Disney Date Nite: Bob Gurr Roast Party
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:
Marty Sklar, longtime executive at Walt Disney Imagineering and Disney Legend
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.