2012 Roger Broggie

 

Roger Broggie went to work as Disney as a precision machinist in 1939. Among his first assignments was installation of the complicated multiplane camera animation equipment at the new Burbank lot. He later worked closely with fellow Disney Legend Ub Iwerks in developing rear-screen special effects, camera cranes and high-speed optical printers.


In 1949, Roger helped Walt build his miniature trains in the studio machine shop and later installed the backyard railroad at Walt’s Holmby Hills home. Roger was also instrumental in developing the Disneyland and Santa Fe Railroad in Anaheim.


Roger was promoted to head of the studio machine shop in 1950. Within four years, under his able direction, the shop's responsibilities expanded from creating special effects for such films as 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, to producing attractions for Disneyland, including the Monorail system and Matterhorn Bobsleds. Roger's depart-ment also created such new processes and techniques as Circle-Vision 360, a motion picture format with screens that completely surround the audience.


In 1951, Walt assigned Roger to work on “Project Little Man" and, along with fellow Imagineer Wathel Rogers, he constructed a nine-inch tall figure of a moving/talking man, which became the prototype of Audio-Animatronics (robotic) technology. In 1963, Roger and his department completed Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, the first application of Audio-Animatronics to a life-sized human figure, which premiered at the 1964-65 New York World's Fair.


In 1973, Roger turned his attention to EPCOT Center and worked on it until his retirement in 1975, after dedicating more than 50 years to Disney. He was honored in 1990 as a Disney Legend. At the ceremony, Disney Chairman Michael Eisner observed, "Any mechanical things you had to do, what you said was, 'Call Roger, he'll know how to fix it.' Without him, Disneyland wouldn't have happened." Roger passed away in November, 1991.

 

Since his passing, Roger has twice been honored by the Disney company. On October 21, 2003, Walt Disney World Railroad Steam Engine #3, the Roger E. Broggie, was re-dedicated in his honor. On March 30, 2007, he was honored with a window on Main Street, U.S.A. at Disneyland. The text reads: Can Do Machine Works/Mechanical Wonders/Live Steam Engines/Magical Illusions/Cameras/Roger Broggie, Shopmaster/ Advisor to the Magic Makers.

 

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