Later this month, I’ll post my interview with Imagineer and Disney Legend, Bob Gurr. You’ll get his true story of growing up the curious and inventive child who ended up helping Walt Disney build many of the incredible attraction vehicles for his one-of-a-kind theme park.
Bob told me so many amazing stories that I can’t wait to share them with you. So here’s one he told about an attraction that is obviously close to my heart – The World Famous Jungle Cruise. While many of his accomplishments were spectacular, here’s one that didn’t go quite as planned. Enjoy.
Freddy: Did you have anything to do with the Jungle Cruise?
Bob: Jungle Cruise? Yes.
One of my more spectacular, unsuccessful pieces of show action equipment was a couple of charging hippos. And this was long before good animation systems were available, and I was trying to do something – this was in like 1957 or 8, I think.
We were trying to do stuff where the hippos would come out on two different tracks to attack the boats. And then, when the boats go by, the hippos would turn and go back to where they were, and then turn around and reset themselves. And I was trying to do it with a spring set up, so that it went out one way and came back another way.
Due to the unpredictability of, y’know, falling leaves in the machinery, and water, y’know, and you never know what the hippos were gonna do anyway, every once in awhile the Jungle Cruise guys would come back with a report to the management and say, “You got to do something with the hippos!”
“What’s wrong with the hippos?”
“Well, some days they come out backwards and they moon everybody in the boat!”
And so the mooning hippos had to go. (Laughs)
Freddy: (Laughs) There’s a “backside of water” joke in there.
Bob Gurr: You probably caught my joke on the bus tour, where we stood out there (behind Imagineering headquarters in Glendale) and we talked about 1401 Flower – everyone knows 1401 Flower, and this bland colored building here, “That’s the backside of 1401!”
Want to read the whole magical interview? Check out The Bob Gurr Interview – Part 1 HERE.
If you’d like to hear Bob Gurr’s funny and amazing stories first hand, you still have a chance to tour Walt’s old stomping grounds with him with the Waltland Disney History Bus Tour. There are tours scheduled on the third Sunday of every month from now until September 2018. Bob takes you to Walt’s homes, former and current Disney studio sites, Walt’s Barn in Griffith Park, and the merry-go-round where Walt first thought of his idea for Disneyland. Buy your tickets now. This tour won’t be available forever. Visit Waltland.com for details.