Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Legends: Joyce Carlson

“it's a world of laughter, a world of tears.
its a world of hopes, its a world of fear.
theres so much that we share,
that its time we're aware,
its a small world after all.”

These words were written by the Sherman Brothers, but they were very dear to Joyce Carlson. It is played throughout the ride that she helped to create.

Joyce Carlson was born in Racine, Wisconsin on March 16, 1923. When she was 15 years old her family moved to Southern California where she graduated from Santa Monica High School. In 1944 she began work in the traffic department of the Walt Disney Studios.

After six months delivering supplies to animators she was hired for the Ink and Paint department and for the next 16 years worked as an inker. She worked on such films as The Three Caballeros, Cinderella, Peter Pan and others. The use of a new Xerox process at the Studios facilitated Carlson’s move to WED Enterprises. There she worked with miniature prototypes of attractions that Disney planned to install in the 1964 New York World’s Fair.

Of these, It’s A Small World is the attraction most associated with Carlson. She is credited with creating the characters for the attraction. Carlson was one of the team that was sent to New York to install the attraction, and she was involved in the brining it to Disneyland, Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland.

Asked about her favorite scene, she said, “Though I’ve always liked the Europe scene with the balloon kids, can-can dancers and Eiffel Tower, they’re all my kids. I couldn’t choose. You might say I’ve got a big family in ‘It’s a Small World.’”

Joyce Carlson retired in 2000 after spending 56 years with the company. She was the first woman to reach the 50 and 55 year milestone with Disney and continued acting as a mentor to new Imagineers through 2007. She died at her home in Orlando on January 4th of this year.

Joyce was honored as a Disney Legend in 2000. Her window on Main Street U.S.A. reads, “Dolls by Miss Joyce, Dollmaker for the World.”

(Photos: of Joyce Carlson, The Disney Legends website; of the Main Street U.S.A. window, by the author.)

No comments: