 

On January 29th, I made a drive up to the Burbank and made way to the Walt Disney Studios. There are usually no public tours or access into this working studio except for special events put on by official company entities like D23. After getting clearance at the gate, I found parking and happily stepped onto the Walt Disney Studios lot. 

 Walt Disney Studios lot - Burbank, CA.

Walt Disney Studios lot - Burbank, CA.

There were a limited number of tickets to about 50 people. There were some people who drove up from San Diego, drove down from Northern California and some even flew in from Chicago, Kansas and Florida. We were all excited to be the first public group to be able to tour Walt Disney's office suite. 

On our way to the the office suites, we passed by this famous sign. It was actually made as a prop or The Reluctant Dragon movie and remains as one of the most popular spots on the lot. 

 Walt Disney Studios - Burbank, CA

Walt Disney Studios - Burbank, CA

As we made our way to the Animation building, we were divided into smaller groups. The office is located on the third floor of this building. 

 Original Animation Building - Walt Disney Studios lot (Burbank, CA)

Original Animation Building - Walt Disney Studios lot (Burbank, CA)

We arrived at the office suite, “3H”, the specific location or suite of Walt’s office. We were shown into a small holding room where we met Walt Disney Archive Director, Becky Cline. She gave us some background about how the restoration of Walt's original office suite came to be. She told us that Walt’s office remained untouched for about year after he died. It was then that Disney Archivist, Dave Smith was brought to inventory and pack up the office. Smith took many photographs and accounted for every item down to how many individual paper clips were on the desk. The detailed inventory would play a vital role to the restoration of Walt’s office.

After the Walt's office was inventoried and packed up in the late 1960s, a variety of companies and people occupied the particular space. Like many working studios, the space was leased out to anyone who needed it and paid the rent. The last tenant was Cherry/Wind Productions. It was the working office of producer Marc Cherry (Devious Maids, Desperate Housewives) up until about a year ago.

 Photo from Jan 2015. Last year, Cherry/Wind Productions occupied this suite. 

Photo from Jan 2015. Last year, Cherry/Wind Productions occupied this suite. 

As we entered the office suite, our small group was asked to put our purses and jackets in a holding room. It is a very controlled environment and can only hold a very small amount of people in the intimate space. One of the first things you notice as you enter the suite is this Olympic Torch. 

The torch was given to Walt Disney as he was chairman of the Pageantry Committee for the Winter Olympics in 1960 (Squaw Valley, Ca). Walt produced both the opening and closing ceremonies. 

Turning the corner you get a glimpse of this tiny reception area. 

 Reception area for Walt Disney Office Suite

Reception area for Walt Disney Office Suite

Everything in the room is original with a couple exceptions. The first is that the desk had been saved. The Disney Archives had the photos so they could reproduce the receptionist desk.

This showcase is original as well as the trophies with the exception of the special Academy Award on the top of the case. The original Oscar statue with 7 smaller ones that was presented to Walt for Snow White. The original award is housed at the Walt Disney Family museum in San Fransisco. Everything else is real and placed exactly where they once occupied the space. 

We watched a short film presentation about the restoration of Walt Disney's office suites. It was neat to see some behind the scenes. The Disney Archives had to build and reconstruct much of the actual space to recreate the original office location. 

 Note the original ashtray stand between the chairs.  

Note the original ashtray stand between the chairs.  

The restoration was a tedious process. Thanks to the detailed photos and inventory efforts of Smith, the Disney Archivists meticulously assembled Walt's offices as it looked in 1966. Finally we entered the Formal Office.

While Walt's office has been on display in various locations through the years, I think to see it in its original location and environment is very special. To know that this is what it looked like when Walt occupied this actual space was a little overwhelming. If the desk could talk.

There were lots of ashtrays everywhere. You noticed it on the desk, the coffee tables and right by all the chairs.

Here is the famous piano that the Sherman Brothers would play their latest creations on. I bet the piano could tell lots of great stories. 

The Disney Archivist informed us that this piano had to be custom designed to fit into the tight space as well as fit into the office decor. The books on the shelves were meticulously placed back in their correct order as detailed by Smith's catalogue and photos. Nothing on the shelves behind the piano are out of place and they are all original items. 

This sofa in the following photo is a reproduction. The original went missing a long time ago. When the office was on display at Disneyland for many years, the area where the couch is would have been the place where the glass wall would have been. Where the sofa is placed would have been the where ropes or a barrier would be in place. Disney Archives had to rebuild the wall and reproduce the sofa to re-create this space.

