Windows of the World – Part II by Chuck Mirarchi

Continuing our detailed coverage of the names behind the windows on down Main Street U.S.A. from Part I, we’re still heading down the western side of the street, about half-way up towards the castle. Right after Cecil Robinson’s name is:

JACK LINDQUIST

Jack Lindquist’s window reads Peterson Travel Agency / Reservations by Cable Anywhere in the World / Passages Boarded By Sea & Rail / “Exclusive Representatives for the Titanic” / Jack Lindquist, Purser

Lindquist started as the advertising manager at Disneyland in 1955, was named Vice President of Marketing for both Disneyland and Walt Disney World in 1971, and became President of Disneyland in October 1990. He retired in 1993, and was named a Disney Legend the following year.

As a former child actor who appeared as an extra in the “Our Gang” series and danced in the Lucille Ball film, “Best Foot Forward,” in 1955 Jack Lindquist was hired by Walt Disney as Disneyland’s first advertising manager. He was originally working in an LA-based advertising firm for corporate client at Disneyland. One day Jack had a meeting at the Park and fell in love with the place. He was working there the very next month. Jack was eventually involved in nearly every aspect of Disneyland including marketing the original “E tickets.”

In 1955, while working for a Los Angeles advertising firm as a consultant to one of the original Disneyland corporate participants, Jack had a meeting at the Park prior to its opening and “fell in love with the place.” One month later, he was working there.

He continued to move through the Disney ranks and later he set the course for marketing Walt Disney World, and in 1972, was named vice president of marketing for Disneyland and Walt Disney World. In 1976, he was named vice president of marketing for Walt Disney Attractions, and in 1982, was promoted to executive vice president of marketing and entertainment for all of the Company’s outdoor recreation activities.

Jack went on to set up the Marketing Division for Tokyo Disneyland, and a executive vice president of creative marketing concepts for Walt Disney Attractions he developed promotional and entertainment ideas for Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris. During his 38 years with the company, Jack was responsible for a number of classic Disney projects including, Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom Club, Disney Dollars, the Disneyland Pigskin Classic, the Ambassador Program and Grad Nites. He was also one of the big supporters for Disney’s California Adventure.

After Jack’s window comes a window honoring Dave Gengenbach, Bob Gurr, George McGinnis, and Bill Watkins. Their window reads: The Big Wheel Co. / “One-of-a-Kind” / Unicycles – Horseless Carriages / Dave Gengenbach, Bob Gurr, George McGinnis, Bill Watkins.

DAVE GENGENBACH

Dave Gengenbach started working for The Disney Company in 1966 as a project manager and project engineer and worked his way up to vice president of WED Enterprises. He oversaw the design of some of Walt Disney World’s most popular rides including the Pirates of the Caribbean boat conveyance system, the design and installation of Space Mountain, and worked on the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction. His handiwork was also seen in the designs of the Mark III and Mark IV monorail systems. In addition to his Main Street window, Dave is also honored with a tombstone outside the Haunted Mansion.

BOB GURR

Bob Gurr has some impressive numbers – for nearly 40 years he has been on and off at The Walt Disney Company and has developed more than 100 vehicle and ride conveyance designs for various attractions including the Autopia, the Matterhorn Bobsleds, Disneyland and Walt Disney World’s monorails, and many others. He has said on more than one occasion, “If it moves on wheels at Disneyland, I probably designed it.” He eventually gave him the title of Director of Special Vehicle Development.

Although only after working for two weeks at the Ford Motor Company that this was a dead end job, Bob stayed there for eight months before joining George Walker Industrial Design. After moving back to Southern California and starting his own company, one of Bob’s first big jobs was to consult with the Walt Disney Studios on the design of mini cars for a project called Autopia. Walt was so impressed with Bob’s work that he hired him full time. Other vehicles that Bob had created were the infamous Flying Saucers, as well as the mechanical workings for the original Abraham Lincoln “Audio-Animatronics” figure for the 1964-1965 New York World`s Fair, and Ford Motor Company`s Magic Skyway Ride.

He retired from The Walt Disney Company in 1981 and in 2004 was inducted as a Disney Legend. In 1981, Bob launched GurrDesign, Inc., specializing in leisure time spectaculars

GEORGE MCGINNIS

George McGinnis, who is an industrial designer, got Walt Disney’s attention with his senior project at Art Center College of Design, a working model of a futuristic high-speed train. Walt then showed George his “WEDway PeopleMover” system – still in development. After an introduction to Dick Irvine, President of Imagineering, George became an Imagineer. That was in 1966. In 1967, George’s first assignment was to design miniature transportation models for the Progress City display. He went on to design numerous design components for some of the most popular attractions including: the concept design for Space Mountain at Disneyland, prepared the conceptual layout for Space Mountain at Walt Disney World including show spaces, queue and lifts, provided detailed show elements of House of the Future for RCA, adapted the film version of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea submarine for the attraction at Walt Disney World, as well as developed a new Peoplemover design for Walt Disney World, and designed the parking lot shuttle vehicles for Florida.

