Any time that you can listen to a Disney Legend talk about what it was like to work at the Disney Studios, with Walt on Disneyland projects or reminisce about other Disney Legends, it’s an incredibly rare treat. I’ve had the opportunity to work with Jeff Heimbuch on so many projects over the past few years and I’m incredibly proud of his work with Rolly Crump. The release of the spectacular It’s Kind of a Cute Story led Jeff and Leonard Kinsey of Bamboo Forest Publishing to release audio compilations of Rolly talking about some pretty monumental events and people.
On the heels of the 50th anniversary of the opening of the 1964/65 New York World’s Fair, Bamboo Forest Publishing has released volume 4 in the More Cute Stories series. It’s 60 minutes dedicated to the creation, development and installation of the four Disney attractions. Most Disney historians agree that the 64 New York World’s Fair was a watershed moment for the company. Not just as a testing bed for how accepting the East Coast would be for Disney attraction, but also as a touchstone for breakthroughs in attractions, technology and people movement. During the time of planning and installation, Rolly was one of Walt’s favorite people at the studios and Walt asked Rolly to be personally involved on all of the projects. The firsthand accounts that Rolly shares are insightful, heartwarming and very funny. Not only do we hear about the planning for the attractions, but Rolly shares some cute stories about being at the Fair and keeping things running (fairly) smoothly.
As far as the stories, Rolly does mention a few things that I’d not heard before and relates some very direct tales about working with Bob Gurr, Mary Blair, Claude Coats, Alice Davis and Jack Fergus. It’s obvious that Rolly has a lot of love for his fellow Disney Legends, Walt and the work done by Disney at the Fair. Beyond the normal stories about the pavilions, Rolly shares some very funny stories about installing them in New York and dealing with unions, Disney accountants, experiencing certain foods for the first time and seeing snow for the first time in his life. Rolly shares some very touching memories about Mary Blair, her children and being with the Blairs while in New York.
There’s also a very surprising story about an Imagineer that might have had a little too much to drink.
Some of the stories were finally able to confirm tales I’d heard but could not document. There were some practical jokes played in the waterways of it’s a small world and a tale about gangs and Mr. Lincoln. I’d heard from a good friend that people had picked up ball bearings from a neighboring pavilion and threw them at Lincoln to prove he was a real person. It turned out that local gangs were shooting ball bearings at him so they did need to replace Lincoln’s skin quite often. As my comments when I reviewed the three other audio releases, simply hearing Rolly tell us these tales is nothing short of wonderful. You can hear the smile in his voice and you can feel the warmth and love that he felt for the Disney Legends he worked with. It’s a great to experience the World’s Fair from a designer’s perspective as well as just seeing what it was like to be part of the World’s Fair experience.
More Cute Stories, Volume 4: 1964/65 New York World’s Fair is a wonderful resource to add to your collection as well as just a way to enjoy an hour of time with Rolly Crump. Grab a copy today; I guarantee you’ll enjoy it.
Which World’s Fair pavilion do you wish you could visit?
ImagiNERDing is written and edited by George Taylor
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