March 16, 1911 – Artist, Imagineer, and Disney Legend Harper Goff is Born
“Walt liked the story-board well enough to have me give an [Audience Reaction Inquiry] to a group of exhibitors who were in town. They were enthusiastic and the rest is history.”
On March 16, 1911, Ralph Harper Goff was born in Fort Collins, Colorado. His family moved to Santa Ana, California, where he would later attend the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles. Afterwards, he moved to New York where he worked as a magazine illustrator. During World War II, Goff was asked to help design camouflage paint at a research facility at Fort Belvoir. After the war, Goff returned to California to work as a set designer for Warner Brothers, with his work being used in such classics as Casablanca, Sergeant York, and Captain Blood. He moved up the ranks to work as an associate producer and art director. After a chance meeting in London in 1951, Goff was invited by Walt Disney to work at the studio to sketch storyboards for a project, which would later evolve into the live-action feature film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. The film would go on to win two Academy Awards: one for art director, and one for special effects. Goff was also instrumental in designing concepts for several pavilions for Epcot’s World Showcase in 1975, including Japan, Italy, and the United Kingdom. He was also known for playing the banjo in the Disney Dixieland jazz band Firehouse Five Plus Two. He was inducted as a Disney Legend in 1993; the same year, Goff passed away at the age of 81.