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Disney Legend Roast Bob Gurr

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Bob Gurr - “If it moves on wheels at Disneyland, I probably designed it,” said Bob Gurr, retired Imagineer and Disney Legend. In his Disney career of nearly 40 years, he helped develop more than 100 designs for vehicles ranging from turn-of-the-century Main Street vehicles, sleek bobsleds for the Matterhorn, the cars of Autopia, the futuristic Monorail and more.

Disney Legend Wally Boag.

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Disney Legend Bob Gurr

Imagineer Bob Gurr has always been a man on the move. And, for nearly 40 years, he helped move many a happy Disney theme park guest aboard vehicles and ride conveyances of his own design. As he’s often quipped, “If it moves on wheels at Disneyland, I probably designed it.”

And he certainly has. Bob has developed more than 100 designs for attractions ranging from Autopia and Matterhorn Bobsleds to the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Monorails, and more.

Born in Los Angeles on October 25, 1931, young Bob was fascinated with tools, mechanical devices, and cars. He often crawled through a hole in the fence of nearby Grand Central Air Terminal in Glendale to sneak into the cockpits of idle transport airplanes, while at school he decorated his test papers with sketches of automobiles.

Later, he attended Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles on a General Motors scholarship, where he studied industrial design. Upon graduation in 1952, he was hired by Ford Motor Company, but soon purchased a rubber stamp marked “R.H. Gurr Industrial Design” and went into business for himself.

Soon after, WED Enterprises, today known as Walt Disney Imagineering, hired Bob to consult on the design of miniature cars for Autopia. Walt Disney was so impressed with Bob’s knowledge and skill that he invited him to join the Imagineering family, which then was solely dedicated to the design and construction of Disneyland.

Over the next nearly four decades, Bob worked transportation magic developing the memorable Flying Saucers attraction in Tomorrowland, the antique cars and double-decker buses of Main Street, U.S.A., Ford Motor Company’s Magic Skyway, which premiered at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair, and more. Bob also helped design the mechanical workings of Disney’s first Audio-Animatronics® human figure, Abraham Lincoln, featured in Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.

In 1981, Bob retired early from Imagineering to launch GurrDesign, Inc., and, three years later, joined creative forces with two former Imagineers to form Sequoia Creative, Inc. The firm, which specialized in “leisure-time spectaculars” and “fantastical beasts” developed King Kong and Conan’s Serpent for Universal Studios, Hollywood.


Wally Boag - Disneyland's Finest Comedian


Wallace Vincent "Wally" Boag (September 13, 1920 – June 3, 2011) was an American performer known for his starring role in Disney's long-running stage show the Golden Horseshoe Revue.

Boag was born in Portland, Oregon, in 1920 to Wallace B. and Evelyn G. Boag. He joined a professional dance team at age nine, later established his own dance school, and by the age of 19 had turned to comedy. He toured the world's stages in hotels, theaters and nightclubs. While appearing at the London Hippodrome in Starlight Roof, he brought a young 12-year-old girl on stage to help with his balloon act. The girl, a young Julie Andrews, astonished the audience with her voice and was kept in the show. In 1945, Boag signed a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and appeared in films such as Without Love and Thrill of a Romance, in uncredited roles.

In the early 1950s, while appearing in revues in Australia, he met tenor Donald Novis. It was Novis who got Walt Disney to audition Boag for the Golden Horseshoe Revue, a 45-minute stage show which was written by its first pianist Charles LaVere and lyricist Tom Adair. Novis was the show's first tenor and was replaced by Fulton Burley when he retired in 1962. Both Boag and The Golden Horseshoe Revue were cited in The Guinness Book of World Records for having the greatest number of performances of any theatrical presentation. The show was often incorrectly introduced before a performance as the record holder of the longest running revue in the history of show business. The 10,000th performance of the Golden Horseshoe Revue was featured on NBC's The Wonderful World of Disney.

Boag's Pecos Bill/Traveling Salesman character was a fast-paced comedy routine featuring slapstick humor, squirt guns, a seemingly endless supply of broken teeth which he would spit out throughout the routine, and his signature balloon animals (Boagaloons).

In 1963, Julie Andrews once again performed with Boag on the Golden Horseshoe stage along with the Dapper Dans, at a special press-only event to promote the following year's release of Mary Poppins. Together, Andrews and Boag recreated their act of long ago and sang "By the Light of the Silvery Moon."

