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Burbank Leader

Roger Broggie Jr. dies at 73; audio-animatronics whiz for Disney

4:25 PM PST, January 15, 2013

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The son of Disney's original Imagineer, Roger Broggie Jr. began working for the man he called "Uncle Walt" as a boy in 1950 when he tended the backyard railway at the studio mogul's Holmby Hills home.

Broggie was 11 when he and his younger brother, Michael, started serving as the crew for Walt Disney's miniature steam-engine railroad. The siblings pulled cars out of storage, dusted them off and rolled them down the track to a "Valley" called Yensid – "Disney" spelled backwards.

"We had chores," said Michael Broggie, whose father helped Disney build and install the train. "As Dad and Walt got the engine ready, we would fill up the tenders with coal and water."

The rarefied pastime lasted until 1953, when Disney shut down the train that neighbors had lined up to ride. The small-scale attraction had served a historic purpose, helping to inspire the creation of Disneyland.

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