Horrific images from the 40s, 50s & 60s

Anaheim Car Crashes

Mell Kilpatrick

Fifty Years After His Death

1st Chief Photographer for the Orange County Register

 
Disney legend Bob Gurr's 'Design: Just for Fun' was a labor of love on many different fronts
By Chuck Schmidt
Of all the Disney legends Carlene Thie has had the pleasure of knowing, one stands head and shoulders above the rest: Ride designer extraordinaire Bob Gurr, who was one of hundreds of harried cast-members on the job when Disneyland first opened its gates on July 17, 1955.
“Bob is one of the nicest people you could ever be around,” says the author and owner of Ape Pen Publishing Co. “He doesn’t judge you, he loves everyone and everybody loves him. I love hearing his stories. When I’m hanging around with Bob, you get to hear all the stories and you visualize what he did with Walt.
“He’s always funny, always nice. And he treats you like a person.”
One of Carlene’s favorite Bob Gurr stories came when Bob invited her to spend a day with him at Disneyland as a way of saying ‘thank you’ for helping him with his book, “Design: Just for Fun,” which was released last year.
“We went to Walt’s apartment and Club 33 on my birthday,” she remembers. “But it was pouring cats and dogs. Bless his heart, he still came, never complained and we had a great day.”
Then, in typical Bob Gurr fashion, things got a little interesting.
“We went over to the truck where they sell the corn dogs and what does Bob do, but lift up the hood to the engine. I’m like, ‘Bob, they’re gonna call security on you.’ Sure enough, here comes security.
“But once they realized who Bob was, they all started yacking away. Only Bob can get away with this, I thought.”
A few years ago at a Disneyana convention, Carlene and Disney author David Koenig were chatting with Gurr and asked him why he hadn’t gotten around to putting all of his exploits — which include designing several generations of Autopia cars, a variety of Main Street vehicles, the monorail, the submarine voyage, Matterhorn Mountain and making huge contributions in the development of Audio-Animatronic technology — into a book.


The fact of the matter was, Gurr had been trying to write “Design: Just for Fun” for several years. “I began the book under that title in 1999 at the urging of the late [Disney Imagineer] Bruce Gordon. When Bruce passed away [in 2007], Jeff Kurtii asked me to continue — he’d publish it, but Jeff then moved to Washington. Thus the project stayed dormant for a few years until the 2011 Disneyana Convention where Carlene asked what the status of my book was.”
“‘I’ve tried for 12 years to write a book,’ Carlene recalls Gurr saying. After a few minutes, Gurr remembers, Carlene said to him: “You do it. I’ll tell you how.”
Carlene and her husband “visited my home to answer all the questions that I now had,” Gurr said. “They explained all the tasks that would have to be done, reminding me that, while she would help with some of the tasks, I was to do all of the real work.”
Little did he know that one of those tasks would be setting up his own publishing company, GurrDesign. In addition, Gurr did the bulk of the grunt work, things like obtaining a bank loan, getting image licenses from all the image owners, securing the barcode, the Library of Congress ISBN number, setting up all the shipping arrangements, “and a ton of other required stuff. Besides that, I was continuing to write the book!” he said.
At her end, Carlene lined up a proof-reader, obtained printer proposals and secured Michael Aronson of Lost Boys Design to handle the book’s design.
Disney legend Marty Sklar wrote the forward, while Carlene supplied a touching letter for the inside back cover.
“Writing a book takes a lot out of your life,” Carlene says knowingly, having written five herself. “It takes an awful lot of work. It’s like having a baby. But I’m honored I could have anything to do with it.”
The Red Collector’s Edition of “Design: Just for Fun” — each numbered and signed by Gurr — was pre-sold. All 1,000 copies of that edition have been purchased. The Blue Twin Edition is available at www.bobgurr.com for a limited time. You also may order the book at www.apepenpublishing.com.

When the finished product finally arrived at Gurr’s nephew’s house last spring, there was still much work that needed to be done.
“Carlene was terrific,” Gurr said. “She carried over 750 books in her truck to the post office the first three days of shipping as she and my nephew's kids and some neighbor friends had a fun book boxing party. After that, I shipped the remaining 1,250 books myself from my dining room.”
Carlene was thrilled when Bob presented her with a special token of his appreciation.
“I wouldn’t have this book without you,” he told Carlene. “You get Book No. 1.”
“I got Book 1!” she beamed. “What an honor that is!”
Carlene and her Ape Pen Publishing company have turned their attention to a new passion: Creating works of art using proof pages from the Gurr book.
“I love it,” she says. “They’re turning out really nice.”
So nice, that she’s kept the first few pieces of art for herself, including the spectacular Abraham Lincoln multi-page spread and one with Gurr’s sketches of the flying saucer attraction for Tomorrowland of the 1960s.
She’ll be selling her creations at a Disney-themed fan show in July. She’s even been broadening the works to include some of her grandfather’s vintage photos and other pieces of Disney memorabilia.
“I’m actually taking some of my grandfather’s photos with Walt Disney standing in front of the E.P. Ripley, with his stuffed Mickey. We’re taking different photos and making art out of them as well, so it won’t be just proof pages, but classic photos that I didn’t put in the books.
“There’s actually two photos of Walt in front of the E.P. Ripley and one in front of the Lilly Belle, with vintage tickets and railroad signs.
“It’ll be a little bit of everything.”
In addition to her books on Disneyland and the framed art works, a number of other items are available through Ape Pen Publishing’s website.
There are vintage Disneyland posters and a collection of DVDs that are like stepping into a time machine and taking a nostalgic stroll through the Disneyland of old. Of course, her buddy Bob Gurr plays a prominent role in several of them, including “Meet Bob Gurr” and “The 50th Anniversary of Tomorrowland (The Bob Gurr Experience).”
And just where did the name Ape Pen come from?









http://www.bobgurr.com/http://www.apepenpublishing.com/shapeimage_2_link_0shapeimage_2_link_1

Disney Legend Bob Gurr

“Design Just For Fun”

One-of-a-kind pages from Bob Gurr's “Design Just for Fun” Available through Ape Pen PublishingBob_Gurr_Design_Just_For_Fun_Book.htmlBob_Gurr_Design_Just_For_Fun_Book.htmlBob_Gurr_Design_Just_For_Fun_Book.htmlBob_Gurr_Design_Just_For_Fun_Book.htmlshapeimage_9_link_0shapeimage_9_link_1shapeimage_9_link_2shapeimage_9_link_3

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