Sunday, November 17, 2013

Disney Legend Marty Sklar in 'The Mouse Castle Lounge'

Dream It! Do It!
Marty Sklar made a lot of memories during his 50-plus years with the Walt Disney Company, none better than when he was tasked with helping out in Disneyland wherever he could during Black Sunday, the infamous grand opening day in 1955 when the Magic Kingdom was overrun with more people than it could handle. He was there primarily to assist the press covering the event, but when a frantic Fess Parker--Disney's Davy Crockett--rode up to Marty on horseback and said, "Help me get out of here before this horse hurts somebody," Marty had to act quickly to guide Parker and his mount safely to a backstage area.

And that was just during Marty's second month of employment.

There would be plenty of other adventures for Marty. He began his career while still attending UCLA where he was the student editor of the Daily Bruin campus newspaper. He was recruited by Disney to publish The Disneyland News, a souvenir newspaper for park guests. Upon graduation, he joined Disneyland's publicity and marketing departments which started him down the road to WED Enterprises (later Walt Disney Imagineering) where he worked on Disney's show development team for the 1964-65 New York World's Fair. He would spend the rest of his career at WDI, eventually serving as its president and vice chairman.

Along the way, he worked closely with Walt Disney, writing speeches and media presentations for him. In the years following Walt's death, Marty opened all the Walt Disney World theme parks as well as Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disney Resort and Hong Kong Disneyland. Marty remains the only Disney employee to be present at every Disney park opening around the world.

Marty's memoir, Dream It! Do It! My Half-Century Creating Disney's Magic Kingdoms is a book full of interesting stories from his fascinating career. Marty rambles at times, jumping suddenly from one anecdote to another, but he still shares important pieces of Disney history from Walt's Disneyland heyday to Michael Eisner's brilliant and frustrating regime. Marty was there for all of it and shares his remembrances generously.

Marty is my guest today in The Mouse Castle Lounge. Enjoy!

Marty Sklar
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