When Epcot was in it’s planning stages, George interviewed, hired and trained team of new designers to handle numerous design projects throughout EPCOT Center, as it was known then. He developed the earliest concepts for the Horizons Pavilion including the multiple screen Omnimax theater layout and ride vehicle concept, providing multiple choice ending for the show, directed concepts for the show elements of Universe of Energy Pavilion, Spaceship Earth and World of Motion, and provided hands-on interactive experience in EPCOT Communicore using a voice-activated robot for the Astuter Computer Review preshow.

George also designed the new, larger Mark VI monorails for Walt Disney World thereby giving them a more luxurious look to the interior. His work can also been seen at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. George designed the vehicle concepts for the Kilimanjaro Safari Vehicles, the Wildlife Express “Steam” Train, the Dinosaur Ride Vehicle, formerly Countdown to Extinction, and the Kali River Rapids Rafts. And not to be left out, he designed the tram vehicles for the Disney-MGM Studios Backlot Tour. George retired from Imagineering in 1995.

BILL WATKINS

After graduating from the Ohio State University in 1953 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, Bill Watkins set out west to California. After working at the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation and gaining additional design and field experience at The Marquardt Corp. and Honeywell, he joined WED Enterprises as a project engineer. It’s fair to say that Bill can be considered one of the forefathers of the modern rollercoaster. During the next few years his contributions to both Disneyland and Walt Disney World included the Peoplemovers in both parks, the Peter Pan vehicles, the monorails, 20,000 Leagues submarines, as well as the ride design for Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain.

Next in line is Earl Vilmer’s window. Earl’s window reads: Yucatan Engine Works / “Highest Grade Steam Power” / Boiler & Engine Specialists / Earl Vilmer, Consultant

EARL VILMER

In May of 1969, Earl, who was the Transportation Superintendent, along with Roger Broggie went to Yucatan, Mexico to purchase four locomotive steam engines from United Railways for Walt Disney World. Originally the Mexican government opposed the idea of Disney buying its ‘railroad technology’ because of a law on the books forbidding the export of the equipment. However, the engines were
originally built in Pennsylvania and later imported to Mexico therefore the law did not apply to these engines. Eventually The Walt Disney Company was giving permission to purchase the locomotives. Bringing them back to Tampa, Earl was also responsible for restoring these trains. Currently they circle the Magic Kingdom.

Moving down the street is Card Walker’s window. His window says, Dr. Card Walker / Licensed Practitioner of Psychiatry / And Justice of the Peace / “We Never Close” Except for Golf

E. CARDON ‘CARD’ WALKER

In 1938, Card Walker started working for The Walt Disney Company in the mailroom and rose to become the first chief executive who wasn’t a member of the Disney family. Card has had numerous contributions to The Walt Disney Company including overseeing the development of Walt Disney World (including purchasing the land), EPCOT Center, Tokyo Disneyland, and The Disney Channel.

In 1956, Walt Disney named him vice president of advertising and sales, promoting and then four years later, he was appointed to the Company’s Board of Directors. In 1965, Card was appointed vice president of marketing, then executive vice president of operations (in 1967), and executive vice president and chief operating officer (in 1968). After serving as company president , in 1976 he assumed the additional responsibility of chief executive officer. In 1980, he was then appointed chairman of the board. In 1999 he retired from the board of directors and was designated an emeritus member of the board.

Card’s window doesn’t highlight any of his professional accomplishments for the company. The psychiatry and justice of the peace references refer to the many times Card had to act as intermediary between Walt and Roy. On the rare occasions when Walt and Roy argued or disagreed it was Card who would be the go-between. And according to Windows on Main Street, “… refers to a CEO’s need to have psychiatric powers to keep his organization’s diverse talents moving in the same direction, ensuring that ‘justice’ is done and ‘peace’ is maintained.” The golfing reference obviously addresses Card’s love of the game.

About three-quarters down the street, next to Card’s window, is Ted Crowell and Arnold Lindberg’s window. Their window says, Main Str. Water Works / “Let Us Solve Your Plumbing Problems” / Control Systems – Maintenance / Ted Crowell , Chief Engineer / Arnold Lindberg, Foreign Rep.

TED CROWELL

Ted Crowell was one of the original twenty-five team members sent to Florida by Walt Disney to secretly research the area (others were there to buy up the land). He started his career with Disney in 1958 as an engineer, became director of maintenance at Disneyland in 1966, sent to Florida in 1970 and became director of maintenance of both parks, and then later became VP of facilities in Florida.

Crowell was the only Disney person to hold a board position with the International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions (IAAPA). He worked his way through the chairs to become the group’s president in 1995. A college professor called and told Crowell about an engineering job with Disneyland. He got the job and his first tasks were to study ride capacities, the problems of queuing, and to help forecast attendance.

