The Disney Avenue Podcast is back with a VERY special guest I think you may have heard of…Marty Sklar! Dusty Sage joins host Keith Michael Mahne for another fantastic interview with a man that needs no introduction. Marty talks about joining the Disney Company, working and writing for Walt Disney, his old pals John Hench and Herb Ryman, finding out Walt had passed away, whether he will attend the opening of Shanghai Disney and so much more. This is a show you definitely won’t want to miss.
As former vice chairman and principal creative executive of Walt Disney Imagineering, Marty Sklar stood as a dedicated torchbearer of Walt Disney’s philosophy since first joining the company a month before Disneyland opened in 1955. He helped express and preserve Walt’s spirit of optimism, happiness, and hope for the future through attractions and special exhibitions in Disney theme parks around the world.
For more than 50 years, Walt’s inspiration has burned in Marty. He once said, “Working with Walt Disney was the greatest ‘training by fire’ anyone could ever experience. Our training was by Walt, who was always there pitching in with new ideas and improving everyone else’s input. The fire was that we were constantly breaking new ground to create deadline projects never attempted before in this business. That, I’m proud to say, has never stopped in my years at Disney.”
During his early years at Disney, Marty not only learned Walt’s philosophy firsthand, but metabolized and translated it into materials he wrote for the master showman which were used in publications, television appearances, and special films. Among them was a 20-minute movie devoted to communicating Walt’s vision of EPCOT, his Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, originally intended to help resolve the urban challenges found in American cities.
Marty first became an Imagineering officer in 1974 when appointed vice president, concepts and planning, a role in which he guided creative development of Epcot Center at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. In 1979, he was named vice president of creative development, followed by executive vice president in 1982. He served as president and vice chairman from 1987 to 1996.
As vice chairman, Marty provided leadership for the Imagineering creative staff, delivering breakthrough entertainment concepts for Disney parks and resorts including Disneyland Paris, the Tokyo Disney Resort, and Hong Kong Disneyland.
In 2001, Marty was recognized as a Disney Legend. He retired from Disney on July 17, 2009, after 53 years with the company. He currently serves as president of Ryman Arts, whose program for Young Artists honors the late Herb Ryman. Ryman Arts is a favorite charity of MiceChat.com. More information about Ryman Arts can be found at here.
The Disney Avenue Podcast is brought to you by Keith Michael Mahne, owner and editor of the Disney fan site DisneyAvenue.com. If you enjoy what you hear today, please be sure to leave a comment below and also subscribe, rate and review the show on iTunes by clicking here.
This episode of the Disney Avenue Podcast is brought to you by the O-Zell Soda Company. All proceeds go to restoring and preserving Walt Disney’s Birthplace home in Chicago, IL!