Here are some other photos of things that made up Walt's formal office.

There was this framed photo of Walt in the lobby area where he is holding this animation device called a praxinoscope.

One of my favorite things I saw was this framed Walt Disney image. It is actually the original art work that graced the Times cover in 1954

Stay tuned for Part 2 in the next couple of days. I'll be sharing my tour of Walt's Informal Office. 

Wishing you all things Disney!


Coming Soon: My Tour of Suite 3H (aka Walt Disney's Office)

Last Friday, I was able to attend a D23 Gold Member event. It was a premium and limited to about 50 people. We were the first public group to get access into this historic location on the Walt Disney Studio property. You can go HERE for a D23 recap

 Doors that lead into Walt Disney's Office Suite at Walt Disney Studios. 

Doors that lead into Walt Disney's Office Suite at Walt Disney Studios. 

I'll have more photos and details in the next couple days. 

 Walt Disney's desk

Walt Disney's desk



Happy 92, Walt Disney Studios!


Today marks the 92nd anniversary of the Walt Disney Studios. My family and I were lucky enough to have toured the Studios back in January. You can view photos and more info here:

My Visit, Part 1

Part 2 - Studio Lot

Part 3 - The Rotunda

Part 4 - Legends Plaza

It's still a working studio that continues to create content for television and film. If you've been watching the new Muppets television show, it's show at the Studios and you can get glimpses of the lot in some of the exterior scenes. 

Check out the video that was released today: 92 years in 92 Seconds. So many Disney movie scenes that are have been part of many moments in our lives. 

Happy 92nd Anniversary, Walt Disney Studios!


Music Mondays: Strong (theme from Cinderella - Live Action)

My oldest kid fell in love with the new Live Action Cinderella movie that was released this year. She loves the costumes, the way it was shot, the actors, and the music. One of her favorite songs from this movie is "Strong" which was written by Patrick Doyle, Kenneth Branagh and Tommy Danvers. It is performed by London-based singer song-writer, Sonna Rele

It's a very pretty song and serves as an anthem to the message of Cinderella. You do need strength to BE KIND. Here are the lyrics for the chorus. 

Trust in your heart and your sun shines forever and ever
Hold fast to kindness, your light shines forever and ever
I believe in you and me
We are strong

If you want to see Sonna's music video for this song you can view HERE. 

Channel this song and mantra to get you through this new week. 

Happy Music Monday!


4 Things I Learned From the D23 Expo

I was lucky enough to get the time and energy to attend the D23 Expo 2015. I went all 3 days and here are 4 things that I learned.

 D23 Expo was held at the Anaheim Convention Center

D23 Expo was held at the Anaheim Convention Center

1. Disney is much more than Mickey Mouse

In the last 25 years, The Walt Disney Company has grown by leaps and bounds. With notable acquisitions like Pixar, Marvel and LucasFilms, the Disney family tree has many branches. Divisions like Disney Consumer Products and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts have grown side by side so their elaborate booths and presence on the show floor reflected that. In addition to Consumer Products and Parks and Resorts, here were the other parts of the Walt Disney Company that were featured at the D23 Expo:

Walt Disney Archives

The Walt Disney Disney Studio (Pixar & LucasFilms fall under this division)

Disney Movies Anywhere

Disney Citizenship

Disney | ABC Television Group


Disney Music Emporium

Disney Desk

Disney Interactive

Maker Studios

Disney Visa Card

The Walt Disney Company will continue to grow and evolve in order to position themselves as the leader in worldwide entertainment. They are not just about Mickey Mouse and the theme parks. They can really leverage all the members in their family tree in order to create magical experiences in film, television, music, consumer products, theme parks and resorts.

2. You Get to Hang Out with Fellow Disney Fans

Whether you are a fan of the theme parks, movies, or art, there were lovers of Disney from all over the world. I met people from Australia, Germany, Costa Mesa, Texas, and everything in between. Lots of fans planned their vacation around this event that included lots of Disneyland on the side. Everyone was wearing some kind of Disney apparel, costume or were Disney Bounding. We all had something in common, a love for Disney. 

 Me and some dedicated Disney fans.

Me and some dedicated Disney fans.


