So often have I offered to assist as photographer, that I'm rarely in the shot. Sure I'm in lot's of other folks photographs. But those are in the collections of other folks. So now I know what it's like to be Brittany Spears.
But when I do assist, let us say, a family at Disneyland, I do so and and tell them it's because that way the kids can say "Look!! I do have a father!" Rarely does the dad appear when he's always the one snapping shots. And when I do so snap, I usually say something like "O.K. On Three, Two, One…(snap) Thanks for the camera, BYE! (snap.)" because that way the second shot is wildly candid and usually develops as the best shot on the roll.
It's rare that I am given a photograph of myself. Here are but a few of my favorites…
Wizard at the El Capitan
One very special night only this sign "Hooray for Hollywood" was mounted on the million dollar marquee. I'm in a silver tuxedo just left of the box office. Sorry about the quality, this is a Polaroid test. The Disney Company has a much better timed exposure on large format that I don't have access to. However, much earlier I was at the theater for a dual premier, both the opening of the theater, and the fabulously glamorous red carpet celebrated first screening of The Rocketeer. I don't have any photos from that premier. And I had been to dozens of premiers before, as a chauffeur. This was the first time I went as an invited guest. When I was interviewed on the red carpet I was asked to respond as if I had just been asked the question "What do you most like about Los Angeles?" I said "What I like about Los Angeles is the Walt Disney Company, this is where it's at!" as I removed my wayfarers. Now that I think back on that take, it reminds me of warm sweaty Limburger - pungently cheesy.
Wizard at the helm of the Omnibus
They wouldn't let me drive the omnibus with guests on board. I can drive/land anything though. Safety first! Next time I will be properly trained and on the clock.
Wizard and the Champion of Splash Mountain
Now you know what it looks like behind the Haunted Mansion.
Pretty boring stuff, very industrial, near dollies of pulled Splash Mountain Boats (old school, before the seat dividers.) Splash mountain was the first Attraction designed and fabricated by Disneyland.
Up until then they had all come to be of Imaginieering - tender sproin loin cut.
They had "America Sang," a dated pro-America piece put in place of the Carousel of Policy… er, The Carousel of Progress. Well, they had Bear Country, they had a spinning theater full of articulated animals collecting dust, and they were constrained to a water ride.
"Who needs Imagineering?!" Disneyland flaunted, and proceeded to spray shotcrete onto bent sheets of Chicken-wire and lathe wrapped over a, mostly concrete, flume.
Well, this very boat is the champion of Splash Mountain. It was the boat that achieved the most shutdown evacuation 101's, I nicknamed her "Uncle Log Jamima." Coming in close second was "Boulder Dash"
Wizard "En Parlour" observation/club
Long ago, they didn't let just anybody ride in DLRR #106, the Lilly Belle. You had to be special, like me, I went to special school on the short bus. Er, I mean short school on the special bus. No, that still didn't come out right. O.K. Fundamental sounds worse than it is. Fundamental sounds like remedial. Fundamental School is based in European traditional education ideals. I studied in Theater Academy, Mathematics, Languages, and Philosophy at Hollywood High School. My elective was typing because I knew that I would eventually be heavily involved in computer science. Sure, I dropped out of Tenth grade, made a living playing pinball, dated Ruth Van Empel who would later change her name to Gina Davis, but that was AFTER I graduated High School by earning the California High School Proficiency Degree. I walked into Hollywood High School and registered as a Senior because, although I could have enrolled in college at age 16, I knew I wouldn't be able to cut it in college. So I changed my circumstances and went back for more high quality education, and this time actually applied myself to acquire it. Along the way I hung out with Laurence Fishburn. I told him to change his name and he told me I looked like a Don, and that he was going to tie me to a tree and feed me Ex-lax. I had a fling with a fine young woman who called herself "Alley Cat", and, although I loved her dearly, it was over when I found out she was a Scientologist. I did like the way she seduced me though, "I can pick up anything with my toes." I accepted her challenge. She did pick me up. Ah, my first foot fetish…
Wizard Tops Hollywood
High atop the private helicopter pad of the Sunset/Vine tower, in a shot taken by Mickey Rooney, while he was staring in Sugar Babies. This was the epiphany that, although rich is not so bad, famous sucks. So, at that point in my life, I consciously chose to not become rich and famous. Not long after I have a shot taken by Mickey Rooney of myself in a tee shirt with my kids at the counter of a Hollywood lunchroom that I won't disclose. Having folks run up to you so they can interrupt what your doing and beg for your autograph sucks. Fame blows wet mangy goats. To quote Homer Simpson "If people didn't want us to go through their trash, they shouldn't become celebrities."
Wizard Honors Engineer Bill
with his daughter as well as the legacy of this miniature live steam locomotive "C. K. Holiday" #1.
Wizard on the Skyway to Fantasyland
, deep inside the Matterhorn Bobsleds.
Barney Morris, ABC Eyewitness Newscaster & Wiz.
Wiz and the host of "The Scheme of Things". Imagine that - Mr. Science and Dr. Wizard. Wikipedia page.
Definitely Frank Wells
Chairman of the Walt Disney Corporation, Michael Eisner's boss. It's really too bad that all of the really important folks I knew at Disney are somewhere else now. Once I was up on the Twenty-Third floor of the WDC building and told Michael Eisner "It's too bad you are not Frank Wells." The way he was taken aback he must have initially thought I was a terrorist assassin. But he calmly asked "Why?"
"Because Frank Wells was my hero." He nodded his head in agreement. I was one of the last people to ever see Mr. Wells alive in Los Angeles. I drove him and his skis to the airport. I think Mr. Eisner didn't expect "My Hero," he may have expected "Dead" though, it had been a year or so since Mr. Wells died on that ski trip. I liked Eisner better when he was pitching scripts wildly dancing on tables at Paramount.
I was at Paramount way back when it was Gulf & Western, back when taping Mork & Mindy across the way was the hottest ticket in town. I was just a kid, hanging out at Stage 29 back when it was a huge blue screen cyclorama with floor cameras that were linked by an S-100 computer to control the motion of a periscope camera down in a miniature set, an early cost saving technique called Magicam, which was later supplanted by CGI.
and Wiz. 3D Selfie with the man who kidnapped Vice-President Nixon and his family. Hear him tell the tale…
Huell Howzer Visiting with Wizard on California's Green
Wizard of Pinball
with a Mona Lisa smile. From my Publicity Photos.
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