Friday, April 28, 2017

Rare 1992 WDEye Issue Included DLP Imagineers Stories About DLP Making and Great Artwork Cover by Hani El Masri Showing Disneyland Paris Show-Producers Crossing the Atlantic !

You may not know it but from 1989 to 1999 a WDI in-house magazine was released for WDI Imagineers only. Jeff Kurtti was the first editor of WDEye and sent in 2008 to my co-author Didier Ghez for Didier's Disney History blog the following information about it.

"The magazine was created in the Communications department at WDI, since the Imagineer population had increased so much (a lot of "newbies"), and had spread all over the world. The idea was to create a communication that educated, updated, and helped bind the culture together.

The art, writing, and photography were pretty much all in-house and volunteer, and we had meetings to solicit ideas, contributions, and content.

Betsy Richman was in charge of the thing, I was the editor of issues One through Eight (I moved over to a new job at the Studio after that). I also wrote a large chunk of the content.

And of course, as always, Marty Sklar pored over every word with his relentless red pen! ;-) Gino De Young in the WDI Graphics Department designed and produced the first five issues, it then got to be too much for him to keep sacrificing every evening and weekend for free to do it, so an outside firm began to do the design.

It went away for a while, cam back with a whole new creative team, mission, and form, then went away again."

Above: WDEye 1998 Issue about Disney's Animal Kingdom

Here is the list of WDEye issues as listed by Didier Ghez in 2008:

November 1989 - Issue 1 - Wonders of Life
December 1989 - Issue 2 - MGM Studios
January 1990 - Issue 3 - 3 Men and a Business Plan
February 1990 - Issue 4 - Love Imagineering Style
April 1990 - Issue 5 - Jungle Fever
Summer 1990 - Issue 6 - Old Kids on the Block
Winter 1990 - Issue 7 - Fantasia is 50
Spring 1991 - Issue 8 - Lifestyles of the Budget
1991 - Issue 9 - Cartoon Sketching Map of WDI 1991
Spring 1992 - Issue 10 - Crossing the Atlantic
Fall 1992 - Issue 11 - Molding the Magic
Winter 1992 - Issue 12 - WDI 40th Anniversary
Spring 1993 - Issue 13 - TDL 10 Years Old
Summer 1993 - Issue 14 - Unsung Heroes of WDI
Winter 1993 - Issue 15 - Disney America
Spring 1994 - Issue 16 - WDW Tower of Terror

July 1996 - Fantasia Gardens - Premiere Issue
August 1996 - The Disneyland Resort
September 1996 - First E Ticket at EPCOT
September 1996 - Marty Sklar's 40 Years with Disney
Oct / Nov 1996 - WDW 25th Anniversary
January 1997 - Happy New Year
April / May 1997 - Club Disney
Summer 1997 - The New Amsterdam Theater
Winter 1998 - 1997 Year in Review
Summer 1998 - Disney's Animal Kingdom
Fall 1998 - Disney Cruise Line
Winter 1999 - Test Track

Now, for the Spring 1992 issue, the cover artwork was created by the great Hani El Masri who, at that time, was a very new Imagineer at WDI. Hani was charged with doing caricature portraits of Disneyland Paris five show producers and Tony Baxter? But at that time Hani he didn't know them and he sure didn't know what they all looked like because they were all working in Paris and Hani was in Glendale! So, he had to get all sorts of reference photos from anyone and everyone who could help him with that. It was a real job for Hani and he was worried that their caricatures were accurate. Marty Sklar was the one who ultimately approved that cover below and those likenesses.

Hani's illustration of WDI’s creative leaders for EDL was inspired by the 1851 Emanuel Leutze painting, “Washington Crossing the Delaware,” and features (clockwise) senior vice president Tony Baxter and show producers Eddie Sotto (Main Street), Chris Tietz (Adventureland), Tom Morris (Fantasyland), Jeff Burke (Frontierland), Tinker Bell and Tim Delaney (Discoveryland). With the triumphant opening of EDL behind them, this hardy band of Imagineers returns to the U.S. — “Imagineering Crossing the Atlantic.”

This artwork is currently on display in a very private but gorgeous exhibit at Walt Disney Imagineering of original artwork done for the creation of DLP. The exhibit is celebrating the 25th anniversary of Disneyland Paris, and it's a wonderful tribute to the team of concept designers who contributed to the creation of DLP. There's work by a lot of former Imagineers: Tim Delaney, Nina Rae Vaughn, Julie Svendsen, Frank Armitage, Bryan Jowers, John Horny, Eddie Sotto, the great Dan Goozee and many others.