3. You Get to Meet the People Who Make the Magic

D23 Expo was a place where you could meet the people behind the scenes who make the Disney magic happen. From Disney Legends, actors, and current animators, there were many opportunities to meet some of these people. I have to confess I had some fan girl moments. It was fun to briefly meet some of my favorite Disney Imagineers responsible for creating landmark theme park attractions. 

4. You Get to Hear About How They Make the Disney Magic

There were a variety of panels where you could hear a variety of people talk about their crafts and experiences. It was tough to make some choices but the opportunity to hear some behind the scene stories from first person point of view is so interesting. There were presentations and panels of all sorts of sizes and content. There was a new Walt Disney Archives stage that was a smaller venue with speakers who presented historical and intimate "peeks behind the magic." 

 Pixar presentation at Walt Disney Studio area. 

Pixar presentation at Walt Disney Studio area. 

Whew! It was an exhausting but mot fun D23 Expo yet. D23 began in 2009 as a Disney fan club. The D23 Expo (conventions) are held every other year. I remember going to the first one and you could see everything in a couple hours, there were not many presentations yet, and the Disney family tree was still small. Each D23 Expo 2015 exploded with so many offerings. I'll be back for the D23 Expo in 2017.

Sending lots of pixie dust!


If you looking to see some great video and photo recaps of the D23 Expo 2015, check out Inside the Magic and Disney Examiner.

Disney Date Nite: Bob Gurr Roast Party

 MacSparky & Me.

MacSparky & Me.

As our kids have gotten older and with MacSparky's new job, we now have more time to do some fun Disney Date Nites. A couple Saturdays ago, MacSparky and I choose to attend a fun event,  Roast Bob Gurr, hosted by Ape Pen Publishing. Bob had requested that attendees come in their 1950s best attire. So it was fun to get dressed up, meet up with fellow Disney friend, and enjoy a entertaining evening.

I found out about the event through one of my many Disney related Disney feeds. In the last year, I've become more interested in getting to know who are Disney Legends , specifically those that had significant contributions to creating Disneyland. It's been a fascinating adventure. So, anytime I can find an opportunity to meet, hear, and learn about some Disney Legends, especially people who really helped create Disneyland from ground up and received direction from Walt Disney himself, I try to attend. 

Bob Gurr was a Walt Disney Imagineer (WDI) whose most important contributions are in the vehicles you ride at Disneyland. There is a saying that "If it has wheels, Bob Gurr, probably build it." He is credited for designing the Monorail, Main Street Vehicles, the Autopia, Haunted Mansion and Matterhorn ride systems. When he left WDI, he went on to create the King Kong Encounter for Universal Studios Hollywood (CA). 

The following are the panel of friends who were up to roasting Bob:

 photo credit: Jeffery Epstein

photo credit: Jeffery Epstein

Jeff Heimbuch, co-host of Communicore Weekly

Garner Holt, founder of Garner Holt Productions

Marty Sklar, longtime executive at Walt Disney Imagineering and Disney Legend

Michael Broggie, historian and author of Walt Disney's Railroad Story

Eric Johnston, Emmy-winning audio mixer and Bob's nephew

Christopher Crump, Senior Imagineer at WDI and son of Disney Legend, Rolly Crump

Marty Sklar, who began his Disney career in publicity and marketing, was pretty clever. He gathered and shared some memorable email correspondence between him and Bob over the years. They were pretty funny. Jeff Heimbuch probably had the most traditional type of roast presentation and he did a great job during his time at the mic. Jeff uploaded his segment on YouTube. Michael Broggie shared some footage of him being the first to test drive the Autopia car Bob designed. Apparently Michael would drive it around the Walt Disney Studio lot and try to impress the Mickey Mouse Club cast members, especially the girls. 

The artist, Stan Dufek, who created the art on our tickets also had a moment to roast Bob. Stan also designed this fun one of a kind automation of Bob Gurr. It's a fun mash-up that pays tribute to Bob, his work on King Kong and Monorail design. You can go HERE for more details and a chance to purchase a raffle ticket to win this figure and other Bob Gurr signed items. 

Stan uploaded a video of Bob checking out his automated figure. It's fun to listen 

There were lots of references to Bob's body of work, how he influenced each of the panel members, and what he means to each of them. Bob also interjected comments and wove some of his own stories during and in between each presenter's time. Bob did talk about what it was like to work directly with Walt Disney. He shared some really personal moments and stories about creating, building, and bringing attractions like Autopia and the Monorail to Disneyland. There was never anytime to test attractions much less train Cast Members. Often, Bob was the first "Cast Member" to operate the new vehicles and he would train the next person. 

