You may not know the name well, but you know the work. Blaine Gibson was responsible for many of the faces found at the Disney Resorts. Most famously he was created the Partners statues at both Disneyland and Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World.
The Disney Animation Research Library reported July 5, 2015 of Gibson’s passing. Blaine Gibson was born in 1918 and was first an animator under Walt Disney. After seeing Gibson’s sculpture work he was reassigned. (Thanks to The Walt Disney Family Museum for facts)
Since being reassigned to Imagineering (what was then WED Enterprises) he was the one responsible for figures in several attractions. Among the most notable are Abraham Lincoln, the pirates in Pirates of the Caribbean, and almost all the presidents in the Hall of Presidents. His last sculpted president was George W. Bush.
Recently on a Keys to the Kingdom tour at Walt Disney World, I learned just how gifted the sculptor was. The statues Partners and Sharing the Magic are unique. They are not made out of a cast, but hand sculpted bronze by Gibson! The other thing I learned about is about the process of the audio-animatronics by Gibson. Where it’s easy to patch an animal animatronic, it’s not easy to just patch a human animatronic. Blaine Gibson made sculpted busts of figures to make mask casts from. These sculptures are unique, but the casts can be made over and over again.
Gibson was a Disney Legend, and lived up to this title. There is so much of his work around the world, and his talent stretches that far too. I don’t know anyone that has not marveled at how lifelike figures look in attractions. It’s uncanny the amount of detail that Blaine Gibson was able to capture. There will not be another just like him. And, he will live on in all the figures and sculptures he has produced.