Some of Crowell’s innovations to the Disney parks include the design for switch-backs and he came up with the E-ticket idea. As part of the team sent to Florida, one of Crowell’s jobs was to count cars and keep an eye on – the only other major attraction in Florida at that time – Busch Gardens in Tampa. Crowell had many stories, but the one he loved telling the most was one day in 1965 he was confronted by a Busch Gardens’ guard as he was walking around the parking lot checking out the license plates to survey where the visitors were coming from.

“I was approached by a security guard, and as he stood there with his hand on his gun,” said Crowell. “He asked me what I was doing. Of course I couldn’t say anything, so I just walked to my rental car, got in and drove away, leaving him standing there scratching his head, not knowing whether to shoot or yell. I’m glad I escaped, because if I would have been taken to the security office, I’m sure my true identity and where I worked would have come out.”

ARNOLD LINDBERG

First thing to know is that Arnold’s window as Foreign Rep after his name. That’s a subtitle reference to the fact that he was born in Jönköping, Småland, Sweden. With a degree in engineering from Sweden, Arnold emigrated to the US in 1961. He eventually met Walt and was employed as a mechanic for the construction of Disneyland. When Disney World was built, Arnold became technical head of all workshops. He also contributed to Disney’s Paris and Tokyo Parks. He retired after more than 40 years with the Disney Company.

The next honorary window is actually three windows – the two side windows honor 2 gentleman each and the center is their description. It says, Big Top Theatrical Productions / “Famous Since ‘55” / Shows For World’s Fairs and International Expositions / Claude Coats / Marc Davis / John de Cuir / Bill Justice

CLAUDE COATS

Claude, a background painter, color stylist and concept designer (who stood 6-feet, 6 1/8-inches tall) was always ribbed by Walt in regards to his height. Claude said, “When the Disneyland Stagecoach was completed at the Studio, Walt and a driver were giving rides around the lot, but he wouldn’t let me get in. He said I spoiled the scale.”

Graduating from the University of Southern California, in 1934, with an architecture and fine arts degree, Claude studied at the Chouinard Art Institute. Then in 1935, he joined The Walt Disney Studios as a background painter.

Claude had contributed stunning background paintings for a number of, now, Walt Disney classic films including “Pinocchio,” “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” “Fantasia,” “Dumbo,” “Saludos Amigos,” “Song of the South,” “Cinderella,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “Peter Pan,” “Lady and the Tramp,” and others.

In 1955, Claude was one of the artists / designers Walt selected to help bring Disneyland to life – and sub sequentially Walt Disney World. As a show designer, he was part of the development team for many attractions including Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Snow White’s Scary Adventures, and Submarine Voyage, as well as contributing to the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair attractions, including Magic Skyway, Carousel of Progress and It’s a Small World.

For Walt Disney World, he helped conceptualize the Magic Kingdom’s Mickey Mouse Revue and numerous attractions for EPCOT Center, including World of Motion, Horizons, and several World Showcase pavilions. For Tokyo Disneyland, he helped design Meet the World and the Cinderella Castle Mystery Tour.

He is also memorialized with a humorous tombstone at the Haunted Mansion. It says, “At Peaceful Rest Lies Brother Claude – planted here beneath this sod.”

MARC DAVIS

One of Walt’s Nine Old Men, Marc Davis was a creative genius, animator, artist, and Imagineer. He was also one of the principle people that allowed Walt Disney realize his dreams. About his years at Disney, Marc said, “I rarely felt confined to the animation medium. I worked as an idea man and loved creating characters, whether they be for animation or any other medium.”

Marc is known as the “father” of some of Disney’s most memorable animated women, including Cruella De Vil, Maleficent, and Tinker Bell. When asked to choose a favorite among his bevy of grand Disney dames, he replied, “Each of my women characters has her own unique style; I love them all in different ways.”

Originally born California, Marc and his family moved quite often. After high school, he enrolled in the Kansas City Art Institute and eventually ended up studying at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles. Because he often spent hours at the zoo drawing animals, Davis’ story drawings for “Bambi” are considered some of the finest studies of animal characters ever created at Disney Studios.

Joining Disney as an apprentice animator on “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” he moved on to story sketch and character design on “Bambi” and a number of other films. He then went on to animate Disney classic features such as “Song of the South,” “Cinderella” and “Alice in Wonderland.”

He eventually became an Imagineer. He said that there was very little, if any, humor in any of Disneyland’s attractions. When the Jungle Cruise attraction was being redone, Marc numerous contributions including the bathing elephants, laughing hyenas, and the trapped explorers. He said, “I think that the trapped safari was the first laugh that Disneyland had at an attraction.” He also contributed to the Enchanted Tiki Room, It’s a Small World, Pirates of the Caribbean, and the Haunted Mansion.

“About two weeks before Walt died, he came into my office and sat down and he wanted to talk,” said Marc. “He saw these drawings on the wall and he laughed like hell. He looked very bad. When he walked down the hall and said goodbye. I never saw him after that. He never said goodbye to anybody in his life. See you next week or something. Probably the last laugh he had was these bear drawings.” Those drawings became the foundation for the Country Bear Jamboree.