In the same 1992 issue, many DLP Imagineers were telling short stories about the making of DLP. The WDEye article continues:
"They are safely back home now like soldiers of old, back from the wars, their ranks tired but victorious and proud. For years these Imagineers had been in the trenches, had toiled in the mud, rain and snow. Days beyond counting. Weeks without end. Like an earlier generation these men and women had fought on French soil, but this time there was no Maginot line nor an enemy about to invade their kingdom. Their common foe was the clock and the budget and ultimately theirs was the uncommon victory of making EDL happen, on time, on budget. Theirs was a feat without precedent on the continent of Europe. So before the colors fade and the sound of fanfares die, let us hear some of the stories of those hearty souls just back from the front…

Stan Abrahams
Animation Development
 “The sword-fighting pirates was the most complex sequence we’ve ever tried to program. These two guys nearly destroyed each other as they were being programmed. They’d tangle up their swords, punch each other, even tear the hair off of each other. We replaced clevies (U-shaped hackles), strengthened the arms, changed the swords. Doug Griffith and Eric Swapp did an incredible programming job, but not without a battle — a literal battle!”

Mark Handon
Ride Development
“Last December, we had a day where we were testing the steam trains. We’d alerted everyone to the fact that we were going to take the trains out and away we go through the Pirates of the Caribbean tunnel to the Fantasyland Station. There we come to a grinding halt, because there’s a contractor pouring colored concrete, positioned over the train tracks. He’s just finishing up the train station platform. So we have a little conversation, and it’s decided that they’ll move their rig. Before they can do that, however, they have to clean out the concrete hose. To do this, you pump a foam ball through the hose, and it clears out the concrete. They’re in the process of doing this, and all of a sudden, there’s a huge explosion when the foam ball emerges. Six guys standing near the freshly poured platform topple backwards into it. The hose is whirling wildly overhead, like a sprinkler gone wacky, spraying the trains, the station, and all twenty or so people in the vicinity with fresh, wet, sticky colored concrete. You can’t wash concrete out of a beard or mustache — you have to cut it out.”

And more: “I was in the roundhouse with Bob Harper, our railroad guru from Walt Disney World. In walk Jim Cora and Dick Nunis. They talk with Bob about the corning October 12 press event, because they want to run the trains during the event. ‘Well, Bob, there’s no question about who’s going to drive the train,’ says Dick, but who’s going to be your fireman?’ At which point, I yell out, ‘I’ll do it.’ ‘Not with that beard,’ says Dick. ‘Not a problem, I’ll shave it off,’ I say. Dick says, ‘You’re on. Just send me the before and after photos.’ The evening of October 11, I shave. The next morning, my wife rolls over in bed, opens her eyes, and screams-she didn’t know who was in bed with her. I patch that up, get into full costume and go drive the trains with Bob. I have to tell you, it was the happiest day of my life. My beard is now part of my marital contract. And Dick’s still waiting for those photos.”

Aric Adolph
Production Management
“In support of the effort to ‘light up’ Euro Disneyland, about 5,008 light fixtures had to be designed, procured and shipped to France. By January ‘92, the team had successfully completed and shipped 4,989 fixtures-or so we thought. In late January, we received the painful breaking news that 510 lighting poles we had sent to France were cracking and if we couldn’t send replacements within 30 days, we risked delaying the Park opening. The then disbanding themed lighting team regrouped to expedite a ‘crash pole recovery program’ and, within 28 business days, shipped all 510 replacement poles to France-on schedule!”

Beth Ann Brody
Show Set Design
“For the jewel scene in Pirates of the Caribbean, we used over 30,000 gold coins to dress the area. There I was, happily pasting coins down with silicone gel, when all of a sudden I leaned back and sat in a pool of the stuff all over a new pair of pants and a sweater. It doesn’t come out, let me tell you. The only way to get out of the scene was to jump off the boat to get to the other side, and many times we missed the boat and fell into the water. You think silicone gel is bad, try being wet when it’s 20 degrees outside! I was assisted in this noble endeavor by a great crew of French and British nineteen or twenty-year-olds, all extremely talented.”

