Imagineer Bob Gurr has always been a man on the move. And, for almost 40 years, he helped move many a happy Disney theme park guest aboard vehicles and ride conveyances of his own design. As he’s often quipped, “If it moves on wheels at Disneyland, I probably designed it.”
And he certainly has. Bob has developed more than 100 designs for attractions ranging from Autopia and Matterhorn Bobsleds to the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Monorails, and more.
Born in Los Angeles on October 25, 1931, young Bob was fascinated with tools, mechanical devices, and cars. Later, he attended Art Center College of Design on a General Motors scholarship, where he studied industrial design. Upon graduation in 1952, he was hired by Ford Motor Company, but soon purchased a rubber stamp marked “R.H. Gurr Industrial Design” and went into business for himself.
Shortly thereafter, WED Enterprises, today known as Walt Disney Imagineering, hired Bob to consult on the design of miniature cars for the original Autopia attraction. Walt Disney was so impressed with Bob’s knowledge and skill that he invited him to join the Imagineering family, which then was solely dedicated to the design and construction of Disneyland.
Over the next nearly four decades, Bob worked transportation magic developing the memorable Flying Saucers attraction in Tomorrowland, the antique cars and double-decker buses of Main Street, U.S.A., Ford Motor Company’s Magic Skyway, which premiered at the 1964–65 New York World’s Fair, and more. Bob also helped design the mechanical workings of Disney’s first Audio-Animatronics® human figure, Abraham Lincoln, featured in Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.
In 1981, Bob retired from Walt Disney Imagineering, but occasionally consulted on Disney projects, including the giant Ursula creature featured at Tokyo DisneySea. He continues to make mechanical magic while living his favorite philosophy, in the words of Malcolm Forbes: “While alive, live!”