After 43 years with the Studio, Marc retired in 1978, but continued to lend his expertise to the development of EPCOT and Tokyo Disneyland. Incidentally, his wife, Alice, designed costumes for Audio-Animatronics characters featured in Pirates of the Caribbean and It’s a Small World.

Another tribute to Marc is a tombstone in the Haunted Mansion graveyard. His reads, “In memory of our patriarch, dear departed grandpa Marc.”

JOHN DE CUIR JR.

John De Cuir, Jr., has worked extensively throughout the themed attraction and exhibition industries. His work for The Disney Company includes working as a designer-illustrator on a number of attractions including The Hall of Presidents, Space Mountain, Mission to Mars, as well as the Contemporary Resort and Polynesian Resort Hotels. He left Disney for a short time, but in 1974, he was asked to return and he took up the master planning work on EPCOT Center including World Showcase and Spaceship Earth. He continued to work in the film industry, but did assist Disney in their film attraction needs including the Muppet Movie and the Energy Pavilion.

BILL JUSTICE

Bill Justice was an animator and Imagineer for The Walt Disney Company. He originally studied to be a portrait artist. After graduation, he left Indiana, moved to California, and in 1937 got a job as an animator at the Disney Studios. Bill worked on such features as Fantasia, The Three Caballeros, Alice in Wonderland, and Peter Pan. He is probably best known as the animator of the Thumper from Bambi and the chipmunks Chip ‘n Dale. In total, Bill worked on 57 shorts and 19 features.

In 1965, he joined Walt Disney Imagineering, where he programmed figures for several Disney attractions such as Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion, and Country Bear Jamboree.

One special character Bill animated was Mickey Mouse. He was asked, “Do you ever got bored drawing Mickey Mouse?” He replied, “Have you seen me draw Mickey upside down?” In addition to Xavier (“X”) Atencio and T. Hee, Bill did the stop-motion animation technique in a number of live-action Disney features including “The Parent Trap” and “Mary Poppins.”

Among his other talents was designing parades. In 1959, he designed the floats and costumes for one of the first Disneyland Christmas Parades, as well as sketches for the Main Street Electrical Parade. Retired from The Disney Company in 1979, Bill went on to write a book about his years with Disney called, “Justice for Disney.”

Coming up towards the end of northwest corner of Main Street is Jim Armstrong’s window.

His window reads: Chinese Restaurant / Fine Food – Imported Tea / Jim Armstrong, Vegetable Buyer

JIM ARMSTRONG

Jim was an executive chef at a number of Florida restaurants before becoming the vice president of resorts and food administration at Walt Disney World. He was also involved for the planning of the menus for Epcot Center.

Above Casey’s Corner restaurant, still on the northwest corner of Main Street, is John Curry, Howard Roland, and Stan Garves’ windows. The triple window says, Merchants Hotel / First Class Particulars / Steam Heat Throughout / Howard Roland, Furnishings / John Curry, owner representative / Stan Garnes, engineering

JOHN CURRY

John had the distinction of being the first hotel employee hired by Walt Disney in August of 1966.
He helped conceive, construct, and operate the Contemporary and Polynesian resorts. He researched hotels across the country, worked with U.S. Steel Corp. on the construction, and hired the first executive hotel staffs.

He was born into the hospitality industry. Growing up Yosemite National Park at Camp Baldy, which was one of a number of park properties his parents operated, he was forced to help with the family business after his father died at an early age.

Disney met Curry in the 1960s at Yosemite, where Disney was scouting opportunities to build a Mineral King hotel and ski park. Curry and his team laid groundwork for five Orlando hotels, including three that were never built: the Asian, the Venetian and the Persian.

HOWARD ROLAND

Originally working for US Steel (the company hired to build the Contemporary and Polynesian Village Resorts) Howard Roland quickly left to join Disney. He was the Vice President of Construction Contract Administration and Purchasing.

STAN GARNES

An Imagineer with The Walt Disney Company

Next is the window for Tony Baxter, Dave Burkhart, Ed Johnson, and Gary Younger. Their window says: The Camelot Corp. / Road Show Installations / Tony Baxter / Dave Burkhart / Ed Johnson / Gary Younger

TONY BAXTER

At 17, Tony Baxter started his career scooping ice cream, then selling popcorn and eventually worked as a ride operator. Today, Baxter is currently the Senior Vice President, Creative Development, Walt Disney Imagineering, and is responsible for overall creative direction for the Disneyland Resort.

He originally studied landscaping architecture at Cal Poly and developed an idea for a Mary Poppins-themed attraction as a course project. A friend at Disneyland showed his course project to Imagineering. That led to a tour of Imagineering where Tony said it was a “reality check” for him. He they registered at Long Beach State to study theater design.

After graduating college, he applied at Walt Disney Imagineering (then known as WED) with a portfolio, which included an attraction he developed based on the film, The Island at the Top of the World. Even though the film was not a hit, his portfolio got him the job.

