I haven’t read every book about the artform called Disney Imagineering, but I’ve got a pretty good start. Half a dozen books by geniuses like Rolly Crump. Marty Sklar, Richard Sherman, and how could we overlook two incredible handbooks on underlying processes by Lou Prosperi?
One is The Imagineering Pyramid: Using Disney Theme Park Design Principles to Develop and Promote Your Creative Ideas, while the other is The Imagineering Process: Using the Disney Theme Park Design Process to Bring Your Creative Ideas to Life – the second book in the series.
What’s a “Well-storied home” you’re wondering?
Today, an inexpensive UFO model, some time out from day-trading, and let’s use Ure’s Hobby Shop that you’ve seen materialize over the past couple of months to find out!
Boring People: Boring Lives
Let’s begin with a discussion about adventure. How is it that Elaine and I both well into our 70’s can jump out of bed excited at the prospects of each new morning?
Goals, projects, and dreams, to put it mildly.
If there’s a secret “super glue” to a great marriage, it’s that we have given each other permission to express our “inner artist.” Since I’m a lot less on the arty side, I’m generally heavier on construction.
Kids today, I think, run out and do “stupid shit” because they are attention starved. They are looking for attention and are so damn desperate that they will do even horrific things like pick up a gun and start shooting, to get their five minutes of fame. Sick.
Parents and teachers (and other parts of government) own our social problems because the world we live in today is a reflection of their incompetence; nothing more and nothing less.
Even when a child gets off to a really bad start – by falling in with a criminal element and going down that dead-end road – once suitably challenged – miracles can happen. And it all starts, I believe, with possibility thinking.
The utter simplicity and genius of the late Walt Disney I don’t think can be overstated. Oh, my God, to live in a world with more people like him! Would Disney of today be off on their social [what-evering] agenda? I like to think not. Walt’s apartment was on Main Street USA in the parks. Centrist, genius, and imagination can co-exist.
If I had been told I’d be #2 of an airline, a big city news jock, help birth the internet, do odd science and radio projects, live a decade on a sailboat, and fly my own plane coast to coast (not just once), I would never have believed it.
But if you translate imagination into action the world’s your oyster. Just remember, you can have any thing you want, but maybe not every thing. Space ’em out. Plan for a lifelong adventure and you’re bound to get lucky.
Or, in this morning’s trip out to the shop, you’ll at least live in a themed house that lightly spins a bit of “Disney.”
Today’s Model Project
It comes in a box and it’s part of a vision. It’s a UFO:
There are lots of stories behind the Haunebu II. German, part of the Wunder Waffen – but as far as the (civilians) back home ever knew, it was just a “rumor of war” – a psy-op. Propaganda.
I wanted a UFO, but it was built without the German markings – too much bad juju associated with that. In a properly themed home, there’s no bummers.
We have a large mural in our “northwest room” that was done by the late Rebecca Price, a Hanna Barbera “Scooby” veteran. We commissioned it looking for something a little different that would remind us of our San Francisco sailing adventures. (And the daily “I-280 Grand Prix” !)
But the picture needed something. And this is a key part of building “home scenes” that transport.
The idea (*roughly, but the Disney people are expert at this) is to use a 3D something to trick the mind into a much larger space. With the picture, we already had a few (scale) seagulls on the SF-ish lamp post to the right – the flavor of Ghirardelli if you know the old brick buildings there in the 1970s?
The birds did an OK job of being the “3D bridge” into the alt. reality. But there was nothing in the picture that welcomed.
A rope-wrapped old-looking post with another pelican (this time 3D) on it will appear one of these days. The 3D foreground piece will lead the mind’s eye into the backdrop. A book or two on stage design and dioramas will get you more information.
This being a Hobby Shop project, the model was spread out and inspected.
A couple of trips over to the room where it would be mounted nailed down the color. It would be a kind of “rust” color. As it came together, two of the lower gun turrets were left out and these were (as the story begins to glue up a bit) air intakes for the exotic propulsion system.
The color looked, under 5000K workspace lighting in the shop, a few degrees too red. I mean way too red:
Another fine point (several trips over 50 years to D-Land) is that the eyes must be fooled into thinking things are “real.”
Suspension of this model would be key, and a nearly invisible 5-pound test fishing leader was used. Damn-near impossible to tie when your eyes have been “under the knife” several times. But that’s part of the fun of it – demanding you learn patience.
The line came off the top of the UFO dome and 16 inches up to a solid thumbtack that was carefully painted in a flat tone-match to the mock cedar roofing in the room.
Mounted, you can’t see anything except that at the top of the picture, if you look closely, yes indeed, there’s a UFO!
The effect is even more pronounced if you’re a bit shorter and walking by. It’s like it has just come out of the clouds in the mural.
Maybe it has?
“Well, since you asked… This is a recreation of that famous UFO sighting over the SF Bay Bridge back in about 1973, or so. About 200 people saw it, you know…Heard the occupants were friends of Big Davey Rosenberg and it might have had something to do with a landing site and rides for the topless dancer’s best clients at North Beach…”
Of course, the story can be scaled to whoever the guest is and how much we’ve had to drink. East Texas tall tales are fun!
The scale is about right – the UFO is 12-inches, or so out from the cloud, and the effect is extremely satisfying.
Since I’m trying to retire (yeah, right sure!) I have a good dozen, or two bigger projects than this to take on.
I’ve been collecting styrofoam in order to make fake rocks. Because I think it would be a super neat change-up to turn our master bath into what looks (at the doors – like the opening into an abandoned mine. The idea there is the bathroom would appear to have been hewn out of solid rock (the styro is easy to make “rocks” with.
Elaine’s got trepidations about it – and it’s a big project, for sure. Other, less challenging (and more visible to guests) changes include deepening the effects in the Trader Vic’s themed dining room.
The “New York Artists Loft” looking bedroom is OK, but we’re still open to a different look there. A dark red velvet and mahogany paneled and brass light fixtures – a kind of “bordello look” would be more interesting if we were just a shade younger, lol. Hospital room? Naw, too close to reality, thanks.
And some rooms, like the recording studio don’t really need any theming because it’s pretty damn obvious what they are.
Toss in the greenhouse we put along the side of the house this year and it’s really a pretty special little double-wide in the woods.
And like I am constantly reminding you, the greatest Disney attractions like the Haunted House and Pirates of the Caribbean all live in pretty nondescript boxes on the outside seen from space.
Imagine being able to stop the ride/boat inside Pirates, though. Would that be the kick-ass place to have drinks, or what? Constant eye-candy.
Back to creation – got a Cessna 150 model to build for outside the office. A bit of aeronautical (and radio) flavor to set the mood right. It’ll be “flying around” out here/ up there:
Of course, such falderal is a matter of personal choice. Some people want to live in sterile boxes. But, if you have so much energy and imagination that it leaks out? Then why the hell not?
Write when you get rich,