Why is it so creepy? Off-Ramp for March 23, 2013

PHOTOS: Imagineer Bob Gurr imagined it, helped build Disneyland, King Kong, 'Jurassic Park'

Disney Imagineer Bob Gurr 01

Christopher Okula/KPCC

Former Disney Imagineer and amusement park designer Bob Gurr discussed his long career in design on March 13 at the Hollywood Heritage Museum in Los Angeles. Gurr was once an automobile designer, and is one of the last remaining Imagineers who worked arm-in-arm with Disney to bring his world-famous theme park to life. Gurr's accomplishments include designing the world's first monorail, as well as iconic rides and animatronics such as Universal Studios' King Kong, and Disneyland's President Lincoln.

Bob Gurr

Walt Disney Corp.

Walt Disney test driving Autopia prototype as Gurr looks on.

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Christopher Okula/KPCC

Los Angeles Magazine editor Chris Nichols asks former Disney Imagineer Bob Gurr about the rivet holes in a panel from Disneyland's original monorail after Gurr's presentation at the Hollywood Heritage Museum on March 13 in Los Angeles. Gurr designed Disneyland's monorail, which was the world's first such transportation system.

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Christopher Okula/KPCC

This scale mock-up of the former Universal Studios Hollywood ride called King Kong Encounter was the brainchild of amusement park designer Bob Gurr. The ride, which was destroyed in a fire in 2008, was a technological triumph for Gurr, who said he was at least glad that one of his creations went out "in a blaze of glory."

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Christopher Okula/KPCC

A scale model of a monorail designed for a Disney theme park by former Imagineer Bob Gurr. This collection of Disney artifacts was on display at the Hollywood Heritage Museum in Los Angeles during Bob Gurr's visit there on March 13.

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Christopher Okula/KPCC

Former Disney Imagineer and amusement park designer Bob Gurr autographs one of the last few remaining copies of his new book for an appreciative fan at the Hollywood Heritage Museum on March 13 in Los Angeles. Gurr's book, Design: Just for Fun, was contractually limited by an agreement with Disney to a small run of 2,000 copies.

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Christopher Okula/KPCC

A publication that catalogues theme park attractions features the former Disney Imagineer Bob Gurr's iconic Autopia ride, designed and built for Disneyland's grand opening in 1955. This collection of Disney artifacts was on display at the Hollywood Heritage Museum in Los Angeles during Bob Gurr's visit there on March 13.

Disney Imagineer Bob Gurr 20

Christopher Okula/KPCC

A panel from the world's first monorail, designed by former Imagineer Bob Gurr for Disneyland upon comission by Walt Disney himself. This collection of Disney artifacts was on display at the Hollywood Heritage Museum in Los Angeles during Bob Gurr's visit there on March 13.


Bob Gurr, named a Disney Legend in 2004, never let a thing like not knowing how to do something get in the way of doing things. As he describes is, working for Walt Disney sounds like an amusement park ride of challenges and optimism. And listening to him speak is to be inspired to get off your keister and dig into something you've never tried.

LA Magazine's Chris Nicholsa regular on KPCC's Take Two, hosted a Hollywood Heritage Museum ievent for the 82-year old Gurr, who sounds more like he's 22. Chris describes Gurr's resume: 

Mr. Gurr  began working on Disneyland the year before it opened. He imagineered the original Monorail, Autopia all the iconic ride vehicles for Disneyland and some of the other Disney parks. His memorable theme park and movie creations include Disney's animatronic Abraham Lincoln, Universal's King Kong, concepts for the Jurassic Park dinosaurs and robots for the 1998 production of Godzilla.

Gurr spoke for an hour at the Museum on March 13th, and took questions from the audience. Listen here for just a sample.


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