Baxter began his professional Disney career in 1965 while completing his education at California State University, Long Beach. , graduating in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in theater design. As part of his student portfolio, he presented a precisely engineered model of a “Marble Maze” to executives at Walt Disney Imagineering, and was hired in 1970 as a dimensional designer. He was sent to Florida to work on the Walt Disney World Resort, which opened in 1971.

He was assigned to take the lead on projects for both Walt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland and as his first assignment work on Frontierland. Exciting and interesting when Disneyland opened in 1995, in the 1970’s it was becoming stale, uninteresting, and a pass-through for visitors.

Claude Coats, who worked on and helped design many attractions, took Tony under his wing and helped him develop Tony’s first popular attraction – Big Thunder Mountain. It became a instant hit with guests. Since then, Tony has designed numerous attractions including: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (Opened in 1979 at Disneyland), Re-design of Disneyland’s Fantasyland (Opened in 1983), the original Journey Into Imagination pavilion (Opened in 1983), Star Tours (Opened in 1986 at Disneyland), The Disney Gallery (Opened in 1987), Splash Mountain (Opened in 1989 at Disneyland), Disneyland Paris (Opened in 1992), Indiana Jones Adventure (Opened in 1995 at Disneyland), Re-design of Disneyland’s Tomorrowland (Opened in 1998), Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage (Opened in 2007), Re-design of Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty’s Castle Walkthrough (Opened in 2008), The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Adventure (Opening in 2010), and Radiator Springs Racers (Opening in 2012).

Never-built projects that Tony personally supervised include a re-design for Disneyland’s Tomorrowland called Tomorrowland 2055 and a new land for Disneyland called Discovery Bay. (However, this was a source of inspiration for Discoveryland in Disneyland Paris—that park’s version of Tomorrowland.)

DAVE BURKHART

Dave Burkhart began his career with Disney in 1967 serving as an artist model maker, building architecture and show models, including some full scale sets and props. He subsequently became a show designer and field art producer, working on attractions such as the Haunted Mansion, Swiss Family Treehouse and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. he is also immortalized on a HM tombstone

Graduating from the California Institute of the Arts, in 1967 Dave began his career at Walt Disney Imagineering as an artist–modelmaker, and eventually became a Show Designer and Field Art Director. He was responsible for show, ride, and facility concepts through show installation at Disneyland and Walt Disney World, for such attractions as the Haunted Mansion, Swiss Family Tree House, and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. He then held the titles of Superintendent of Decoration at Disneyland, Manager of Buildings and Grounds, Tokyo Disneyland Project – where Dave developed the Show Quality Assurance Program, and eventually promoted to Vice President of Imagineering’s international Show Quality Standards effort, and served as Executive Producer for the Disneyland Portfolio.

ED JOHNSON

Ed was a project show designer for Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI) and worked in the model shop.

GARY YOUNGER

Gary was a director of MAPO for WDI, a production director for WED Enterprises/WDI, and was a system developer.

Next to these guys is Ralph’s window. His reads: Ralph Kent Collection: Fine Arts and Collectibles / Anaheim, Lake Buena Vista and Tokyo

RALPH KENT

According to his Disney Legends write-up, Ralph’s dream came true when he arrived at Disneyland as a marketing production artist. One day, Ralph gained the courage to personally ask Walt if he remembered receiving a letter from a kid in Buffalo.

“I had changed my name legally because nobody could pronounce it – Kwiatkowski,” Ralph recalled. And “Walt said, ‘That was a Polish kid with a long last name.’ I said, ‘I know; I changed it.’ The eyebrow went up and he said, ‘Well, why didn’t you tell me [sooner]?’ I said, ‘I was just in awe of you, and still am.’”

He created the marketing materials for the Jungle Cruise, Enchanted Tiki Room, and other attractions. In 1965, Ralph designed the first limited-edition Mickey Mouse watch for adults. Walt gave his top 25 executives one of those watches. People started to hear about this unique watch that everyone wanted one. The rest is history.

For the opening of Disney World he design souvenirs such as license plates, bumper stickers, and more. He then became Director of Walt Disney Imagineering East and then corporate trainer of Disney Design Group that mentor new artists. Although in May 2004 Ralph retired he continued to consult on special projects.

The next window, which is on the northeast corner side – facing the Castle is dedicated to Larry Slocum. FPC Academy / Featuring the Culinary Arts / Larry Slocum Headmaster / Specializing in the ‘86’ Steps in Gastronomical Expertise.

LARRY SLOCUM

In 1981 Larry became food operations director of the Magic Kingdom, as well as food services for Epcot. The multi-park food operations vice presidency – a position whose scope is without equivalent in the entire Disney organization – came in 1990 following his takeover of food studies at Disney-MGM Studios and Disney food processing.

