“I remember one day, [Walt] came over to my office and he just sat down with a big sigh, and he said something like, ‘Oh, Bobby, I made a mistake. I can’t pump my own gas, and I can’t go to the drugstore to get my own medicine anymore. Everybody wants an autograph. Before the television program, nobody knew me.’ The way he said it, he was truly sad that something was slipping away. I never forgot that because I felt it must be painful to not be able to do what you want anymore.
“I think Walt was always very aware that, to a lot of people, he was kind of a god-like figure, but from a practical standpoint, when you’re working with people and you’re communicating with them, you’ve got to have a natural ease with that communication. We were visiting Westinghouse in Pittsburgh, and Don Burnham, the chairman of the board of Westinghouse at the time—the key figure in Westinghouse—met Walt—the key figure in Walt Disney Productions—at a cocktail hour. I noticed that Don Burnham’s lower lip began to quiver and he was having a hard time talking, the closer that Walt got to him. Walt would deliberately do things, little motions, like loosening his tie and making his clothes kind of askew so that you felt kind of friendly, he was more approachable figure. I saw this all the time. He would take a few minutes to calm everybody else down, that it’s okay, it’s only me, and these are ideas, and we want to talk about them.
“He had a little funny porkpie type of hat that he would stuff in a side pocket and when we’d go outside of a building to look at some equipment, he’d pick this little hat up and simply plop it on his head and not even rearrange it. Wherever it hit, that was it and I think that, in combination with keeping his tie sort of askew, always made him look sort of semi-ratty and I think that was the signal that he was subtly sending to everybody that, yeah, I might be Walt Disney, but I’m really an easy guy to talk to.”— Bob Gurr, Imagineer