When Walt Disney started to plan Disneyland, he was blessed by having a pool of incredible talent within the Studio and having worked with many talented men and women who had worked over the years but had moved on. While Disneyland was truly Walt's dream and personal vision that drove the project, it was these amazing artists and engineers who turned it all into reality. Walt called these people "Imagineers" because it reflected the combination of imagination and engineering prowess that was crucial to the success of the park. Of course, the whole world knows Walt Disney, but only the avid fans would recognize the names of these Imagineers. Names like William Cottrell, Harper Goff, Ken Anderson, Herb Ryman, Sam McKim, Mary Blair, Harriet Burns, John Hench, Ward Kimball, Marc Davis, Alice Davis, Bob Gurr, and Roger Broggie are the stuff of legend for them. This is their story - or rather, their stories. This book chronicles the origins of Disney Imagineering and features the biographies of those original Imagineers who made the magic we've all come to know as Disneyland.
The biographies are both entertaining and inspiring. There's so much serendipity in how they came to work for Disney. Several of the artists were long-time animators who helped create the Disney cartoons and features like "Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs", "Bambi" and others. Many of those men came to Disney during the Depression when any job was a good job, and they were just lucky enough to find an opening with Disney. Others came along during and after World War II. Each brought something unique to the mixture of backgrounds and experiences to help create the magical atmosphere of the Disney theme parks. This oversized book is also filled with great photographs of these people at their jobs, with lots of historic information about how various Disneyland attractions were created. I was fortunate enough to be present at several Disney conventions when these people would give presentations describing their work. Every single one of them was extraordinarily gracious and generous with their time. And they all had a fabulous sense of humor. It's no wonder where that Disney spirit came from. It came from these people. And this is their story, lovingly laid out in words and picture by noted Disney author Jeff Kurtti, whose written extensively about The Walt Disney Company over the years. This book is one of his best.
Rainbo Electronic Reviews published this review in our July, 2008 issue.
See our reviews of recent works from Disney Editions that you might enjoy:
The Imagineering Field Guide to Disneyland
by Alex Wright
Written by the amazingly talented staff of Disney Imagineering - the people who actually design and build the Disney theme parks, so dubbed by Walt himself - this is a guide to help you appreciate those designs as they were used in Disneyland in California…[more]
Kingdom Keepers II: Disney At Dawn
by Ridley Pearson
In this second book of the "Disney at Dawn" series, Ridley Pearson offers youngsters an amazing fantasy adventure in Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park…[more]
See our current Non-Fiction reviews.