Geoff Puckett
Special Effects
“The Fantasyland castle team was racing against time to get the castle finished for the October 12 press event. We’d had numerous meetings to discuss installing the three ‘polage’ windows, the stained glass windows with special polarized images and colors. The tallest tower window, ‘T-1,’ was scheduled to be lifted into place two days before the big celebration. At installation, during the ten-minute lowering of the crane’s platform, Chalmer Day, the castle coordinator, asked me if I had a problem swapping the T-1 window with a regular stained glass window, so the polage would be positioned facing Fantasyland instead of Main Street. Chalmer said Tony Baxter thought it would make more sense. Tony was right it did but there went all those months of planning, the trip to the production vendor in Milan, Italy, and countless discussions with the project engineer, not to mention the steel modifications to allow access for equipment installation that would now be necessary. The French have a way, when they don’t want to do something, of saying ‘it’s imposseeble,’ and at this point I said ‘it’s impos-seeble.’ The next thing I knew, two guys were hacksawing the custom-built illuminator frame to make it fit into the newly designated window. An hour later the pieces were in the tower and two days later the reversed polage was impressing everyone from its highly visible position above Fantasyland. So much for meetings and paperwork!”

Katie Olson
Show Design
“In January, the paint would literally freeze on the brush before you could get it on the walls. We had to tent the buildings on Main Street and use salamander heaters (gas-burning cooking ovens) to get the temperature up to paint. Sometimes I had to tell the guys to stop painting because it was too cold, and there’d be a big cheer! The funniest sight was walking down Main Street at tea time and seeing everyone roasting weenies and heating food up on the salamander heaters because they had big flames.”

Keith Goodrich
Show Production
“I lived in Esbly just minutes from the site, and in the spring and summer, I rode my bicycle through the French countryside to the site and back. There is this beautiful town on the way called Coupvray with a scenic canal off the Marne River Riding through the site, the workers were unaccustomed to seeing someone arrive to work on a bike. I got the strangest looks! Of course, I rode with a helmet and a Walkman.”

Don Winton
Show Production Design
“The funniest moment I remember was when we almost had an international incident because one nationality was working on the floor above another nationality. It is customary in Europe for men to urinate in the open, and the men working on the lower floor walked off the job because they were getting wet. A major negotiation took place to get the men back to work. Similar bizarre peacemaking efforts went on all the time.”

Eddie Sotto
Concept Design
“There’s a recording of a barking dog on Market Street that plays all night long, even when the Park is closed. As we all know, EDL Security Hosts walk the Park with their security dogs late at night. One night, as one of the guards passed Market Street, he heard the howl of a dog emanating from the second story of one of the buildings. Thinking that one of the beloved security dogs was accidentally upstairs, the guard summoned help until there was a swarm of fellow officers combing the upstairs catwalks and rafters of the empty show building. The frantic guards searched in vain until they finally found the ‘dog’ peering out of an upstairs window-disguised as an audio cable and a loudspeaker!”

Mark Stutz
Show Production Design
“While most of the CIRCLE-VISION®360 set was built in the States, we had the new EDL Central Shops design a steel lean rail for us in Europe. Because the rail had to go all the way around the set, we specified that it be made in sections, but our instructions suffered in the translation and we ended up with a solid steel railing 30 to 40 feet across. Nobody knew how to move it. It took about 20 Irish workers just to pick the thing up and hoist it onto an enormous flatbed truck. And we blocked traffic for an hour it was an epic.”

Terry Villosenor
Show System Coordination
“A representative from the French Bureau Veritas came to the Park to witness a safety test on a prototype canoe. We piled 20 Operations kids into the canoe and had them paddle about, rock the boat and stand up. We even had them dump it over, then flip it right-side-up and sit inside, waist-deep in water. Convinced this thing was perfectly safe, the guy motioned the canoe back to the dock. Everyone was happy, shaking hands and as we ushered him out, one of the guys slipped and fell in what had just been determined a safe canoe.”

Ken Lennon
Show Lighting
“One Monday morning at 6 a.m., I noticed I was low on gas and pulled off the highway to find a gas station. I was still asleep, but it’s no excuse-I don’t speak French. I put what I thought was gas in the car from a dispenser marked GASOLE. The car died about 1000 yards out of the station. I hike back to the station, call EuropCar, and at that time in the morning, no one speaks English. Finally, a woman who speaks limited English tells me I’ve put diesel instead of regular gas in the car. There’s a smile in her voice — she’s amused. She tells me she’s sending a tow truck. It’s zero degrees outside. I wait. At 7:30, the tow truck pulls up, and I climb in. The driver speaks no English. We get to my car, and he tries to start it. He points to the gas level-he knows the car’s full. He’s confounded. I start the car, and snowy white smoke billows out of the tailpipe. There’s a big smile on the guy’s face. All he says is Euro Disney?’ I figure he’s seen this little problem several times in the past few years.”

