Animatronics are ubiquitous now with themed entertainment but it wasn’t always that way. Pioneers in robotics and entertainment worked over the past several decades to pave the way for where we are today with animatronic figures that not only look and behave really convincingly but operate reliably hour after hour for days and weeks on end.

Some of the living legends that were part of this evolution were assembled together for a Mechanized Magic panel at San Diego Comic-Con. Panelists included included Bill Butler (Creative Director for Garner Holt Productions) Garner Holt himself, and Bob Gurr (Disney Legend and former Imagineer.)

Here’s a few of the highlights of what they shared!

Garner started at a young age

In 1976 Holt had built a Uncle Sam animatronic for a class project. A year later on July 25, 1977 he incorporated Garner Holt Productions.

It all started with a car

Disney Legend Bob Gurr started at Disneyland in 1954 working on the Autopia attraction. But us Disney fans know that the attraction he is probably best known for is the Monorial!

The start of the Disneyland animatronic

The first animatronics used for Disneyland were actually the animals used for The Jungle Cruise. The first time the term was used was for Mine Train through Nature’s Wonderland.

Disneyland isn’t the only place for animatronics

When Knott`’s Berry Farm built their Calico Main Train at first all of the animatrincss were static figures. But then they were chagned, and even more upgraded with the recnt channges.

Animatronics are not just for attractions

Bob Gurr after working for Disney worked with Steven Spielberg on the design of the Dinosaurs in Jurassic Park. H e also helped design the animatronic at Universal Studios Hollywood’s King Kong.

More to See!

We are at San Diego Comic-Con 2017 the entire weekend with plenty to see! Check it all out by clicking below!