In 1974, Marion Knott brought Disney Legend Rolly Crump on board to design the Knott's Bear-y Tales attraction for Knott's Berry Farm. Which at the time, started off as an idea by another designer, of a Boy and a Donkey traveling to the Fair. Later, Rolly would expand on this idea from the Gypsy Camp area of the park and the ride would become Knott's Bear-y Tales. Rolly embellished the charming animal designs while retrofitting it to Marion's changes.
Rolly Crump and his team at Design 27 and Fantasy Fair brought the magic he had from his time at Disney. He combined black light and incandescent spotlighting for the signs/characters/sets, layered the ceiling with colorful leaves and special effects that gave the ride magic. He created memorable characters that were unique to Knott's Berry Farm, assigned Robert F. Bruner to compose a soundtrack and helped to create the careers of people who would go on to do more projects within the theme park industry.
RIP Rolly Crump
Feb. 27, 1930 - March 12, 2023
Disney Legend Marty Sklar was born on February 6, 1934 in New Brunswick, N.J. Marty dedicated 54 years of his life to the Walt Disney Company and created a legacy that impacted so many areas. He began working at Disneyland in publicity when it opened in 1955, and soon began writing speeches for Walt and becoming a trusted assistant. He’d later move into Walt Disney Imagineering, where he’d rise to lead the organization.
Imagineering, like so many other Disney departments, relies heavily on a culture of mentorship and building bridges that connect generations of employees ultimately to Walt’s vision. Marty played a critical role developing those connections. According to Disney’s original archivist Dave Smith, “Walt and he [Marty] seemed to think alike. Marty really understood Walt more than a lot of people.”
Marty is the only person to have attended the grand openings of all Disney parks. He was named a Disney Legend in 2001 and has a Main Street U.S.A. window tribute at Disneyland.
Former Walt Disney Imagineering President @bobweis said, “Marty was one of Walt’s most trusted advisors and helped turn his most ambitious dreams into reality. For us, it’s hard to imagine a world without Marty, because Marty is synonymous with Imagineering. His influence can be seen around the world, in every Disney park, and in the creative and imaginative work of almost every professional in the themed entertainment industry.”
Marty is no longer with us, but leaves behind an incredible legacy. He eloquently describes Disney philosophy in his two books: Disney: Dream It! Do It!: My Half-Century Creating Disney’s Magic Kingdoms (2013), and One Little Spark!: Mickey’s Ten Commandments and The Road to Imagineering (2015).
Disney Legend Ken Anderson is mostly known for his incredible animation portfolio, he was one of the many Disney Studio artists tapped by Walt Disney to work on Disneyland before it opened in 1955.
Anderson was selected to work with Walt on what was known as "Project Little Man” in the early 1950s. The project explored how to create a physical animated figure, a technological exploration that would lead to Disney’s innovative audio-animatronics that would become a critical component of Disney theme parks. As that project transitioned into more substantive work on Disneyland Anderson was moved off the project (replaced by Harper Goff) and went to work on the Sleeping Beauty movie.
Later, Anderson was put in charge of overseeing the building of the Fantasyland dark rides. In a 1973 interview with Disney biographer Bob Thomas, Anderson explained that as the Disneyland team worked on the first dark rides ever built “Walt wanted me to do it because I had an architectural background, and also I had been a part of each feature and he wanted to use features as a basis for the black rides. So I was building these things and boy, we were really sweating it out. We were right in the middle of the last week of working nights to get this thing ready and we were real nervous.”
Anderson also had to deal with labor union tensions. He explained to Thomas: “I had to be the one that was in contact with the subcontractors: The carpenters, the painters and all these people…And these were the Orange County people who were counter to the unions up here. The first ride I got built up here was the Mr. Toad ride which was built right here in the back [of the Studio]. They took it down to install it. Those people were still members of the same union A.F. of L. They resented the Hollywood craft unions having developed these things. They scraped all the paint off of the little car and the little circus train and painted it over again with their own guys not nearly so well. There would be guys doing all sorts of tricks to prevent and to sabotage.”
You’ll lose your head over the Alice in Wonderland line designed by Disney Legend Mary Blair.
2021 marked the 70th Anniversary of Disney’s classic Alice in Wonderland. The timeless classic was released in July 1951. It is the 13th animated classic created by Disney.
Disney describes Mary Blair as an imaginative color stylist and designer. Mary Blair helped introduce modern art to Walt Disney and his Studio. Also, Mary’s unique color and styling greatly influenced such Disney productions as Song of the South, Make Mine Music, Melody Time, So Dear to My Heart, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, and Peter Pan.
Every day is a Golden Afternoon with your teatime confections served on this set of four porcelain dessert plates featuring Alice and the Garden of Live Flowers. Designs adapted from inspirational art for Alice in Wonderland by Disney Legend Mary Blair.
In 1908, John Hench - Disney’s Renaissance artist - was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In his legendary 64 year career with the Walt Disney Company, John left his mark in films, theme parks, and hotels. Former head of Disney Imagineering Marty Sklar said "Other than Walt Disney himself, no one symbolizes the Walt Disney Company more than John Hench.”
After joining the Walt Disney Studio in 1939 John worked on both animated and live-action films as a set designer, artist and on special-effects. In 1954, John was one of the many studio employees asked to help with the design and construction of Disneyland. As an Imagineer, John’s first project involved the attractions in Tomorrowland. On the Rocket to the Moon attraction John worked with famed German rocket scientist Wernher von Braun on the design of the Moonliner. In his book, Designing Disney, John explains: “I wanted an elegant shape that suggested high speed even though it would be stationary…From any angle in Tomorrowland, the rocket appeared ready to blast off for the moon.”
John helped establish the philosophy behind Disney design from the ideas and concepts first shared by Walt himself. In a 1978 article in New West magazine titled “Disneyland is Good for You,” the author notes “Hench has become the Disney organization’s ranking theoretician on how movies and theme parks can be programmed to produce effects on the unconscious as well as conscious mind.”
The article provides an extraordinary foundation for the psychology behind Disney theme park design and features extensive comments from Hench. He explains that “…the order here at Disneyland works on people, the sense of harmony. They feel more content here, in a way they can’t explain.” Hench explains that the essential message of Disneyland is that “there is nothing to fear….What we are selling is not escapism but reassurance.”
Growing up in Los Angeles in the 70s/80s we visited Disneyland on a regular basis and often after school, before "Annual Passes".