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The Ryman Centennial: Safari So Good

Herb Ryman has some cake before setting off on safari

As we’ve mentioned, after the completion of EPCOT Center Imagineer Herb Ryman left for a trip to the wilds of Africa. His paintings from the trip evoke the majestic landscapes of the continent, with which Herb became infatuated while working on the Equatorial Africa pavilion for EPCOT.

Before he left, though, Herb was the guest of honor at an Imagineering “bon voyage” party. From the WED/MAPO Imaginews from February 25th, 1983:

Herb Ryman left last January 21, for an extensive trip to paint and observe peoples and cultures of different nations. All of Herb’s friends at WED & MAPO got together to wish him a “bon voyage”.

Recently, “Herbie’s” friends told the Imaginews that Herb will be traveling extensively throughout Africa, spending time in such places as Nairobi and Lake Naivasha, Kenya, East Africa. He is presently at Lamu Island. Later, Herb will continue his travels to such far-off and exotic locales as Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan.

We all wish Herb the best of luck in his journey!

As John Donaldson relates in his biography of Ryman, while on the aforementioned Lamu Island Herb paid visit to Frank Maurice “Bunny” Allen, a former big game hunter. Allen had served as a consultant on MGM’s Mogambo, and in earlier times had worked as a gunbearer for the husband and the lover of one Karen Blixen; Blixen would go on to adopt the pseudonym Isak Dinesen and write the memoir Out of Africa.

What the?
An interesting tidbit in the background of those photo – note the planned monorail line to the Lake Buena Vista Village leaving EPCOT between the Universe of Energy and the future site of Horizons

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5 comments to The Ryman Centennial: Safari So Good

  • As many an afternoon, Imagineering meeting was held at “Hello Doll,” a strip joint in North Hollywood, it seemed only appropriate that when Herbert retired, a soft sculpture be made, in homage…such was designed by Peggy Van Pelt and Jeff Burke. Look closely at the photo of their resultant, buxom redhead, and you can see a miniature model of Herb, at knee, sketchpad and pencil in hand, making note of anatomy…

  • LOL I was hoping you’d be able to illuminate what in the world that was! And it’s even more hilarious than I had imagined…

  • philphoggs

    Aha, they are human after all! Good stuff, thanks

  • RO93461

    I remember Herb telling me stories of the “Hello Doll” as well. He joked about it often. Cheap steamed hot dogs and beer. There was a large painting Ryman did of the topless dancer on stage and it was hung in the WD Studio matte painting department. One of the artists owned it and kept it above his desk. That was as close as I got. I’m sure Herbie’s rendition of the dancer was the most flattering tribute she ever got.

  • That’s incredible. I would guess that’s *probably* the greatest tribute that young lady received in her lifetime – memorialized by one of the greats. And honored with a spot in Walt Disney’s studio! Amazing. If only I could track her down and interview her haha…

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