Walt Disney valued quality artists, like multi-talented Xavier Atencio, who helped animate Disney classics, including “Fantasia,” and later developed music for such Disneyland attractions as Pirates of the Caribbean.
He recalled the day Walt first greeted him with a robust, “Hi ya’, X!” Walt’s acknowledgment by name (Xavier, by initial, which was his nickname at the Studio) was a thrill to the young artist and future Imagineer.
X recalled, “Walt was a father image. You felt good merely having been in the presence of his dynamic personality.”
Born in Walsenburg, Colorado in 1920, X moved to Los Angeles in 1937, where he attended Chouinard Art Institute. Instructors gently prodded the shy, young artist to submit his portfolio to The Walt Disney Studios. The next year, he startled neighbors when he ran past their homes, from the Company’s Hyperion Studio to his aunt’s house, shouting “I got a job at Disney!”
Within three years, X was promoted to assistant animator… read more