Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Wednesday WOW & Ward Kimball
This shot of Casey shows you some of the testing that went on before the attraction opened. Not sure if this is the studio backlot or another location, but Casey sure does look like it’s having difficulty with that hill! It’s no wonder that it had to close down for a few weeks for some tinkering after mechanical problems on opening day. Trains are not really designed for steep inclines like this, so as you can see by this shot, a chain/pulley system had to be devised to help Casey make it up the hill. I guess you could say that Casey was a precursor to Big Thunder Mountain!
Author Gary Fillmore, who wrote the book about artist Marjorie Reed and gave me all the great info about her Disney connection, is now working on a book titled, “The Artists of Kayenta.” He sent me a photo and excerpt that he believed would be of interest to my readers:
From 1909 until the late 1930’s, the Wetherill Lodge in Kayenta, Arizona was the primary stopover for writers, geologists, archeologists, adventurers and tourists visiting Monument Valley and the ruins of Tsegi Canyon. Prominent visitors included Theodore Roosevelt, John D. Rockefeller Jr. and Zane Grey.
Ironically, the final artist's entry in the Wetherill Lodge guest book was so small it was almost barely noticeable among the signatures. On August 23rd, 1938 a one inch by one inch sketch of a well known mouse's head was drawn by Ward Walraith Kimball, "of Walt Disney". Kimball, only twenty-six at the time, would later win an Academy Award, create the Pinnochio character Jiminy Cricket, and become known as one of "Disney's Nine Old Men". It may be for the creations by the fine artists that the lodge's guest book is so sought after by collectors, but the visual entries had started with sketches by James Swinnerton, the father of American newspaper cartooning and ended with a tiny figure that was arguably the most famous cartoon character of all time.
Many thanks to Gary for sending this along! You can read more about Gary’s project on his my website.
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