Interview: Blaine Gibson (Haunted Mansion; Pirates; If You Had Wings)

by Scott Wolf

Blaine Gibson at the Walt Disney Studios, 1993
Blaine Gibson at the
Walt Disney Studios, 1993

Blaine Gibson began his Disney career as an inbetweener on a Pluto cartoon short film “Bone Trouble,” and then on “Fantasia” and “Pinocchio” and as an assistant animator on“Bambi.” Blaine eventually began sculpting for Disney, creating the pirates in Pirates of the Caribbean, ghosts in the Haunted Mansion, Abraham Lincoln for Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, all the president before Barrack Obama for Hall of Presidents in the Magic Kingdom, Mark Twain and others for the American Adventure in Epcot, and much more. Blaine also sculpted the Partners statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse in Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom.

1:52 The Haunted Mansion; Developing three dimension characters from Marc Davis’ drawings

3:18 The inverted concavity busts whose eyes seem to follow you; Sculptor George Snowden and Yale Gracey, special effects wizard; Working on Disneyland and animating; the first Mickey Mouse head

6:35 Yale Gracey and the technique to create multiple sea gulls from Blaine’s animation for the If You Had Wings attraction in the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World

8:30 Sculpting the head for Leota Toombs (the Imagineer who appears in the crystal ball in the Haunted Mansion) and a problem with the materials used to capture her life mask

10:13 Basing his sculptures on people – a worker at Disney Studios had a great head