Tuesday, February 16, 2010

" You are... Renaissance People "

You've probably heard before that Ray Bradbury, the legendary Sci-Fi author of "Martian Chronicles" and "Fahrenheit 451" once said that WDI Imagineers were "Renaissance people". This Bradbury quote is very famous but do you know why and when Ray Bradbury said this? Just like you probably, i didn't knew... until two days ago, when i saw this Ebay auction: "Rare 1976 Walt Disney Imagineering Ray Bradbury Speech".

Described as "Original paper given to Disney Imagineers "You are Renaissance People" Excerpts from two addresses by Ray Bradbury to WED and MAPO Imagineers on December 23, 1976", this Ebay item intrigued me. So, you know how i am, i had a closer look to it and realized that this was probably the origin of Ray Bradbury's famous quote!

Above: Ray bradbury in 1975

The document has only four pages but what a great piece of history! On the first one is the title "You are... Renaissance People" and on the last one only the copyright with a Mickey logo, but it's the middle pages who are of great interest as it is there you'll find the complete text that Ray Bradbury adresses to WED and MAPO Imagineers on his talk, back in 1976.

Double-click on the picture below to read this historical text.

Mind you, the relation between Ray Bradbury with Disney didn't start on December 23, 1976. As you can read in this chapter called "The Disney Connection" from "Ray Bradbury Uncensored! : The Unauthorized Biography" that i strongly recommand you to read on this link.

In this chapter Ray Bradbury remembers some of his meetings with Walt Disney, back in the 1950's:

And Marty Sklar tell us how WDI asked Ray Bradbury to work on Epcot's Spaceship earth concept:

Few lines below it's Bradbury himself who describe how he had conceived Epcot's iconic attraction:

Years later Ray Bradbury worked again with WDI Imagineer Tim Delaney on the Orbitron concept for Disneyland Paris Discoveryland. Imagineer Pat Burke who worked on DLP Frontierland, including Phantom Manor remember: "Ray Bradbury was a common fixture walking around the halls of WED, as he was the New Voice for Walt's Epcot and World Showcase for Walt Disney World. Walt's friend John DeCuir Senior could visualize what the project could possibly become. Harper Goff realized it on a working plan. Ray Bradbury expressed it in words that we could all visualize as we worked on the many concept models and pieces of the Bigger Pie as we sometimes called the model. We often sat with Ray Bradbury at lunch and listened to his stories and concepts. I was able to attend his play on his Martian Chronicles at a small theater near the old Disney Hyperion Studio. Having read it in school in the early 60's, this was a great event seeing it with the actual writer present and get his questions and answers afterwards. When Disney produced in 1983 "Something Wicked This Way Comes" starring Jason Robards and Jonathan Pryce, based on the Bradbury novel of the same name, we were allowed to preview it at the Studio, as we were often allowed back then. We were all amazed at the special effects in the film and how some of the film treatments might be used in our projects at WDI, as we were called by then. The corpse in the Mortuary window coming to life in the coffin was an eerie experience. The Carousel scene that followed was hypnotic. I had hoped these could be used in the Haunted Mansion or even our DLP Thunder Mesa, when we were going to have a carriage barn for the Manor. I had even located 2 hearses for the Manor and wanted to employ Ray's Coffin effects. Budget cutbacks erased the DLP plans but not the thoughts and Images Ray had created for us on many levels".

So, you see, Ray Bradbury has been a lot of inspiration for WDI Imagineers. This Ebay auction with this historical document will end today Feb 17, 2010 at precisely 16:02:18 PST (1 A.M Paris time, Midnight London time). If you're interested you still have time to bid on it. At the time i post this article the top bid is $11.50 which is ridiculously low for such a piece of Imagineering history. But remember: there is only one copy of it, and only one of you will get it!

There's nothing better than to see Ray Bradbury talking in person to understand how great - and cool - he was. So i didn't resist to embed this 2001 video. Bradbury who was at that time 81 years old did a speech at the Sixth Annual Writer's Symposium by the Sea where he delighted his audience with stories about his life and love of writing. Take the time to watch the video, Ray Bradbury is fantastic on it!

Thanks to leave a comment or discuss this article on D&M english forum on Mice Chat

Pictures: copyright Disney

Ray Bradbury Uncensored! : The Unauthorized Biography screen captures: copyright iUniverse, Inc


Anonymous said...

"How great he was"? You know he's still alive, right?

Anonymous said...

Ray Bradbury is an amazing man. Someone who can keep their spirit of childish wonder all their life is a person who should be looked up to. He has a great outlook on life.