Interesting that they chose "Can Do" as the main title of the window tribute...as that term has always famously been the nickname of Admiral Joe Fowler. Almost everyone humorously referred to Joe as "Can Do" after Walt nicknamed him "Can Do, The Magician" because he was always saying in his rapid fire way (which I personally heard many times), "Can do! Can do!" And did...often accomplishing the "impossible."
One such story appears on the official Disney Legends web site on Joe:
Fellow Disney Legend Bob Matheison once recalled a day when Joe and Walt stood looking at a stage in Adventureland, which featured a waterfall and a dressing room off to the side.
Bob said, "Walt turned to Joe and said, "I'd like to part the water and let the entertainers come out, and then have the waterfall close behind them."
"Joe never batted an eye. He just said, "Can do, can do." I know he had no idea how he was going to part the water, but he said it without hesitation - "can do." And, by golly, he did it."
I recall at the Grand Opening of the Yacht and Beach Club Resorts at Walt Disney World...where Admiral Joe was the honored guest...Dick Nunis asked me, "Have you met Can Do yet?"
Now, no question that Roger was also a can-do kinda guy. No question at all. And he would certainly be deserving of that nickname. It's just that it seems odd to me that they chose this term which has been so greatly associated with Joe.
Hope someone at the company didn't just screw up with their history, and mis-attributed the nickname?
Opus, I assure you that you were not the only one to have been surprised by the name of the "Machine Works." Many of us familiar with the Admiral's catch phrase throught the same thing upon seeing the window.
If I hear any word about this, I will pass it along.
For those who couldn't make it (myself included), Matt Walker, known on many of these boards as StartedByAMouse, was kind enough to transcribe his recording of the event. Here it is, thanks to Matt:
Dapper Dans open the event singing: “… When You Wish Upon A Star …”
Disneyland President Ed Grier: Thank you. And thanks to the Dapper Dans for that nice, nice welcome.
Good morning, everyone. And welcome to Disneyland.
We’re here this morning to pay tribute to a renowned Disney Imagineer, Roger Broggie, with his own window right here on Main Street USA. To those who don’t know, the shop windows on Main Street pay special tribute to Disney cast members and their names are hand-painted on the glass. These windows are a permanent tribute to the passion and dedication of those who’s touched others and had such as a positive impact on the Disneyland Resort.
Today, I’m pleased to have one of Roger’s colleagues tell us about some of his accomplishments. Ladies and gentlemen, please give a warm welcome to Executive Vice President and Imagineering Ambassador, Marty Sklar.
DDs: “… The dream that you wish will come true …”
Marty Sklar: Well, the first thing that I think we should say in tribute to Roger is probably nothing.
Only because Roger was such a silent type and that was the impression that most of us had until we got into a social situation with Roger. But around Imagineering, he was always the strong, silent type who knew exactly where he was going and had a great liaison with Walt Disney and all the top people.
You know, Roger started at the studio in 1939 working on the Multiplane Camera. And soon connected with Ub Iwerks and they worked on special effects, camera cranes and things like that.
And in 1949, Roger worked with Walt on building the Lilly Belle. And the Lilly Belle, as you know, first became part of his Carolwood Pacific Railroad. And then was blown up basically in drawings and became the first train of the Santa Fe/Disneyland line.
In 1950, Roger became the head of the machine shop at the studio. Now, the machine shop did everything. Special effects. Operated all the cameras. Repaired all the cameras. And that led to Roger working with Wathel Rogers on a nine-inch figure, which they shot Buddy Ebsen doing a dance routine. It was for a little project Walt wanted to do called Project America … Americana … and that was the beginning of Audio-Animatronics. Well, flash forward, the machine shop became MAPO. MAPO created all the Audio-Animatronic figures for Disneyland – Lincoln … Pirates … everything else. And the World’s Fair shows. And all the ride systems for the park. Many of which were built in the shop at MAPO in Glendale. And Roger was responsible for all of that. For leading the teams that did all of that work.
And I think particularly noteworthy even though many of us would say that if we likened Roger to any of the seven dwarfs, it would be Grumpy.
Nevertheless, his relationship with Joe Fowler, who built Disneyland and Walt Disney World, and Dick Irvine, who headed up Imagineering, was so close. And they were all so passionate and believed so strongly in what Walt Disney was doing that it was just like a little triumvirate and I think that when the history of the Disney parks is written, the three people who are more or less the unsung heroes will go down as three of the most important people who started this business, which is now at 11 parks and resorts around the world, and that is Joe Fowler, Dick Irvine and Roger Broggie.
So it is more than appropriate that we dedicate this window to Roger and to thank him for so many wonderful things and leading so many great people who’ve created so much magic for the Disney parks.
EG: Thank you, Marty. Now, I think we can use a little assistance here. Is anyone out there that can really help us out with this reveal?
DDs: “… Who’s the Leader of the club that’s made for you and me? M-I-C-K-E-Y. M-O-U-S-E …”
EG: So Mickey, are you ready to help us reveal Roger’s window? All right, then. Gentlemen.