John Eaden, known for his performance at Disneyland's Golden Horseshoe, served as emcee for the evening. John was entertaining and kept the evening moving. Throughout the evening, you could hear the love, admiration and long friendship that the roast panel had for Bob. It made for a memorable evening of laughs. Let's just say that Bob's glass was never empty. His drink of choice is known as a "Gurrtini" (Blue Sapphire gin served in a martini glass.) 

By the end of the evening, I was lucky enough to win a door prize. So excited that it  was a signed print of the Monorail. Little known fact about me, I was at one time officially trained as a Monorail Driver (2001). All Attractions managers had to be trained and signed off on the rides that they were in were in their business unit. So this art work means a lot of special things to me.

Next time you are at Disneyland, check out Bob Gurr's window. The windows are always so clever in paying tribute to a special Disney Legend. 

Hope some pixie dust finds it way to you  today!


My Mini Tour of Walt Disney's Hollywood

I've been reading my way through Walt Disney: An American Original by Bob Thomas. It's THE biography to read if you want to learn about Walt Disney and the beginnings of the Walt Disney Company. This book chronicles Walt's early struggles, the many failures, and achievements that would end up growing the Disney Company. 

You have to understand that famous biographer, Bob Thomas, was given access to the Disney family for interviews and other materials. Thomas had also known Disney personally and had written previous materials. You also read about a lot of people who were important to Walt and the Company whose names would later grace some of the windows on Main Street USA. It's not sugar coated and you get an appreciation of the challenges that Walt faced that influenced his success as a film maker and entrepreneur. It was first printed in 1976 and is still around. It's really a great read.

The first couple of chapters features Walt's childhood in Missouri, his years in the Red Cross and his move to Los Angeles in 1923. During his early days as a carton maker in this area, you not only get the sense of how determined Walt was to get his work out there, but how much of an innovator he was as a film maker and story teller. Through the book and other information on the web, my friend I went on an adventure to see some of the landmarks that make up Walt Disney's Hollywood. These are places where Walt Disney worked and lived. 

Our first stop was the 4649 Kingswell Ave. This was the first location "Disney Bros Studio." This is where the Alice Comedies were created. This is where Walt would hire his future wife, Lilian Bounds, as an Ink and Paint girl.

It's currently a small business providing mail/copy services. We went inside the tiny location. The proprietor was kind enough to let us take these photos of things on the wall that let people know of the historical significance of this location. She told us that one of her customers had painted the mural. 

Next stop, we passed by a home on the same street (Kingswell) that is known as "Uncle Robert's home". This is where Walt rented a room from his uncle when he first got to Los Angeles.  I could see how easy a walk it was from the Disney Bros Studio to this house. Sorry I forgot to get a photo but you can see one HERE

Then we drove a short distance to Lyric Ave. This is where Walt and Roy bought two matching homes in the Los Feliz hills. The houses sit on a corner. Rumor is that that current owners are aware of their famous homes but are not warm to Disney fans. Luckily, it was a quite time when we arrived and I quickly took these photos. 

Just up the street from these houses is John Marshall High School. It doesn't have anything to do with Walt Disney's Hollywood but it is notable. It's been used in movies like School of Rock, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Pretty in Pink. Some of its famous students are Leonardo DiCaprio and

We tried to drive through the winding hills in search of 4053 Working Way, the Los Feliz home where Walt and Lilian would raise their family. They would live here from 1932-1949 before moving to the Carolwood home. We ran out of time to find it and navigating through the narrow roads was a little tough. Next time.

We made one more stop on our way to our dinner engagement. This was the original site of the Animation Studio in the Silver Lake District. There is now a Gleson's market where the Hyperion location stood.  Inside the market, they have this one photo to make note of the Disney property that was once there. In addition, there is a sign on the light post in the parking lot that designates the location as a Point of Historical Interest. 

One of the things I learned from my personal mini tour of Walt Disney's Hollywood land is that they simply named the locations based on the streets they were located. It was as simple as that. I also can see how much the areas have evolved since the 1923, when Walt Disney first came to the Los Angeles area. I can now appreciate all the details that went into creating Buena Vista Street over at Disney California Adventure.

Off to read more chapters in my book. Have a great Friday!