The window next to Larry Slocum’s is a large window honoring not only Walt Disney, but those master planners of Walt Disney World. This window says: Walter E. Disney / Graduate School of Design & Master Planning / “We Specialize in Imagineering” / Head Master, Richard Irvine / Dean of Design, John Hench / Instructors / Edward Brummitt / Marvin Davis / Fred Hope / Vic Greene / Bill Martin / Chuck Myall

HOWARD BRUMMITT

An Imagineer with The Walt Disney Company

MARVIN DAVIS

Married to Lillian Disney’s niece Marjorie Sewell (Davis), Marvin Davis was one of a select group of artists, art directors, designers, architects and animators responsible for developing the master plan for Disneyland. Marvin worked closely with Walt in designing and laying-out virtually every aspect of the Park.

He graduated from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles with a degree in architecture. He worked as an art director for 20th Century Fox before he was invited by a friend of his, Dick Irvine, to join WED Enterprises.

After Disneyland’s opening, Marvin went back to art directing many of Disney’s films and television shows. When plans for Walt Disney World started taking shape, once again, Marvin returned to WED as the project designer for Walt Disney World. He also was top student in the class of 1935, he also received the prestigious American Institute of Architects medal.

Two years later, Marvin won a job at 20th Century Fox, where he worked as an art director on such films as “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” starring Marilyn Monroe, and “The Asphalt Jungle,” directed by John Huston.

In 1953, he was invited by his friend, former Fox art director Dick Irvine, to join WED (Walter Elias Disney) Enterprises, today known as Walt Disney Imagineering, the design and development arm of the Company charged with creating theme parks. Hench added, “Marvin was very conscientious about developing the Park. He worked extremely hard to help bring Walt’s dream to life, exactly as Walt envisioned it.”

After the theme park’s successful opening in the summer of 1955, Marvin returned to art directing motion pictures, including Disney’s “Moon Pilot,” “Babes in Toyland” and “Big Red,” as well as such television series as “Zorro” and “The Mickey Mouse Club.” In 1962, he received an Emmy Award for art direction and scenic design on “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color.”

In 1965, he returned to WED as a project designer for Walt Disney World in Florida. In addition to the master plan for the theme park, Marvin contributed to the design of such resort hotels as the Contemporary, the Polynesian and the Golf Resort. After 22 years with the Company, he retired in 1975.

VIC GREEN

Vic was an art director with WED. He contributed designs to a number of attractions including the Haunted Mansion.

JOHN HENCH

John Hench can easily be described in three simple words – Disney’s Renaissance artist. In a letter dated April 27, 1939, John Hench was offered a job at Walt Disney Productions for $30 a week. Before joining Walt Disney Productions as a sketch artist in the story department – working on “Fantasia” – John attended the Art Students’ League in New York City and received a scholarship to Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles. He also attended the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco and Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles.

When Walt started working on his top-secret project, Disneyland, John was one of the first employees handpicked by Walt to work at WED Enterprises. At the time of his passing, John had been with Disney Imagineering for all of its fifty years in existence.

John’s sense of design, style, color, perspective is seen in almost everything at the Walt Disney Company. From attractions to queues to shops and cast member uniforms, John touched every aspect of Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

Funny enough because of John’s resemblance to Walt Disney and his frequent visits to the Disney theme parks, he was often asked to sign autographs and pose for pictures with park visitors who thought they were meeting Disney himself.

John was the mastermind behind many well loved Disney attractions including Space Mountain, shops on Main Street, The Carousel of Progress just to name a few. He also worked on EPCOT Center. According to an interview, he did with Alain Littaye in 1996, John said, “I worked on the concept, the first layouts and designs for the property. I worked on all the attractions concept. I remember that — at the beginning — we had two separate models for Future World and World Showcase. And Marty Sklar pushed them together, and we combined them.” He continued to say, “I don’t think that was too successful. Because I always thought that the two of them should have been more separate. Also I had planned the monorail station to be in the center. So that one day you would have (had to) go to World Showcase and then the other day to Future World. And I still think that would have been better.”

FRED HOPE SR.

An Imagineer who created architectural projects for Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

RICHARD IRVINE

According to Richard “Dick” Irvine’s Disney Legends bio, before Walt Disney hired him, Dick was working as an art director for 20th Century Fox Studios. Dick’s original position with the Disney Company was to act as a liaison between them and the architectural firm that Walt was considering as the designers of Disneyland. After a few meetings, Dick (along with Walt) felt that the best people who could design the park were members of Walt’s own staff. Dick, and others from the movie industry, were the ideal people for this job. It was then that Walt formed WED, now known as Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI). As John Hench recalled, “Because Dick had worked with movie set designs, creating structures and settings, he understood our needs…such as “forced” perspective, making things smaller to give the illusion of being farther away and other optical values.”

Until his retirement in 1973, Dick headed design and planning for all Disneyland attractions – everything from the Haunted Mansion to Pirates of the Caribbean and everything in between. He was also instrumental in the creation of the attractions for the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair, including its A Small World. Although Dick helped to shape the master plan and attractions at Walt Disney World and was appointed executive vice president and chief operations officer of WED Enterprises (Walt Disney Imagineering) in 1967, an illness that he was suffering from prevented him from seeing the completion of Walt Disney World. In his honor one of Walt Disney World’s original riverboats was named in honor of him.

