Two weeks ago I had the privilege to attend the Walt Disney Company’s Legends award ceremony held in Anaheim, CA. First awarded in the late 1980s, the award is given to those folks, whether creative or otherwise, who have meant much to the success of the company over the years. The award was bestowed annually for many years on the Disney studio lot in Burbank, CA which I attended many times while working there. Now they seem to be awarded every other year at the D23 Expo, Disney’s own fan convention, where thousands of fans may also attend.
I had such a great time this year seeing folks like animator Glen Keane, actors Billy Crystal & John Goodman, and Imagineer Tony Baxter accept their special trophy. Others were awarded posthumously to TV personality Dick Clark, Apple & Pixar’s Steve Jobs, actor Ed Wynn, and Imagineer Collin Campbell whose awards were accepted by family members and friends.
I’m sure if you searched the web, you will find official photos and videos of the event and more wordy descriptions of the ceremony. What those accounts may not say is that a respectable showing of past Legends were in attendance as well. I was surrounded by folks like Paige O’Hara (voice of Belle), Floyd Norman (animation), Burny Mattinson (animation), Marty Sklar (Imagineering), Mary Costa (voice of Sleeping Beauty), Anika Noni Rose (voice of Princess Tiana), David Stollery (Marty of “Spin & Marty”), Kathryn Beaumont (voice of Alice and Wendy), Alice Davis (designer of costumes for Small World and Pirates of the Caribbean rides), Bob Gurr (Imagineer who famously designed the monorail), Bill Farmer (voice of Goofy), and many others.
(If you wish to see a photo, my friend Rick Law posted one that I’m in on Facebook. I reposted it to my FB page and you can CLICK HERE to go there now.)
It was such a special time that I felt inspired the next day to do a little watercolor sketch of Mickey holding a Disney Legend award.
These awards truly are special. Many people work for many years at a desk isolated from the world doing what they love to do. The fact that their efforts can go on to bring joy and inspiration to millions of people they will never meet is a reward in its own way, but a pat on the back from the CEO in front of an audience is also swell. In a day where there is much cynicism and insincerity in corporate America, it is nice to see that the Walt Disney Company continues this tradition of honoring people who are a big part of the in-front-of and behind-the-scenes of the memories many of you have today.