Lilly Belle

Just as he loved to play soda jerk, he loved to play engineer. He would don an engineer’s cap and a plaid shirt, straddle the tender behind the engine, which he had named Lilly Belle, in Lillian’s honor, and fire up. Guests to the Disney home were invariably invited to take a ride on the train, and Walt would issue passes to “vice presidents” of the Carolwood Pacific—a list that included Walter Wanger, gossip columnist Hedda Hopper, ventriloquist Edgar Bergen, singer Dinah Shore, actor Dick Powell, and even Salvador Dali, who thought the detail so perfect that he feared the train would have accidents that mimicked real train crashes “or even sabotage…like miniature train wreckers!” Dali told Walt, “Such perfection did not belong to models!” But that had been the whole point. With his train Walt Disney had regained perfection.

Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination by Neal Gabler

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