We’re in a series of firsts here on the show, because here we have another one! Today, we have part one of my interview with Disney Legend, Imagineer, and more, Rolly Crump. If you’re a fan of it’s a small world, the Tiki Room pre-show area, and even the night lighting at Disneyland, then you’re a fan of Rolly’s work. I am so honored I get to have had this wonderful conversation.
I got to ask a number of questions I’ve never been able to ask before, and for the first time hear stories about Walt Disney from someone who worked with him personally. Now, in case you have sensitive ears, there is a little bit of PG-level language in this interview. You’d hear worse in almost any primetime TV show nowadays, but since the interviews are usually 100% G-rated, I thought you should know.
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Rolly talks about:
- How he got started working for Disney;
- Why starting at the company was a shock to him, and why he loved it;
- His first assignment as an artist;
- Being an inbetweener;
- Animating the spots on the Dalmatians in the 101 Dalmatians animated feature;
- Whether he wanted to be an animator or not;
- His first assignment with WED—now Walt Disney Imagineering;
- How he designed the Enchanted Tiki Room pre-show area;
- Whether he enjoyed being thrown into things he’d never done before, and why;
- His philosophy;
- Walt’s philosophy of what made a good work environment;
- Working on concepts for the Haunted Mansion with Imagineer Yale Gracey, and the Museum of the Weird;
- His roles in “it’s a small world,” and something very interesting about how the teams designed and built it;
- Some of the things still in the attraction that he did;
- How the clock in front of “it’s a small world” got there, and Walt’s hand in it;
- Installing the attraction at the New York World’s Fair, watching guests experience it, and then moving it to Disneyland;
- Experiencing the World’s Fair, and what Walt expected his people to do while they were there—and everywhere else;
- Two instances where Dick Irvine didn’t think Rolly would get a project done—but he did it anyway—including the Adventureland Bazaar;
- Something he learned from Walt;
- Becoming Supervising Art Director of Disneyland—not exactly a promotion.
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Music and voiceovers provided by Rick Moyer.
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