2017 marks the 30th Anniversary of the Disney Legends Award, and the opening of the D23 Expofeatured the “Legends Ceremony” honoring the 10 newest Disney Legends representing film, movie, television, theater, animation, publishing and voice personalities. For 2017, the inductees included: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Oprah Winfrey, Stan Lee, and Garry Marshall among others. Personally, I’m partial to the Imagineers, the people behind the Disney Parks…the people that “found a way to get it done”.
The final panel of the D23 Expo focused on the Imagineering Legends, and the newest being Wayne Jackson. One of Wayne’s many accomplishments? Moving It’s a Small World from the 1964/65 NY World Fair to Disneyland! It sounds easy enough, but how do you do that? Where do you start? Wayne found a way to make it happen; after all, that’s what Imagineers do…make it happen. The panel was really a history lesson. Hosted by John Stamos, yes the John Stamos, who has the “D” from the Disneyland sign in his back yard, (he might have been on television at some point too J) no doubt he is a Disney Nerd! John was joined by Disney Imagineering Legends Tony Baxter and Marty Sklar. The majority of the panel was a walk down memory lane with Marty and Tony reminiscing about their personal experiences with iconic Imagineering Legends…personal accounts of working with Walt, John Hench, Herb Ryman, Ken Anderson, Mary Blair, X Atencio, the list goes on and included personal stories outside of the parks. It was a fascinating hour of history and storytelling from some of the best storytellers in the business.
At the time of this recording, there was no way of knowing that this would be Marty’s Sklar’s last public
appearance. Marty has been a Disney Imagineering Ambassador since his retirement from Imagineering in 2009. Marty retired July 17th 2009 after 54 years of service, receiving windows on Disneyland’s Main Street. Marty’s window reads “Main Street College of Arts & Sciences – Martin A. Sklar, Dean”. Of course, July 17th is Disneyland’s Birthday, a fitting day to retire and get a window on Main Street USA. Marty retired on Disneyland’s 54th Birthday with over 54 years with the company, starting as the editor of the Disneyland Newspaper one month before the park opened. Marty is the only Disney employee to personally attend the opening of every Disney Park around the world.
Marty, Thank You! Thank you for the countless stories, the kind words you had for me during our brief encounter at D23 2017, and thank you for the autograph inside my copy of “One Little Spark” – I will always remember “Without a Story, You Have Nothing!”
This panel opened with a short video montage of all of the Disney Imagineering Legends, a who’s who of Disney Imagineering. I’m blessed to have had the opportunity to personally attend the Legends of Disney Imagineering at the D23 Expo 2017 and spend some time chatting with Marty. I hope you enjoy. Thank You for watching and listening to SamsDisneyDiary….. Kungaloosh!!!!!!!!!!!!