2004 Disney Legends Ceremony
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Next to be introduced was Ralph Kent (Attractions and Imagineering). At age 10 Ralph turned his basement wall into a giant mural of Disney characters. He fulfilled his dream by landing a job at Disneyland in Marketing Productions. He developed marketing materials for the Jungle Cruise, the Enchanted Tiki Room, and developed training materials for the Company's four attractions at the World's Fair. In 1965 he designed the first limited edition Mickey Mouse watch for adults, which may be what he is most remembered for. Ralph designed souvenirs for Walt Disney World and became Director of Walt Disney Imagineeering East, overseeing Florida staff support for Epcot and Tokyo Disneyland. He joined the Disney design group as corporate trainer, mentoring new artists and creating a reference of character model sheets. Recently retired, he continues to consult on special projects.
Marty introduced Bob Gurr (Imagineering) with the following comment "At Walt Disney Imaginnering its said if something moves on wheels at Disneyland that it probably was invented by Bob Gurr.â€? Having worked for Ford Motor Company, Bob was hired by Disney as a consultant to help design the mini cars for Disneyland's Utopia attraction. Walt was so impressed that he asked Bob to work full time as an Imagineer. During three decades he developed more than 100 designs, ranging from the Bobsled cars on the Matterhorn to the Monorail at Walt Disney World, Flying saucers to the double deck buses on Main Street. Bob helped design the mechanical workings of the audio animatronic figure Abraham Lincoln at the Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln attraction at the New York Wordâ€˜s Fair. " In 1981 Bob retired from Imagineering, now that's what the script says but there is some disagreement about this because I think I fired him but he says he quit.â€? Bob created the UFOâ€˜s that hovered over the Los Angeles 1984 Olympics, King Kong and the T Rex figures featured at Universal Studios, the fantastic pirate galleon in Las Vegas. Bob continues to consult on Disney projects as in the giant Ursula creature at Tokyo Disney Sea. He was honored with the Themed Entertainment Association's Lifetime Achievement Award (THEA).
Walt Disney Studios Chief Dick Cook
Dick Cook then proceeded to emcee the award ceremony, remembering thirty four years ago he had stood on the platform at the Main Street Train Station, which was his first job with the company as a conductor. Back then he never would have dreamed he would be standing on this podium honoring the honorees.
He began with Mel Shaw (Animation), "who started his career on horseback, literally. He met Walt while they were competing on the polo field and Walt yelled at him you ride like a wild Indian. .â€? Soon after he was brought onboard as a highly talented artist to work on "Fantasiaâ€?, "Bambiâ€?, and "The Wind in the Willows.â€? World War II interrupted his Disney career, after which he went to work at Allen Shaw Productions where he created the Howdy Doody marionette puppet, illustrated the first Bambi children's book for Disney, designed children's toys, architecture and even master plans for cities, including Century City in Los Angeles. In 1974 the Walt Disney Studios called upon Mel to help transition the Animation Department from the retiring animators to the next generation of Disney artists. He offered skill and knowledge to "The Rescuersâ€?, "The Fox and the Houndâ€?, "The Great Mouse Detectiveâ€?, Beauty and the Beastâ€?, "The Lion Kingâ€? and more. Recently Mel completed his autobiography "Animator on Horseback.â€?