On a side note – what falls under the ‘small world’ category, Irvine’s Daughter Maggie followed in her father’s footsteps and also joined WDI. His son married Kim Thomas (Now Kim Irvine, who currently is an Art Director at WDI) who is the daughter of Imagineering legend Leota Toombs.

WILSON ‘BILL’ MARTIN

Another former art director at 20th Century Fox, Wilson ‘Bill’ Martin came to work for Walt Disney in 1953 on his new project – Disneyland. He worked on a number of attractions including Sleeping Beauty Castle, Monorail, and Pirates of the Caribbean. One of Bill’s other ‘jobs’ was that he walked Disneyland every Saturday with Walt to see how they could improve it. Bill also contributed to the creation of all dark ride track development.

In 1971, Bill was named vice president of design at WED Enterprises. He oversaw the master layout of the Magic Kingdom for Walt Disney World, which included the design of Main Street U.S.A., Cinderella Castle, the utilidors beneath the Magic Kingdom and the canal systems on the 27,000-acre property. He also designed various watercrafts, including the Admiral Joe Fowler and Richard F. Irvine riverboats, steam launches, and side-wheel steamboats.

In 1977 Bill officially retired, but returned to consult on select projects including the Mexican and Italian pavilions at EPCOT Center.

CHUCK MYALL

Chuck was an art director and project designer on numerous attractions including Sleeping Beauty Castle, the Monorail, and Pirates of the Caribbean. As part of WED Enterprises he was also one of the master planners of Walt Disney World. He also has a tombstone at haunted mansion. His tombstone says, RIP in memoriam Uncle Myall – Here you’ll rest for quite a while.

Just above the Ice Cream Parlor is Bill “Sully” Sullivan’s window. It reads: Sully’s Safari & Guide Service / Chief Guide.

BILL SULLIVAN

Bill’s Disney Legends Bio starts out by saying on Sunday, July 17, 1955, Bill “Sully” Sullivan was tuned in to ABC-TV. “I watched the opening ceremonies for Disneyland. The following Saturday I went down and applied for a job. Monday I quit Northrop Aircraft, and Tuesday I reported to work as a ticket-taker at the Jungle Cruise.”

He moved from ticket-taker to ride operator to operations supervisor at Disneyland. Walt recruited Bill to become a member of the Squaw Valley operations team that assisted in the opening and operating of the Winter Olympics in 1960 and then was the assistant manager for the attractions Disney designed for the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair.

In 1971, Sully relocated to Florida for the opening of Walt Disney World. He served as the director for the Project Installation and Coordination Office, director of Epcot Center operations and then in 1987, he was named vice president of the Magic Kingdom. He retired in 1993 after 38 years with the company.

Next to Bill’s window and heading towards the Main Street Railroad Station is Bob Matheison’s window. It says: Community Service Recruitment Center / Bob Matheison / Quality, Integrity & Dedication

BOB MATHEISON

Bob Matheison was another guy who was considered a renaissance man. During his time working for Disney’s parks, he helped research, develop Walt Disney World, and create its executive training program. Prior to joining the company, Bob as a broadcaster with the WFAA radio station in Dallas.

In 1960, an old college friend offered him a job at Disneyland as a sound coordinator. Bob accepted. He was responsible for programming anything audible to guests… from recorded music to teaching Jungle Cruise guides how to speak into their microphones. Eventually he became manager of Guest Relations and later, helped produce live radio and television broadcasts from Disneyland. By 1965, Walt had Bob managing the operations of all their projects at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair.

In 1966, Bob headed the research and development team for Walt Disney World, as well as developing a 13-week executive training program for Walt Disney World, a forerunner of Disney’s current corporate training program. In 1969, he was named director of operations at Disneyland and a year later, carried the title to Florida, where he outlined an operating plan for the new theme park.

In 1972 Bob was promoted to vice president of operations and then ten years later to vice president of the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT. In 1985 he became executive vice president of Parks, Walt Disney World. He retired at 34 years with the company.

After Bob’s window is one honoring Walt’s eldest daughter, Diane, and her family. Lazy M Cattle Company of Wyoming / Ron & Diane Miller & Partners / Christopher / Joanna / Tamara / Jennifer / Walter / Ronald Jr. / Patrick

DIANE (DISNEY) MILLER

Is the eldest daughter of Walt Disney and his wife Lillian Bounds Disney. She had a younger sister, Sharon Mae Disney, who was adopted by Walt & Lillian in 1936, and who died in 1993.

Diane met Ron Miller on a blind date and after dating for a while, and with the approval of her parents, they were married in a small church ceremony in Santa Barbara on May 9, 1954. Their first child, Christopher, was born seven months later on Dec. 10, 1954.