While Walt Disney was alive, he did everything he could to further Boag's career. Boag voiced Jose in "Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room" and also wrote much of the script for the attraction, participating also in the development of "Haunted Mansion" in Disneyland.

Disney had small roles written for Boag in The Absent-Minded Professor and Son of Flubber. It was Disney's intention to use Boag as the voice of Tigger in Winnie the Pooh. While at a story meeting for Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day,Disney felt that Boag would be perfect for the role of Tigger. However, while watching out for him, Disney died from lung cancer in December 1966. When Boag auditioned for Tigger, he was told that his interpretation of the character was "too zany" for a children's movie. The role ultimately went to Paul Winchell. Except for a cameo appearance in The Love Bug, Boag did not appear in any more Disney films.


In 1971, Boag took his Pecos Bill character to the newly opened Walt Disney World and re-crafted the saloon show into a faster, funnier Diamond Horseshoe Revue. Three years later he returned to Disneyland and finished his career there, entertaining adoring crowds at the Golden Horseshoe, retiring in 1982. (He had in the meantime performed his act as the human guest on the fifth season of The Muppet Show.) The Golden Horseshoe Revueclosed in 1986. In 1995, Boag was inducted into the ranks of the Disney Legends and has his own window on Main Street in Disneyland above the Carnation Company. The inscription reads "Theatrical Agency - Golden Vaudeville Routines - Wally Boag, Prop."

Boag's performances have influenced many later performers and comedians, most notable of whom is Steve Martin, who studied Boag's humor and timing while working at Disneyland as a teenager. Boag's performance appears on Week One of the Mickey Mouse Club DVD collection, and the soundtrack of the Golden Horseshoe Revue has been released on CD.

Boag lived in California with his wife, Ellen Morgan Boag. His autobiography, entitled "Wally Boag, Clown Prince of Disneyland," was published in August 2009 and is available for purchase at wallyboag.net. On June 3, 2011, it was announced by Steve Martin on Twitter "My hero, the first comedian I ever saw live, my influence, a man to whom I aspired, has passed on. Wally Boag." The following day, June 4, 2011, Boag's longtime partner at the Golden Horseshoe Revue, Betty Taylor, also died. Wally Boags wife, Ellen died in July 2014.

 Walter Elias "Walt" Disney (December 5, 1901 – December 15, 1966) was an American entrepreneur, cartoonist, animator, voice actor, and film producer. He was a prominent figure within the American animation industry and throughout the world, and is regarded as a cultural icon, known for his influence and contributions to entertainmentduring the 20th century. As a Hollywood business mogul, he and his brother Roy O. Disney co-founded The Walt Disney Company. As an animator and entrepreneur, Disney was particularly noted as a filmmaker and a popular showman, as well as an innovator in animation and theme park design. He and his staff created numerous famous fictional characters including Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy. Disney himself was the original voice for Mickey. During his lifetime, he won 22 Academy Awards and received four honorary Academy Awards from a total of 59 nominations, including a record of four in one year,[6] giving him more Oscar awards and nominations than any other individual in history. Disney also won seven Emmy Awards and gave his name to the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resort theme parks in the U.S., as well as the international resorts Tokyo Disney Resort, Disneyland Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, and Shanghai Disney Resort.Disney died from lung cancer on December 15, 1966 in Burbank, California. He left behind a vast legacy, including numerous animated shorts and feature films produced during his lifetime; the company, parks, and animation studio that bear his name; and the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts).

Walter Elias "Walt" Disney (December 5, 1901 – December 15, 1966) was an American entrepreneur, cartoonist, animator, voice actor, and film producer. He was a prominent figure within the American animation industry and throughout the world, and is regarded as a cultural icon, known for his influence and contributions to entertainmentduring the 20th century. As a Hollywood business mogul, he and his brother Roy O. Disney co-founded The Walt Disney Company.

As an animator and entrepreneur, Disney was particularly noted as a filmmaker and a popular showman, as well as an innovator in animation and theme park design. He and his staff created numerous famous fictional characters including Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy. Disney himself was the original voice for Mickey. During his lifetime, he won 22 Academy Awards and received four honorary Academy Awards from a total of 59 nominations, including a record of four in one year,giving him more Oscar awards and nominations than any other individual in history. Disney also won seven Emmy Awards and gave his name to the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resort theme parks in the U.S., as well as the international resorts Tokyo Disney Resort, Disneyland Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, and Shanghai Disney Resort.

Disney died from lung cancer on December 15, 1966 in Burbank, California. He left behind a vast legacy, including numerous animated shorts and feature films produced during his lifetime; the company, parks, and animation studio that bear his name; and the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts).


