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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Disney Legend #14: John Hench

The fourteenth person inducted as a Disney Legend was John Hench. Born in Iowa, Mr. Hench attended many art and architecture schools around the country before finding himself at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles, which is where Walt Disney discovered him. Eager to settle down with his wife, Mr. Hench took a job in the Disney art department. Mr. Hench's talents weren't in animation, but in guiding the artistic look and feel of an animated picture. The elaborate concept art developed by Mr. Hench was beautiful on its own, but was used mainly as a guide for the artists whose art would actually appear in the finished film. While his artwork would go unseen by the general public for decades, it would serve as a guide for the finished product. Mr. Hench was regarded as a genius by Walt Disney himself.

Mr. Hench's artistic talents were heavily utilized throughout DISNEYLAND. Building interiors and corresponding color schemes at The Park were mostly developed by Mr. Hench. In fact, he was heavily involved in every construction and refurbishment project during the 1960's. Amusingly, Mr. Hench would often get mistaken for Walt Disney while he was working in the park. Mr. Disney never minded this since it gave park guests an added bit of excitement during their visit to his Magic Kingdom.

Mr. Hench spent over 65 years working for The Walt Disney Company, having a hand in designing every Disney theme park built up until his death in 2004 of a heart attack. His designs and artistry are still enjoyed today by the millions of people who visit DISNEYLAND each year, even if the vast majority of them don't even know his name.