About the Column

The best way to learn Disney history is to get it from the people who helped make it. Rolly Crump made a lot of Disney history.

Rolly was hired by Walt Disney Studios in 1952 to work as an artist and animator on such classic movies as Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty, and 101 Dalmations. In 1959, Rolly joined WED ('Walter Elias Disney'), the original name for Walt Disney Imagineering. At WED, Rolly became one of the chief designers for such classic attractions as Haunted Mansion, Enchanted Tiki Room, and It's a Small World.

Rolly worked closely with Walt Disney for many years. The friendship between the two men and Rolly's long tenure with the company puts him in an increasingly rare position: he can relate important episodes of early Disney history first-hand, and he can do so without notes or sources because he experienced it himself.

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FROM: The Truth of the Matter Is Published Mondays

Rolly and the Well-Endowed Cave Girl

Picture this: Disney Legend Rolly Crump removes his shirt, dons a vicuna fur, and stands besides a bare-chested fiberglass Cave Girl in the WED Model Shop, when suddenly Rolly's hands get the urge to wander onto places of prehistoric wonder.

A story about a well-endowed Cave Girl needs no introduction...

One day, around the time of the 1964 World's Fair, I was working in the Model Shop when Blaine Gibson came in to look over a Cave Girl.

The Cave Girl was intended for the Ford Pavilion's Primeval World sequence at the Fair. Blaine had sculpted all of the Cave people, and the Studio had just sent over a life-size fiberglass model of his Cave Girl, covered with rubber skin, a wig on top of her head, and a vicuna fur around her waist.

Other than that, she wasn't wearing anything.

Rolly Takes Off His Shirt

The Studio people had painted her skin, but Blaine wasn't sure about the color value. He needed a point of comparison. So he looked over at me and asked if I wouldn't mind taking off my shirt and standing next to the Cave Girl.

"Sure," I said, and not only took off my shirt but also my shoes and for good measure rolled up my pant legs.

Now you have to imagine how they modeled this Cave Girl. She was large, both in terms of height and endowment, and there was nothing hiding her endowments.

I stood next to her and wrapped myself in a vicuna to match hers.

Rolly Shows Interest in the Cave Girl

Blaine took about a dozen black-and-white shots with a Polaroid. After the first few shots I decided to have some fun, and so I grabbed that Cave Girl here, grabbed her there, grabbed her everywhere. Blaine kept right on taking shots.

When he was done, he thanked me and we all got back to work.

About two weeks later, Walt came over for a meeting and he asked Blaine about something - I'm not sure what - and Blaine thought the answer might be in one of the many Polaroids he kept in a file.

Walt Shows Interest in Rolly with the Cave Girl

With Walt standing over his shoulder, and me standing nearby, Blaine began looking through the Polaroids. Suddenly, he came to a shot of me attacking the Cave Girl.

Walt said: "What's THAT?"

Blaine remained calm and told Walt that he'd asked me to pose with the Cave Girl so he could check her skin value.

Walt looked at him and said: "I want to SEE those."

So Blaine put all the dozen shots of me having my way with the Cave Girl on a table for Walt to examine. I stood there for awhile, thinking I'd just lost my job, but then Walt started laughing.

Rolly Needs a Drink

I didn't laugh with him because first I needed to settle my stomach. I walked over to the soda machine and one of my friends came over to ask what was going on at the table.

"Walt's looking at those pictures of me and the Cave Girl".

His eyes got big and he asked me what Walt thought of them. After taking a big swallow of my 7-UP, I said: "Well, he laughed".

Just then I felt someone behind me and turned around to see Walt: "That's right, Roland, he laughed".

Nowadays, I'm not sure what would have happened, but back then Walt realized that I was a little crazy around the edges, and that's one of the reasons we got along so well.

Next Monday:
More of Rolly's Personal Reminiscences of Walt Disney

If you'd like to hear a few stories directly from Rolly himself, buy 'A Walk in the Park with Rolly Crump', an hour-long audio tour available from Kenbow Communications in which Rolly takes you for a stroll down Disneyland's Main Street through the areas of the park that he had a hand in creating. It's the best $4.95 you'll ever spend.

You can also hear on iTunes Rolly's interview with DisneyDispatch columnist Jeff Heimbuch on iTunes for free (or download it if you don't have iTunes), and you can read an excerpt of it in a recent installment of Jeff's column, From the Mouth of the Mouse.


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