Editor’s Note: I am thrilled my friend Mary from Along Comes Mary was able to attend this special Disney Legends event on my behalf! Be sure to stop by her blog where you will find other great posts detailing the fun of several VIP Disney events!
When I am at Disneyland, you know what I sometimes forget? That every single attraction within the parks was man made and designed by incredibly hard working “Imaginieers“. These magical people have worked so hard through the years to create some of our most cherished memories through the years.
Back in the day, Walt Disney handpicked all of the Imagineers to make Disneyland come true and open its doors in 1955. One of these creators was Bob Gurr, whom Disney hired to assist on Autopia. Gurr went onto be the mastermind behind such beloved attractions as The Matterhorn Bobsleds, Submarine Voyage, The Haunted Manson….and, ready for it? The Monorail.
I was thrilled to attend Combat Radio’s L-I-V-E event with Bob Gurr and some very special guests including Tad Stones and Margaret Kerry. Stones is probably best known for working as a Producer on such classics as Aladdin and Darkwing Duck, while Kerry is someone we all know and love….Kerry was a young woman when she was hired to be the model for Tinker Bell in Peter Pan!
DJ Ethan Dettenmaier is the man behind this wonderful charity event that was held at Gordon Biersch Bar and Grill in Burbank. Proceeds from your dinner, as well as a remarkable silent auction and raffle loaded with memorabilia to make any Disney fan drop to their knees (Gurr signed original prints of Disneyland? Home Improvement scripts? E tickets?!!?) were all going to a local school for homeless children; it was heartbreaking as Dettenmaier described one too many common scenarios for the students at this school; such as which side of the sidewalk they will be spending the night on, and that we may see many of the children’s families as we drive The 110. At Gurr’s urging, it was decided to not make this a soiree for the Disney execs and employees, but, the devoted FANS of Walt Disney and his creations.
Not only is Mr. Gurr a genius, how the heck does one design The Matterhorn?! but he was also one of the sweetest, down to earth people, who made his entrance by stopping by every table to ensure that all his admirers got their selfies with him.
Gurr, who was made a Disney Legend in 2004, had so many unique, fond memories of the early days at Disneyland, including the short lived casual dining restaurant, Chicken of the Sea and being the first person EVER to ride The Matterhorn.
He had nothing but praise when he spoke of his boss, the late, great, legend himself, Walt Disney. Disney was all about choosing the right people to make his dreams reality. Gurr himself did not even have an engineering background, but Disney knew he was the man for the job to make many rides come to life at his land.
Margaret Kerry, who is 86 years young, was absolutely adorable and told her tales of being in the industry like it was yesterday. Working since she was a child during The Great Depression (making a whopping $8 a day) and explained that until working with Disney, she was always told what to do, not asked, and was floored at the respect and compassion she received when working as Tinker Bell.
What does one do to create one of the most iconic characters known in history? Kelly was told, simply, to be herself, and thus, how Tink was born. Kerry has been writing a book for the past few years, and it is at last scheduled to be released later this year.
Meeting some of the folks who have made Disney and Disneyland the magical place it is was phenomenal, and I am so grateful for this opportunity, as well as making some much needed funds for our homeless youth. Bravo!