Yvette Robledo
Show System Coordination
“ In Fantasyland , we wanted to do each attraction in its language of origin and decided to do Snow White in Dutch. When the finished main marquee arrived in Europe, Eric Van Dijk (who is Dutch) took a look at it, went bright red in the face and very carefully explained that the literal translation of this sign was a derogatory Dutch term for a part of the female anatomy and could not be used.”

Jenna Frere
Show Design
“A crane was once brought in to help on Adventure Isle, but it sank midwheel into the mud. A second crane tried to rescue the first, but it toppled over sideways and sank, too. Then a third crane tried to pull the first two out and it got stuck. It was — amazing three enormous crashed cranes, just trying to do one little thing on the island, stranded-for days-until someone was finally able to dig them out.”

Richard Brown
Show Production Design
“Last December, Dick Fleshman (Ride Systems) asked me if I would dive under the Rivers of the Far West with him to see why the riverboat was still attached to one of its four mooring pylons. Dick and I are both licensed divers, and you always dive in pairs, so we went out and bought dry suits, put them on over our clothes and waded into the river. The only problem was that it was around 20 degrees outside, with a water temperature of 34 degrees. Luckily, the water was only chest deep, but it was covered with an inch of ice, so every few feet we had stop, break the sheets with our elbows and keep going. At first we snorkeled, but there wasn’t any visibility, so we decided we’d better dive. We went into Phantom Manor to warm up, then put on our tanks to dive. We had to swim in from the stern down an 18-inch tunnel of swirling silt. Visibility was less than arm’s length with flashlights. It was cold, forbidding. My face became numb and the cold crept into my suit. I could see the beam of Dick’s light for awhile, then nothing. I lay under the boat listening to my bubbles, wondering what to do, and thinking how unfun this was. Finally, after what seemed forever, I felt a sharp pounding on my shoulder. Dick had gone out another way and came around for me. After surfacing, the first thing he said was, ‘I got it figured out, so let’s get out of the water.’ All that was needed was to raise the water level of the river another foot. I was glad it was over.”

Steve Blum
Ride Systems Engineering
“Project management relieved a lot of tension with practical jokes. I still don’t think Brad Borgman knows Val Usle was the one who rigged the battery-powered water pistol to empty itself on Brad when he sat down in his chair. The cruel thing about it is that not only did Val get Brad with the gun, he convinced him that Mike Strong was the guy who had done it and stayed up with Brad until the wee hours of the morning to help him play the joke on Mike.”

John Hogg
Show Set Design
“I was walking through Discoveryland early one morning. It was freezing and everyone was minding their own business. All of a sudden, my left foot sticks in something. I look down, and I’m up to my ankles in freshly poured concrete. No markers, no signs, no workers, no warning. I look up, and there’s the OPM (Tony Carton) scowling at me all the way across Discoveryland. To cover my embarrassment I began yelling ‘Where the hell are the barricades? ‘ Twenty minutes later, Mark Stutz does the same thing. Job security for the pavers?” (Tony Catton says, “@#$%^&**@, John and Mark!”)

Nancy Candy
Ride Systems
“The EDL Star Tours motion system test-and-adjust period was six weeks. It was a site regulation to wear steel-toed boots and I chose the smallest size boot available. I wore those things every day, backandforth across the muddy trail to Star Tours. After the first few days, my left foot really hurt. Four weeks later I went to the doctor, who diagnosed gout, and told me if my foot continued to hurt, to get an x-ray if I wasn’t better in a week. Finally, I got an x-ray (my husband insisted), and voila! my foot was broken. The cast took two days to dry! I had to finish up the last eight hours of test and adjust by phone with a stand-in witnessing the remaining tests.”

Francine Agapoff
“I worked with Theme Lighting at EDLI, and part of my job included visits to vendors to monitor the production of lighting fixtures for the park. Clive Dinmore (also of Theme Lighting) and I made a trip to Marrakesh, Morocco in July of ‘91. It was 126 degrees (seriously), and Clive and I (unwisely) drank orange juice in the bazaar on our first day. We both became very ill the Moroccans called it Khadafl’s revenge. We were exhausted Imagine how we felt when we heard that the purchasing agent (with a contracting firm) who had accompanied us on this business trip had been at the hotel all day, shopping, suntanning, having a massage, you name it.”

Pictures: copyright Disney

 Text: copyright Didier Ghez, Spring 1992 WDEye Issue

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