Sunday, December 27, 2015

A Brush With Disney by Herbert Dickens Ryman

This book, "A Brush With Disney", is a collection of the words and artwork of famed Disney artist and legend, Herbert Dickens Ryman (AKA Herb Ryman).  The book was edited by Disney Imagineers Bruce Gordon and David Mumford, and was researched by Irene Naoum.

I remember ordering this book from The Disney Gallery at Disneyland, when the primary purpose of the book was to fund a then-new organization called "Ryman Arts".  The new organization was to provide free training in drawing and painting to budding  artists ages 13 and up, who were in middle school or high school, who demonstrated a interest in learning to master these arts.

This book was actually a gift to those who participated in an event that was to be sponsored by The Disney Gallery in New Orleans Square that year.  It was called "Breakfast With The Imagineers", and was to be held at Club 33, adjacent to The Disney Gallery.  Club 33 was (and still is) an exclusive, Members-Only (and Members' guests only) restaurant and club.  Although it was a private club,  that event was open to anyone who wanted to pay.  I don't remember the price, but it was well-worth it for a few reasons.

First, we actually got to have a GREAT breakfast at Club 33.   I don't remember all of the particulars of the breakfast, except that it was good.  I do remember that it was buffet style! I also remember a waiter coming and waiting on us- I believe that was for the coffee and orange juice.

During our nice meal at Club 33, I remember that Cynthia Harriss, the then-President of Disneyland, came by to greet all of us.  I remember thinking how thoughtful that was of her.  I had met her before at a Disney Stores event when she was the President of Disney Stores and I was a Cast Member for Disney Stores, and I remember that she told me that I should come work at Disneyland!  It was a nice surprise to see her.

After the breakfast, we were broken up into 3 groups, and each group was taken to visit with a different Imagineer.  The first Imagineer that I met was Sam McKim.

I had always admired Sam McKim's work, even before I knew that it was his work.   I finally got to know his name when I saw him being credit for several prints of his planning drawings for Disneyland, which hung at the Disneyland Hotel at the time.  I had first met Sam McKim at The Disney Gallery at an event that featured Sam and another Disney artist, legend,  and Imagineer:  Ken Anderson.

Seeing Sam McKim first was great- I already had met him before, and he relayed some stories to us about working for Walt Disney as we stood in front of the Rivers of America.  I got to take a picture with Sam after his presentation.

Next up was Rolly Crump!  We were led to Fantasyland, just beside the Alice in Wonderland Attraction, where Rolly told us about making the Tiki's for the pre-show of The Enchanted Tiki Room.  Rolly was so full of energy and enthusiasm!   I also took a picture with Rolly.

Finally we were led down Main Street to the last Imagineer, Marty Sklar, who was then still the President of Walt Disney Imagineering.   I was in awe of Marty, for he actually ran this organization that was responsible for building Disney's parks worldwide!  I got a picture with Marty, too!

(*When I can, I will find and then scan the photos of me with Sam, Rolly and Marty!)

When the day was over, we were led back to Club 33 and advised that the book, "A Brush With Disney", was not ready yet for us because they were going to include a special plate.  When the book finally was delivered to me in the mail,  they apologized for the lateness of the book.  However, to make it up, the book was autographed by every single Imagineer at Disney!  How about that?

The book that I am showing here is an extra copy of "A Brush With Disney" that I bought for actual reading- I want to preserve the signed copy!

This book is excellent!  It's all about the life and experiences of Herb Ryman, whose inspirational  drawings for the Disney parks look so amazingly like the finished products!  I recommend this book to anyone who wants to be an Imagineer, or just a great artist.