Year Inducted: 2005
Bob Jani had a spectacular career producing spectaculars. In addition to some of The Walt Disney Company’s most storied entertainment events, Bob produced such festivities as the United States Bicentennial Celebration in New York Harbor in 1976, a revitalizing stage show for Radio City Music Hall, and half time entertainment at the Super Bowl.
Born in Los Angeles in 1934, Bob earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in telecommunications and stage production and design at University of Southern California (USC). He first joined the Disney organization in 1955, as head of the newly created Guest Relations Department at Disneyland.
After a two-year stint in the United States Army as Entertainment Director, Bob became director of special events for USC before forming his own private enterprise, Pacific Pageants, in 1961.
Bob rejoined the Disney organization in 1967, as director of Entertainment, and rose swiftly to vice president, and then to creative director of Walt Disney Productions, simultaneously forming his own production company, Robert F. Jani Productions, Inc. in 1978.
Both on his own and with Disney, Bob put on much of the live entertainment that has become standard fare at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Among his many achievements were America on Parade and, perhaps his greatest Disney legacy, The Main Street Electrical Parade.
Bob left Disney in 1978, to head the revival of Radio City Music Hall’s Magnificent Christmas Spectacular. From 1979 to 1982, he was in charge of all live stage productions at the venerable New York City landmark after a decade of decline, reestablishing its status as “The Showplace of the Nation.”
In 1981, Bob produced The Glory of Christmas, with a cast of 400 and a small menagerie of animals at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove. Bob drafted the master plan but did not provide the staging for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics.
Functioning worldwide as producer as well as production consultant, Bob was also artistic director for the Hollywood Bowl, producer of several television specials, and master plan consultant for Disneyland Paris and the Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park at Walt Disney World.
Robert Jani passed away on August 6, 1989, at his Palos Verdes Estates home.