I am a big fan of It’s Kind of a Cute Story by Rolly Crump as Told to Jeff Heimbuch. I have heard Heimbuch mention several times on podcasts over the last few years that Crump had more stories than they could fit in the book. As a Disney history fan, one does not want to see these tales be lost. And thankfully they have found a new outlet to get these memories out to the fans.
In the audio presentation More Cute Stories, Volume 1: Disneyland History, Disney fans can hear Crump tell the stories himself. Heimbuch provides a brief intro but for the rest of the nearly hour-long presentation it is all Crump. I assume that Heimbuch was the original audience, and that some of the content may have been recordings assembled when they were working on the earlier book. But regardless of their original intent they are delightful to hear.
The stories in this volume are mostly early Disneyland history. Crump starts, as it should with the beginning of the park before it even opened. And Crump includes the first time he meet Walt. But my favorite cute stories are maintenance and personalities. I chuckled as he described the poor state of mainatanence in “early” Disneyland where wood rotted quickly and his account of the “ice pick test” had me laughing as I was taking a lunchtime walk. And I loved hearing Crump sharing his thoughts on other Disney Legends, especially Bill Evans and Bob Gurr. With Gurr we find out their first meeting was over an automobile, which only seems right. The stories are generally frank, factual and honest. For example, he makes it clear that not all the entertainment occurring on Grad Nights was sponsored by the Mouse!
So this is an audio presentation not a printed book. So did it work for me? Rolly Crump is not a professional speaker per say but has spoken in public often. But the stories felt more candid than a polished formal presentation given to a large theater. His frequent use of the word “Cute”, which ties back to his book, gives his presentation a folksy intimate feel. The volume is all Rolly and there is no digging deeper into the topic with follow-up questions. So it is not an interview. What I would equate More Cute Stories to is an oral history as the stream of thought is not interrupted but the subject leads the discussion. The other comparison point is podcasts. A fan may be able to get some of this material from a podcast, but should expect interruptions from the hosts instead of leaving Crump in the spotlight. And one does not have to sit through the advertising that you would typically find in a podcast.
In light of free podcasts, though one has to search, would I suggest buying the CD for $9.95? For those that like physical copies, yes I think you would want this if you are a Disney history fan. The fact that you get to hear the stories from Crump himself is a huge attraction. But if the price scares you off, you can download the volume from Amazon for only $4.99. That seems more than fair for the good content, hearing the voice of a Disney Legend recount his own stories, and the ability to make it portable. Honesty, this is volume one and I am looking forward to the arrival of volume 2. Honestly, I can think of several late Imagineers from this period that I wish had been captured in this format.
More Cute Stories, Volume 1: Disneyland History delivers to the Disney fan’s ears stories of early Disneyland from a man who experienced the park while still under the watchful eye of Walt Disney. Disney fans will enjoy hearing Crump’s cute stories. And hopefully more will be on the horizon.
Review Copy Provided by Bamboo Forest Publishing