DDs humming as Mickey pulls a rope to unveil the window.
It may be hard for you to read it from here but the inscription reads:
Machine Works. More than that.
Live Steam Engines.
Advisor to the Magic Makers.
Very impressive. We are also honored to have with us today Roger’s son, Michael. Michael, would you come up please?
DDs: “… on old Main Street …”
Michael Broggie: Thank you, Dapper Dans. Don’t they do a great job?
Well, good morning and welcome. As I look out here, I see many, many Broggies. Probably more Broggies gathered in one place, at one time, ever in history.
Now I know in our family there’s eight of us who have worked for the Disney Company. I was a cast member here at the park; later worked at the studio. My older brother Roger is here and he spent 25 years with the company. Gary is the head of the machine shop at the studio following directly in my father’s footsteps. So, we have over 120 years or so of Disney time within our family. The majority of that was my father’s. So, the fact that there is now a window here on Main Street …
Fifty-two years ago, I was running around this place as a kid watching it being built. That was before OSHA.
Some kids even got in trouble doing that. I never did.
And we were test driving the Autopia prototypes that Bob Gurr designed. Roger and I were up at the studio trying to break them. ‘Cause that was our job. To make them kid-proof. They figured if the Broggie kids couldn’t break the Autopia cars then the public when they came to drive them couldn’t break them either. So that was our job to make those little cars kid-proof.
But in thinking back of the time of our family and in being in the park – particularly opening day – and all of the Imagineers were put to work here in the park. Because the task of building this park and operating it was kind of a work in progress. There were no manuals of how to run this place. It was kind of learn as you go.
And so my father, when they were doing to first testing of the Casey Jr. ride, he was taking Casey Jr. up the first incline and the front end of the engine started to lift off the track and was coming back over the top of my father. And a worker saw what was going to happen, ran over and jumped on the front of the engine and pulled it back down on the track and kept it from rolling over onto my father, who would have been pinned underneath, perhaps seriously injured, possibly even killed. And that worker saved my father’s life. And my dad said, the park is going to open in just a few days, no one will drive this engine except me. So on opening day, it was Roger Broggie running the Casey Jr. engine for that first crowd when we opened the gates. So we think of Casey Jr. as part of the natural legacy. But it could have been a very serious part of the Broggie family legacy.
You know, I’m thinking about the place in history and what this day represents and I’m so pleased that so many of you can be here with us – friends and family. In fact, my father’s sister is here, Doris, I haven’t seen Doris in over, oh, 50 years, and so I’m so glad that you’re here. Ninety-two years old.
You know, I’m thinking about my father, I’m thinking of the words of John F. Kennedy, paraphrasing a comment that he made to a group of Nobel Laureates who were gathered at the White House and in reference to Thomas Jefferson. He made a comment that I’ll paraphrase: Thinking of my father and the Broggie family that’s here today … so many of us … that there’s probably never been so much Broggie talent represented in the park then here today except perhaps when my father was here alone.
Enjoy your day here in remembrance of my father. It’s been 16 years since he passed. And he’s here in spirit and I’m glad you’re all here to share it with us. Thank you very much.
EG: Thank you, Michael. And we do appreciate you being here today.
And we have something for you also. This is really for you to remember your father’s accomplishments. So we are proud to present to you a replica of the window.
I think Michael wants to take it right now.
Don’t worry, we’ll get it to you. So, just …
As Marty mentioned, Roger was quite the railroad enthusiast. In fact, he helped Walt build a miniature railroad in his backyard in his Holmby Hills home. And later, he was instrumental in the design and development of the Disneyland and Santa Fe Railroad right here in the park. As he and Walt would circle the Magic Kingdom on the railroad they built, they may have whistled a tune just like this one:
DDs: I’ve been working on the railroad, all my livelong days.
I’ve been working on the railroad, just to pass the time away.
Don’t you hear the whistle blowing?
Rise up so early in the morn’.
Don’t you hear the captain shouting?
Roger, blow your horn.
Roger, blow your horn.
[E.P. Ripley whistle blasts]
Announcer: From all of us at the Disneyland Resort, thank you for joining us this morning. We now invite you to board the E.P. Ripley and join us on a railway trip to New Orleans Square for a special breakfast reception. All passengers … ‘board.
DDs: “… right down the middle of Main Street USA …”
And that led to Roger working with Wathel Rogers on a nine-inch figure, which they shot Buddy Ebsen doing a dance routine. It was for a little project Walt wanted to do called Project America … Americana … and that was the beginning of Audio-Animatronics.
What a coincidence! Just about 15 minute ago, I posted a link in another thread to a Super 8 Sound Home Movie I shot at the Walt Disney Story in Florida in 1974. At the very beginning of that clip, you can see that very Buddy Ebsen "Dancing Man" and the Barbershop Quartet that Roger and Wathel also worked on, that they had on display back then.