Friday, March 16, 2012

March 16: Wonka Designer

On this day in 1911, this artist, set designer and musician (pictured left) was born in Fort Collins, Colorado.
Studying art at Chouinard Art Institute in California, he later moved to New York City to work as a magazine illustrator. During World War II, he was assigned to a camouflage research center due to his amazing painting skills. He actually developed a set of paint colors that were used as standard issue hues for the U.S. Army's camouflage needs.
After the war he moved back to California and worked for Warner Brothers for a short time as a set designer. A lifelong model train enthusiast, by chance he met Walt Disney at a model-making shop and began a relationship that changed his professional career.
His most famous work on a Disney feature was the 1954 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, in which he art directed (and had a small acting role in). He also played a huge part in the design of the original Disneyland.
His non-Disney credits included set designer on the 1971 Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
When he wasn't designing, he was strumming his banjo as part of Ward Kimball's Firehouse Five Plus Two Dixieland ensemble.
Who was this talented Disney Legend?

Click HERE to find out.

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