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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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Disney Editions (August 26, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786855592
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786855599
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 9.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #128,797 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Film historian Jeff Kurtti is considered one of the leading authorities on The Walt Disney Company and its history. He is the author of several books and magazine articles, a writer-director of documentaries, and a respected public speaker, host, and panel moderator. For the 50th anniversary of Disneyland, he wrote the park exclusive publication The Art of Disneyland.
Kurtti was executive producer of the DVD collector's editions of Around the World in 80 Days, Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Yankee Doodle Dandy, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Sixth Sense, A Bug's Llife, Tarzan, Toy Story, Fantasia, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Monsters, Inc., and Beauty and the Beast.
He has written, directed, and commentated in documentaries on the making of several of these movies, and his video productions have been seen on The Academy Awards, The Wonderful World of Disney, and Turner Classic Movies. Kurtti also produced the Walt Disney Treasures DVD edition series with Leonard Maltin. He has been a guest speaker and moderator at the Official Disneyana Convention, and an artist-in-residence at The Disney Institute. His articles have appeared in Widescreen Review, Disney Magazine, Disney Adventures, Collector's Showcase and Sketches. Kurtti is a member of the Writers Guild of America West (WGAw).

Bruce Gordon is a twenty-five year veteran of Walt Disney Imagineering, where he was a vital force in the creation of dozens of the most popular and beloved Disney attractions around the world, and is widely regarded as one of the foremost experts on the history and legacy of Disney parks and attractions. A respected author and designer, Mr. Gordon's other titles include The Imagineering Way, The Imagineering Workout, The Art of Disneyland, The Disney Insider Yearbook, and Designing Disney, as well as the most popular souvenir book ever sold at the theme parks, Disneyland Then, Now, and Forever.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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That is the true brilliance of the book.
George H. Taylor Jr.
Lots of great information on little known Disney Imagineers, beautiful page layouts and wonderful rare photographs.
L. Bartlett
Jeff Kurtti has once again created an amazing Walt Disney Imagineering book!!
meridianhour21

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Dave on August 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have always been a huge Disneyland fan, but only begun delving into the history for the past 2 years, so I would consider myself somewhat of a newbie amongst the die-hards. This book's strength is its encyclopedic all-in-one format (although as Lannie's excellent review points out, there are a few glaring omissions such as Alice Davis), the wonderful photos/illustrations (many are new to me, with a few familiar ones), and the excellent design that is featured throughout. Each chapter features a different skill/talent for the Imagineers, such as:

*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.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Julie Neal TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In my work I'm at Walt Disney World every week, and the more I research it the more impressed I am. It is a place of boundless imagination. After Walt Disney's original vision, the bulk of the creative work has been in the capable hands of the Disney Imagineers. This book profiles 30 of these Disney artists and engineers.

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?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bruce E. Roberts on October 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is an excellent reference book for the true fan of the early days of Walt Disney's Imagineering and the people who most influenced the way the Disney Theme Parks are so different from any other. Lots of early pictures and stories. Highly recommended for the true Disney Theme Park fan.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By L. Bartlett on August 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Another excellent book from Jeff Kurtti and the late but very awesome Bruce Gordon. Lots of great information on little known Disney Imagineers, beautiful page layouts and wonderful rare photographs. I highly recommend this book.

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!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Worley on January 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By meridianhour21 on September 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover
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!!) and couldn't put it down! Highly recommended!!!!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michy1476 on March 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you love Disney and are interested in the history of Imagineering this is the book for you. Lots of great pictures and information from those who built the magic.
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