Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, even in the world of Disney park tributes

When you're a Hidden History hunter, practically every anomaly gets you to question whether there's an inside connection. After all, there are no accidental "71s" in the Magic Kingdom, and all those random numbers you see on pipes usually look like some variation of birth dates and years. Photos of kids have to come from somewhere - is it a stretch to think maybe the Imagineers used pics of their own kids?

When you get to an attraction rich with inside jokes like Carousel of Progress - lots of Hidden Mickeys (sorcerer hat, abstract painting, nutcracker, sorcerer plates) and at least one Imagineer call out (to Herb Ryman, whose name can be seen through the window in the 1920s scene) - you're on high alert.

You know especially that the bulletin board and dry erase board in the finale scene are full of insider things.

On the dry erase board, you've got a reference to 1401, the address on Flower Street in Glendale where Imagineering is based.

There's the famous post-in note saying "Marty called -- wants changes" in reference to then-head of Imagineering Marty Sklar.

So when you take your zoom lens and locate a business card on the same corkboard, the tendency is to think you've hit upon another reference and homage. Take this business card from just below the Marty reference:

Perhaps your first thought, like mine was, is that Roger Everett must be an Imagineer associated with the project, who found a way to make himself timeless! But it doesn't appear to be. I couldn't find evidence of Roger Everett having worked at Imagineering (this is not conclusive, btw), so I turned to an open Google search.

What I found online is that "Roger Everett" is the name of someone who actually does carpentry work in the Orlando area. In other words, probably there is no Imagineering connection, but this could be a tribute of sorts. One assumes Mr. Everett assisted in the 1990s refurbishment of the attraction, and got to include his calling card as a kind of... er, calling card... in the finished experience.

So it's not a smoking gun connection to an Imagineer. That makes this a red herring search in a way, but as the title of the post says, sometimes a cigar really is just a cigar.

Kevin Yee is the author of numerous independent Disney books, including the popular Walt Disney World Earbook series and Walt Disney World Hidden History.