Profile of an Imagineer: Roger Broggie Jr.

Roger Broggie Jr. was the son of Walt Disney's original Imagineer. As a young boy of 11 he began working for the man he called "Uncle Walt" when he, and his brother Michael, tended Disney's backyard railway the Carolwood Pacific. He spent his teen years in the brand new Disneyland, watching it evolve, take shape, and giving a kid stamp of approval. When he turned 18 Roger joined Disney's company in earnest as an apprentice in the WED machine shop run by his father.

Roger and Uncle Walt with the Carolwood PacificRoger and Uncle Walt with the Carolwood Pacific

Roger Broggie Jr. was an audio-animatronics pioneer who mad made key contributions important Disney attractions laying the foundation for Disney Parks to come. While working with Disney on the 1964 World's Fair Broggie Jr. became well know for his prowess in creating the groundbreaking Disney robotics known as audio-animatronics.

His influence can be seen in classic attractions that made the Disney Parks a destination for fun and adventure. He gave life to the President in Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln. He led the development and installation of audio-animatronics figures in both Pirates of the Caribbean, and the Haunted Mansion. His "hands-on technical wizardry" produced a colorful flock of mechanical exotic avians, and was instrumental in getting Walt Disney to move his idea of the Enchanted Tiki Room from a restaurant to a full-fledged attraction.

Roger Broggie, Jr (right) Works on the Pirate BrethrenRoger Broggie, Jr (right) Works on the Pirate Brethren

Disney film fans know Broggie Jr's work as well. His fascination with cars made him the mechanical wizard who brought Herbie the Volkswagon to life on the big screen in Disney's 1969 live-action film THE LOVE BUG. He created upwards of 17 different Herbies, each created and produced to carry out a special "trick" that brought the car to life.

Over the decades no less than eight members of the Broggie family, including Roger Broggie Junior, have worked for the Disney Company with six taking places in Imagineering. You can see Roger Broggie Junior's contributions to the creation of Disneyland honored on Main Street, with a second story window. Roger's name appears in the window of the Little Gremlins Mechanical Toys shop.

Roger Broggie Jr. passed away on Dec. 11, 2012 from complications of a head injury sustained when he fell while working on a float for a parade near his home in LaPine, Oregon. His legacy with the Disney Company lives on.

What is your favorite of Roger Broggie Junior's contributions? Leave a comment below.

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