The
CalArts Alumni Magazine

Donald “Don” Simpson ’69

Donald “Don” Simpson ’69 says, “I was at Chouinard in the late ’60s on a veteran loan. I had a summer job at W.E.D. (the firm that designs Disneyland parks) where I built model houses for the EPCOT diorama and painted the original pirate shoes for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. I got to see a lot of top craftspeople at work and behind-the-scenes parts of Anaheim Disneyland. The most fun part was working with T. Hee on a planned Tomorrowland shooting gallery. He knew what made things funny, be they still or moving. The shooting gallery consisted of an invasion by little green flying saucer men. Their belt buckles were four-hole buttons, with photocell holes, and the customers’ guns fired bursts of light. Funny things would happen when a light beam hit an alien ’belly button.’ It was something different for each alien, in cascading sequences, each gag topping the previous one. T came up with gags and I showed him appropriate mechanical linkages, or I would show him odd mechanisms and he would find humor in them. A few test aliens were built, but for some reason (possibly Walt Disney’s death) the project was dropped. I couldn’t talk about it because of the 10-year nondisclosure agreement.”