Friday, April 24, 2009
It's a true Imagineering legend who announces today in a letter to "All Imagineers" that he will say "goodbye" to Walt Disney Imagineering on July 17 this year.
Disney Legend Marty Sklar began as a Disney cast-member 53 years ago at Disneyland’s public relations department and joined WED Enterprises in 1961 where his Imagineer career began. His career at WDI "grew from Staff Writer to Vice President of Concepts and Planning, and then to President and Vice-Chairman and Principal Creative Executive of Imagineering".
His role in the creative development of EPCOT is well known, but we must not forget his participation in countless attractions and theme park projects, most of them beloved by Disney guests.
I never met Marty, but i almost did twice: the first time was at Tokyo Disney Sea grand opening where i was invited as journalist. I asked for an interview of Marty, but due to his schedule it didn't happen. The second time was at Walt Disney Studios opening during the Disney Legend ceremony. The event was inside the Art of Animation building, and Marty was there to receive his Disney Legend award. Everybody was sitting in the theatre and listening to Michael Eisner ceremony introduction speech, and personally i was sitting right behind Marty! Marty was going to receive his award some minutes later, and obviously it was not the right time for a talk with him.
Disney and more, as you know, is a daily tribute to Imagineering, and it is with sadness that i learned Marty's decision today. When, on July 17, Marty Sklar will become a retired imagineer, it will be the end of an era. Marty Sklar is not only one of the last Disney Imagineer who knew personally Walt Disney, but Walt's inspiration has burned in Marty: "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."
I want to add that i will be always grateful to Marty for his great support during the long making of the "Disneyland Paris, From Sketch to Reality" book. Without him, this marvelous book will probably not exist today. Thanks again, Marty!
Photo: copyright Disney