For Disney fans, there is no living legend more legendary than the great Imagineer Bob Gurr, who worked at Disney for nearly 30 years, developing most of the iconic vehicle designs at Disney parks from the Monorail to the Matterhorn Bobsleds to the defunct Flying Saucers.
Gurr remains the only living Imagineer who worked with Walt Disney on original attractions at Disneyland, having started at Disney in 1954, at only 22 years old. Gurr has also taken on a bit of a queer icon status, speaking at Disney Gay Days and talking about his life working as gay man at Disney (according to Gurr, Walt Disney was too busy to care about his employees' sexual orientation). In his non-Disney life, Gurr also consulted on Stephen Spielberg's Jurassic Park and figured out how to make a pirate ship sink night after night at Las Vegas' Treasure Island.
At D23 Expo last week, the now 90-year-old Gurr hung out at his Fandom Productions booth advertising Bob Gurr inspired tiki cups (designed by Zachary Pearson) and taking photos with adoring fans (he brandished a telescoping stick, which he used to keep fans six feet away). I stopped by to say hello and ask him what his favorite design of all time was (don't worry, I did tell him this was for an article). I had been expecting him to say one of the classic favorites like the Doom Buggies in the Haunted Mansion or even the historic Monorail, in which Gurr had driven then-Vice President Nixon during the Monorail's dedication day. To my surprise, Gurr responded that what he loved designing the most was the Fire Engine at Main Street, USA.
The Fire Engine runs about 35 miles an hour and was built in 1958 as a replica of a 1916 fire engine. Apparently, Walt Disney loved the Fire Engine so much that he would drive around the park before it opened. Disney's final official photograph taken in Disneyland was taken in the drivers seat of the Fire Engine, with Mickey as his passenger.
When I asked why the Fire Engine was Gurr's favorite, Gurr responded it was because he was the one to convince Walt Disney to do it, "I talked Walt into it! It's as simple as that."