Thursday, March 16, 2023

He's All Risk

The title is a quote by Doris Hardoon, recruited by Crump in the late 1970s for the development of EPCOT. 

For Disney theme park and animation fans, there are certain artists whose style is easy to identify.  Mary Blair's mid-century, colorful style that would make it's a small world come to life.  Claude Coat's moody and atmospheric art that would fit the Haunted Mansion to a T.   Harper Goff's paintings, which would come to define Disney park concept art.

Roland "Rolly" Crump was one such artist.  

If artist could be summed up in a phrase, Rolly's would be, "wouldn't it be cool if we..."

Crump started as an assistant animator on such film classics as Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty, and One Hundred and One Dalmatians.  In 1959, he would join WED Enterprises, the former name for Walt Disney Imagineering.  And it's here that Rolly proved to be a trailblazing pioneer.

Crump would be a key designer on attractions like The Haunted Mansion and the Enchanted Tiki Room.  With the Mansion, it was Crump that brought the funny, blending together with Claude Coat's spooky and atmospheric to create the attraction that is loved by millions today.  Crump would also be a key imagineer for the Disney attractions at the 1964 World's Fair, contributing to the it's a small world attraction by notably creating the Tower of The Four Winds structure that served as the marquee.  When the attraction was moved to Disneyland, Crump designed the animated clock face that served as a timepiece and exterior for the beloved attraction.

His art always went to the whimsical and weird, perfectly encapsulated in his famed lost attraction The Museum of the Weird.  He created many, many bits for this attraction that ranged from a clock with 13 hours, to a chair with a face, to a melting wax man.  It would have been a wonderful attraction and I still hope that it will be resurrected someday.

Rolly passed away Sunday, March 12, 2023 at his home at the age of 93.  His art and legacy will continue to entertain children of all ages for many, many years to come.

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