24 August 2009

We have ignition

Space Mountain has a long and storied history, from Walt’s grand vision of a rocket through the cosmos as a part of 1967’s New Tomorrowland at Disneyland, to the lack of technology available at the time, to it finally finding its first home in Florida. While originally conceived of under the guise of Space Port, Space Mountain’s construction finally began in 1972 under the creative and nuanced eyes of Imagineers like John Hench, Marty Sklar, George McGinnis, Claude Coats, and Tony Baxter. It is possible that there are more images and concept art for a Tomorrowland that features Space Mountain, and Space Mountain itself, that have been released than for any other attraction in the history of Disney parks.One of my favorite images from all of the work done on Space Mountain includes a who’s who of the team who conceived and created this iconic attraction. Found in the Los Angeles Times photographic archive of the UCLA Library, this photograph from October 1973, ten months after work began at the Florida site, features Sklar, Baxter, McGinnis, and Hench marveling and fiddling with a model. The star of the photograph, however, is the Space Mountain model which still includes the ‘satelloids’ from John Hench’s first sketch of the Space Port in 1964 or 1965.