The clincher was a visit to Disneyland. Garner Holt had always been fascinated with figures and motion; he made his first animated show — a carrot and a cucumber — when he was six years old. Then he found the August, 1963 edition of National Geographic magazine with a picture of Walt Disney showed his Abraham Lincoln figure. Next came the purchase of “The Haunted Mansion” [LP] record which included a book. After a visit to Disneyland — the next logical step — Garner announced “This is what I’m going to do the rest of my life,” meaning building the things he’d seen at Disneyland. (This came as a surprise to his father, who was a racehorse trainer and had hoped his son would become a veterinarian.) So this teenager started a business, first by making haunted houses and related effects and then progressing to theme-park attractions.
Today Garner Holt Productions (http://www.garnerholt.com/) is the leader in making animatronic figures and show elements for theme parks, businesses and museums around the world. If you’ve ever visited Chuck E. Cheese, you’ve seen Garner’s work. This July, the Disneyana Fan Club recognized Garner’s contributions to the entertainment field by honoring him as a Disney Legend. There is a video clip on YouTube from that ceremony with Garner relating his secret for learning about complex figures at such a young age. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_p6j95WSSw
The photo is from the Garner Holt Productions’ website.