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Walt Disney's Imagineering Legends and the Genesis of the Disney Theme Park Hardcover – August 26, 2008
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*The Prototype Imagineers (Harper Goff, Ken Anderson, Herbert Ryman, and Sam McKim)
*The Executive Suite (Richard F. Irvine & Bill Cottrell)
*The Model Shop (Fred Joerger, Harriet Burns, and Wathel Rogers), and many more.
The common thread throughout the book is obviously Walt himself; his talent for putting all of these geniuses together and challenging them to do things they'd never attempted before created the magic that is now Disneyland and WDW. Walt fostered the creative and "can-do" environment that allowed The Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, it's a small world, and the Jungle Cruise to become the beloved attractions that every guest rushes to experience over and over again. To quote Tony Baxter from the book: "I found it interesting to see that when Walt was alive he was able to pull everyone together, and I think that was his great talent: to be able to get everyone to work together in harmony." This quote is in the section of Claude Coats, and refers to the fact that Marc Davis (characters) and Claude Coats (the environment/background) created magic together on Pirates of the Caribbean, even they didn't necessarily get along with each other.Read more ›
Although you could argue about the list (I'd love to see Mary Blair, but I guess her role wasn't really as an Imagineer) you can't argue with the depth of the research. Within each profile, Kurtti has gathered not only anecdotes, reminiscences and quotes, but also photos and sketches. The best photographs show the Imagineers at work, painting and sculpting and model-making. The conceptual art is the most fun; you can see Bill Martin's conceptual layout for the Peter Pan attraction in Disneyland, and Rolly Crump's concept sketch for the Enchanted Tiki Room.
I do wish more current Imagineers were included, especially the visionary Joe Rohde, the chief architect of Disney's Animal Kingdom. But then again he's not a Legend. Maybe in a sequel, Jeff?
The design of the book is a little loose for my taste, with some clunky typeface choices and layout. Several of the photos are not rectangles, but rather circles or other shapes, and many are reproduced too dark, at least in my copy. But overall the book is an excellent resource -- and makes for fascinating reading -- for any Disney fan.
Jeff Kurtti is also the author of SINCE THE WORLD BEGAN: WALT DISNEY WORLD: THE FIRST 25 YEARS.
Here's the chapter list:
Foreword: Growing Up With Imagineering, by Martin A. Sklar
What is Walt Disney Imagineering?Read more ›
My only issue, which would have resulted it 5 stars instead of 4. Where are Alice Davis, Mary Blair and Leota Toombs? While it's great to read about the legendary Harriet Burns, I was disappointed that she was the only woman represented. Certainly Alice and Mary contributed so much to the classic Disney attractions, and why a picture with Leota Toombs but no information on her? Maybe a follow-up book is in order?
In any case, thanks for finally releasing the Imagineering Legends book. I have to say it is definitely worth the 2 & 1/2 year wait!
Jeff Kurtti is a well-known and much-admired name in the Disney community. He has written many seminal works on the history of the theme parks, animated films, characters and theater. Since The World Began is one of his more treasured books. Jeff is also known for his work on several award-winning documentaries and as a consultant for film and theater. Currently, he is working with the Walt Disney Family Museum. The late Bruce Gordon served as editor on the project and his talents are seen throughout the book through the layout and design. Bruce was the author of The Nickel Tour, Walt's Time and The Art of Disneyland (with Jeff).
In an interview with Didier Ghez, Jeff talks about the motivation behind the book:
The inspiration for Walt Disney's Imagineering Legends was John Canemaker's Walt Disney's Nine Old Men. I say inspiration, since my book comes nowhere near the depth and erudition of John's great work, but the inspiration was to create a work that would familiarize people with the core team of creative people within the initial development of Disneyland.
The animation group, as a rule, is more familiar to people, and the Imagineering group is less well-known, the history of how they came together is much less documented.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is great because it puts the full careers of all the early imagineers and their accomplishments into one entertaining book, I loved it!! Read morePublished on January 13, 2014 by Stephen M. Coutu
I am a Disney nut and love knowing about the journey every detail in the parks took. Each piece is so unique and the story behind every ride, decoration, has a story. Read morePublished on December 25, 2013 by Patrick Hogan
Best Book I've read on the Imagineers. Very well written with everything you would want to know about them. You will love this book!Published on April 21, 2013 by Skeeziks
Bought this primarily for the segment of Bob Gurr but learned about many other talented people who made Disney's theme parks what they are today. Read morePublished on January 10, 2013 by Jan M. Williamson
In this book, Jeff Kurtti falsely labels and calls Marc Davis and Claude Coats, "STORY DEPARTMENT" - (see the book's index - Chapter Four). Read morePublished on November 14, 2012 by Royce Mathew
I collect many Disney books and I particularly love the Imagineering books. This is mostly a history book with rich anecdotes and narrative. Read morePublished on April 28, 2011 by Stop Motion Maniac
I collect Disney theme park books and this is a must have for anyone else with such a collection. It's a referrence book also for [...], with Disneyland historical facts.Published on January 13, 2010 by M. Worley
Jeff Kurtti has once again created an amazing Walt Disney Imagineering book!! I got this book as a gift along with Designing Disney by John Hench (also AMAZING!! Read morePublished on September 19, 2009 by meridianhour21