Walt attended the new Park School of Marceline in fall, 1909. He and his younger sister Ruth started school together. Before that, he had no formal schooling. The Disneys remained in Marceline for four years, until having to sell their farm on November 28, 1910. At that time, Walt's elder brothers Herbert and Ray had been fed up with the constant work and little or no spending money, and they ran away in fall 1906. Afterwards, the family moved to Kansas City in 1911,where Walt and Ruth attended the Benton Grammar School at 3004 Benton Boulevard, close to his new home. Disney had completed the second grade at Marceline but had to repeat the grade at Kansas City. At school, he met Walter Pfeiffer, who came from a family of theatre aficionados and introduced Walt to the world of vaudeville and motion pictures. Before long, Walt was spending more time at the Pfeiffers' than at home, as well as attending Saturday courses at the Kansas City Art Institute.


On July 1, 1911, Elias purchased a newspaper delivery route for The Kansas City Star. It extended from Twenty-seventh Street to Thirty-first Street, and from Prospect Avenue to Indiana Avenue. Roy and Walt were put to work delivering the newspapers. The Disneys delivered the morning newspaper Kansas City Times to about 700 customers and the evening and Sunday Star to more than 600, and the number of customers increased with time. Walt woke up at 4:30 AM and worked delivering newspapers until the school bell rang. He resumed working the paper trail at 4PM and continued to supper time. He found the work exhausting and often received poor grades from dozing off in class. He continued his paper routine for more than six years.


Start of animation career: 1920–37

Walt Disney's business envelope featured a self-portrait around 1921

In January 1920, Disney and Iwerks formed a short-lived company called "Iwerks-Disney Commercial Artists". However, following a rough start, Disney left temporarily to earn money at the Kansas City Film Ad Company. He was soon joined by Iwerks, who was not able to run their business alone. Disney made commercials based on cutout animation at the Film Ad company; he became interested in animation and decided to become an animator. The company's owner A.V. Cauger allowed him to borrow a camera from work to experiment with at home. Disney read the Edwin G. Lutz book Animated Cartoons: How They Are Made, Their Origin and Development, then considered celanimation to be much more promising than the cutout animation that he was doing for Cauger. He eventually decided to open his own animation business and recruited Ad Company co-worker Fred Harman as his first employee. Disney and Harman then started creating cartoons called Laugh-O-Grams. Disney studied Aesop's Fables as a model. The first six of the new Laugh-O-Grams were modernized fairy tales. They screened their cartoons at a local theater owned by Frank Newman, who was one of the most popular "showmen" in Kansas City.


July 09, 2015
 Daisy Sparks / SourceMacSparky & Me.As our kids have gotten older and with MacSparky's new job, we now have more time to do some fun Disney Date Nites. A couple Saturdays ago, MacSparky and I choose to attend a fun event, Roast Bob Gurr, hosted by Ape Pen Publishing. Bob had requested that attendees come in their 1950s best attire. So it was fun to get dressed up, meet up with fellow Disney friend, and enjoy a entertaining evening.I found out about the event through one of my many Disney related Disney feeds. In the last year, I've become more interested in getting to know who are Disney Legends , specifically those that had significant contributions to creating Disneyland. It's been a fascinating adventure. So, anytime I can find an opportunity to meet, hear, and learn about some Disney Legends, especially people who really helped create Disneyland from ground up and received direction from Walt Disney himself, I try to attend. Bob Gurr was a Walt Disney Imagineer (WDI) whose most important contributions are in the vehicles you ride at Disneyland. There is a saying that " If it has wheels, Bob Gurr, probably build it." He is credited for designing the Monorail, Main Street Vehicles, the Autopia, Haunted Mansion and Matterhorn ride systems. When he left WDI, he went on to create the King Kong Encounter for Universal Studios Hollywood (CA). The following are the panel of friends who were up to roasting Bob Gurr were:
Garner Holt, founder of Garner Holt Productions, Marty Sklar, longtime executive at Walt Disney Imagineering and Disney Legend Michael Broggie; historian and author of Walt Disney's Railroad Story, Eric Johnston; Emmy-winning audio mixer and Bob Gurr's nephew ,Christopher Crump, Senior Imagineer at WDI and son of Disney Legend, Rolly Crump Disney Imagineer, Host Was Carlene Thie of Ape Pen Publishing, and the guest speaker was John Eaden from Disneyland's Golden Horseshoe Revuew.

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