Friday, August 8, 2014

#Disneyland60.....Today In Disneyland History.......August 8, 1953

Site Map For Disneyland Reviewed
August 8, 1953

On the morning of August 8 1953 Walt Disney reviewed the site map that Imagineer/art director Marvin Davis had been working on for a new California theme park, which would be the first diagrammatic plan for Disneyland. On that morning, Walt reviewed the site map that Davis was working on and picked up a No. 1 carbon pencil and drew a triangle around the plot of land to indicate where he wanted his railroad to run. That historic drawing still exists today. For two years, Davis worked on more than 100 different versions of the master plan for Disneyland.  While Disney Imagineer Herb Ryman did the famous sketch over a long weekend that sold the idea of a Disneyland to bankers and more, his imaginative concept drawing was based on the layout sketches of Imagineer Marvin Davis, who had been a film art director. Many Disney fans confuse Davis with another Disney Legend, animator Marc Davis, but Marvin was a distinctly different individual with a background in architecture and film that aided him in making Walt Disney's dreams into three-dimensional realities.  Walt referred to these art directors who worked on the early Disneyland like Davis, Irvine, Bill Martin, Sam McKim, etc. as "brick and mortar men" which irritated Davis because it seemed to suggest they weren't imaginatively creative.
While it was Herb Ryman who did the famous sketch of Disneyland that helped sell the concept, it was Irvine and Davis who presented Ryman with the concepts before he began drawing. When Ryman had finished after that memorable weekend, it was Irvine and Davis who grabbed color pencils to add shading and highlights to Ryman's pen and ink drawing before Roy had to grab it and fly to New York. In addition to assisting with the earliest layout of Disneyland, Davis worked on Tom Sawyer Island, and famously argued with Herb Ryman as to which direction the top of Sleeping Beauty Castle should face. Davis' original front on the model of the castle was flipped backwards; Walt Disney walked in to the model shop, liked Ryman's "front" better, and the design remains to this day.

After Disneyland opened, Davis became an art director for Disney live-action films for almost the next 10 years on films including Moon Pilot, Babes in Toyland, Bon Voyage and Big Red, as well as television projects like the Zorro television series. He received an Emmy Award for his art direction on Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color. Davis retired from the Walt Disney Company in 1975. He was honored as a Disney Legend in 1994. Davis who master planned both Disneyland and Walt Disney World, died on March 8, 1998 in Santa Monica, California. His memory will live on commemorated in the window in his on above the Main Street Bank on Main Street USA. And that’s what happened today in Disneyland’s history.

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