In the early-1970s, Diane and Ron Miller purchased a vineyard in Napa Valley, California. Their intention was to upgrade the property, replant to premium varietals, install new trellising, and frost protection, but not to build or run a winery. The vineyard started produced exceptional, top-quality fruit and award-winning wines for other wineries. It was then that Diane and Ron decided to construct their own winery, and since 1981, they have operated Silverado Vineyards Winery.

Additionally, Diane was instrumental in pushing ahead with the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles. Lillian Disney started the project with a $50 million gift. After a number of delays, the alt Disney Hall finally opened in 2004.

Diane read her father’s original dedication fifty years later to the day at the birthday celebrations of Disneyland on July 17, 2005 and most recently she organized the development of The Walt Disney Family Museum at the Presidio of San Francisco. The museum opened in October 2009.

RON MILLER

Ron attended the University of Southern California, where he lettered in football playing left end for the 1951-53 seasons and briefly worked as a liaison between WED Enterprises and Disneyland before being drafted into the army. During their first six years of marriage, Ron and Diane had four children. After his discharge from the Army, Ron played a season as tight end with the Los Angeles Rams professional football team.

“My father-in-law saw me play in two football games when I was with the Los Angeles Rams,” recalled Ron. “In one of them, I caught a pass and Dick ‘Night Train’ Lane let me have it from the rear. His forearm came across my nose and knocked me unconscious. I woke up in about the third quarter. At the end of the season, Walt came up to me and said, ‘You know, I don’t want to be the father to your children. You are going to die out there. How about coming to work with me?’

Walt sponsored his son-in-law and got him into the Screen Director’s Guild and Ron worked as a second assistant on “Old Yeller” (1957). He soon rose up the ranks to a variety of producer positions and directed some of Walt’s lead-ins for the popular weekly Disney television show. He spent time in the film division and his co-producer credits appear on such Disney classics as “Son of Flubber,” “That Darn Cat!” “Tron”, “Pete’s Dragon,” and “Escape to Witch Mountain.”

He became president of Walt Disney Productions in 1980 and CEO in 1983. Perhaps, he is best known for creating the Touchstone label, which allowed Disney to produce and release adult-oriented films without harming the family-friendly reputation of the Disney name. He was also responsible for establishing The Disney Channel, funding the films of a young Tim Burton, acquiring the film rights and putting into development Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and funding Disney’s first Broadway show, “Total Abandon,” with Richard Dreyfuss

Coming up next is Ub and Don Iwerks: Iwerks – Iwerks / Stereoscopic Cameras / Repairs – Modifications / “No Two Exactly Alike” / Ub Iwerks / Don Iwerks.

UB IWERKS

Ub is not only a two-time Academy Award winning American animator, cartoonist and special effects technician, but is also considered by many to be Walt Disney’s oldest friend.

Iwerks spent most of his career with Disney. The two met in 1919 while working for the Pesman Art Studio in Kansas City. They eventually started their own commercial art business together. Disney and Iwerks then found work as illustrators for the Kansas City Slide Newspaper Company. While working for the Kansas City Film Ad Company, Disney decided to take up work in animation and Iwerks soon joined him. Ub was responsible for the distinctive style of the earliest Disney animated cartoons, and was responsible for creating Mickey Mouse. In 1922, when Walt began his Laugh-O-Gram cartoon series, Iwerks joined him as chief animator. In 1923, Iwerks followed Disney’s move to Los Angeles to work on a new series of cartoons known as “the Alice Comedies” and then after he came up with a new character – the first Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.

After a number of back and forth in and outs with Walt Disney Productions, Ub returned and worked on developing special visual effects. He is credited as developing the processes for combining live action and animation used in Song of the South (1946), as well as the xerographic process adapted for cel animation. He also worked at WED Enterprises, now Walt Disney Imagineering, helping to develop many Disney theme park attractions during the 1960s contributing his genius to park attractions, including It’s a Small World, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln and the Hall of Presidents.

DON IWERKS

The son of Ub Iwerks, Don is a former Disney executive and co-founder of Iwerks Entertainment, along with Stan Kinsey. Don also played a pivotal role in creating Circle Vision, Captain EO, Star Tours, and giant screen projections.

Next to father and son, Iwerks is another father and son window: Bill & Robert “Bud” Washo. Their window says: Washo & Son / Stone Mason / Our Motto – “No Stone Unturned” / Bud Washo / Bill Washo

BILL WASHO / ROBERT “BUD” WASHO

Robert “Bud” Washo was a senior designer for WED Enterprises or Imagineering. He headed the Disneyland Staff Shop, where he supervised concrete and plastic modeling. Bud Washo would go on to manage the Architectural Ornamentation Department at Walt Disney World. He and his departments were responsible for modeling pieces used for Animatronics, building facades and sculpting details for specific attractions.

Bill worked with him on the facades at Walt Disney World.

References
Walt Disney World
Windows on Main Street, Chuck Snyder, Disney Editions 2009
Wikipedia
Mouseplanet.com
FindingMickey.com
Legends.disney.go.com
Designing Disney, John Hench, Hyperion

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