requiem for a friend..not only the title for today's missive, but one of my favorite Elton John songs.
(see kids, Elton John was a singer in the 70s who's shtick was outrageous costumes, large glasses and big-ass platform shoes. if you want more information, go to www.wikipedia.com.)
i was checking my email yesterday and found out Bruce Gordon died earlier last month. he was 56.
i don't expect you to know him. but i hope after this, you might know him a little better.
Bruce worked for Walt Disney Imagineering from 1980 until 2005. he started as a model builder and moved up the food chain, eventually becoming the 'show producer' for rides at Disneyland like Splash Mountain, the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and most recently the newly opened Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage.
i got a glimpse into his world back in the 90s.
back then, as now, i was a girl in love. with Disneyland. don't ask me why, but there is something magical i feel when i walk under that train trestle and see the plaque right above my head that says "Here you leave the World of Today and enter the Worlds of Tomorrow and Fantasy."
leave the World of Today. i'm all for that.
well, back then, and at Disneyland, is where i met one of my best friends. he and his now wife were down from the Bay Area visiting Disneyland and attending a Disneyana convention.
nope. never heard of one, either.
he talked my mom & i into going. we met up on Sunday to attend the sale they always have. club members attending the convention set up their Disney wares to sell.
think garage sale. one man's trash, etc.
i eventually joined the club and started attending meetings as well as the yearly convention. that's when we met Bruce.
back then, he was a speaker at one of the events with a partner in crime, David Mumford. they both worked for Imagineering and to look at them was like looking at a modern day Laurel & Hardy.
David was thin. sorta quiet. if you looked at him, you'd want to scream "NERRRRRRD!" Bruce, on the other hand was a big guy who looked like he ate life like hamburgers - big and in one gulp.
it was the beginning of what we would call the Bruce & Dave Show.
the show would start normally. they'd come out on stage and start introducing their presentation...and then...
things would start flying. literally.
one year, their subject was the transformation of the former Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse at Disneyland to Tarzan's Treehouse. at one point, Bruce dragged out a large box and he and David started flinging out Ziplok bags, each containing a plastic leaf from the old tree. Bruce said there were over 100,000 leafs on that tree.
he had labled & numbered each one and had it on each bag. mine is still at my desk at work.
with the Bruce & Dave show, you never knew what to expect, only that you would be exhausted from laughter by the end.
at one show, they announced there would be no more flinging things into the audience - the legal department from Imagineering sent them both a letter stating it was dangerous and irresponsible, etc.
they made copies of the letter, balled 'em up and flung them out to the audience.
we lost David in 2003 to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. then i found out yesterday Bruce was gone, too.
losing David was like losing your kid brother. you always knew he was there, but you didn't miss him until he was gone. losing Bruce was like losing your crazy uncle - the one who sucked all the air out of a room and left you weak from laughter.
they've both gone. and the world is a little less fun because of it.
i guess that God decided it was time to take the Bruce & Dave Show on the road.
rest in peace, boys.