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June 23, 2014 AT 1:00 am

Disney’s Animatronics started with reverse engineering a mechanical bird…

Adafruit 3263
Disney’s Animatronics started with reverse engineering a mechanical bird….

When Walt Disney found an antique mechanical singing bird in a shop while on vacation in New Orleans, he was intrigued. He reasoned that he and his staff had been doing animation on film for years, but it would be fun to try some three-dimensional animation.

Walt had Wathel Rogers and other studio technicians take the bird apart to see how it worked. Then work was started to come up with a prototype figure. Charles Cristadoro, a sculptor, modeled some human heads, utilizing actor Buddy Ebsen and staff members around the Studio as models, and experiments were made with cams, hydraulics, and other methods of enabling the figures to move realistically.


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