Disneyland Map (photo reproduction) - Peter Ellenshaw
I confess that I had to ask one of my Disney friends to assist me in remembering exactly what this was and whose signature it was. You see, during my time as a Disneyland Cast Member (1989-2001), there were lots of different opportunities and events to be able to purchase some really great Disneyana things. I have a small collection of specific Disneyland collectibles but I haven't really been able to appreciate most of them until about the last year. It's pretty recent that I have actually delved into Disneyland heritage and began to really learn about the individuals that had so much influence in drawing, creating and building Disneyland.
So pulling this particular piece out of my Disneyana stash and being able to identify it was a big deal for me. Learning the significance of this particular map and the artist behind has helped me appreciate it more, too.
I learned that this map design was the one that Walt Disney had asked Ellenshaw to paint so he (Disney) could use for his television show to introduce Disneyland to the audience.
A couple years ago at the D23 event, they had the color version of this map. "It is very unique because of the special glow-in-the-dark oil paint Ellenshaw used. The painting was done on animation storyboard, as opposed to canvas or wood. The glow-in-the-dark map shows the park at night when its viewed under black lights. " It was really cool to see the original and lit up under the black light.
I learned that Ellenshaw was a matte artist who was won an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects for his work on Mary Poppins. He was also known for his work in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and The Black Hole. Ellenshaw was a very accomplished artist. He was inducted as a Disney Legend in 1993.
If you want to learn more about Ellenshaw, here is a POST that had a good interview with him. There is also a beautiful book that is still in print: Ellenshaw Under Glass - Going to the Matte for Disney.
My sister hosted Easter Sunday last week. I was able to spend time with my brother-in-law's aunt. She happened to be Peter Ellenshaw's former daughter-in-law. She was married to Harrison Ellenshaw who is an artist, too, known for his work on Tron, Star Wars, and Dick Tracy. I've heard my brother-in-law always mention his uncle who worked on Tron but never really asked more questions.
Anyways, during our conversation, she told me a handful of her sweet memories of Peter Ellenshaw and some Disney stories, too. Her husband, Harrison, was there at Disneyland's Opening Day. She was able to authenticate my photo reproduction of the Disneyland map and signature, too. Over the years, I have casually run into her at family events. I have to admit I had a minor fan girl moment this Easter when I figured out who she was related to.
I guess it's time for me to get my signed Disneyland map framed. I better go through the rest of my Disneyana box and see what else I might have in there. It's an opportunity to discover and enjoy the journey to learn more about Disneyland's history.