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Albert Bertino; Creator of Many Disney Favorites

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Albert “Big Al” Bertino, a Disney animator who created many of the attractions at Disneyland including the Country Bear Jamboree, a stage show featuring an animatronic bear named “Big Al” that Bertino said was his self portrait, has died at age 84.

He died Sunday in Los Angeles, a spokesperson said.

His other creations at the Anaheim amusement park have been crowd favorites since the early days of Disneyland--Pirates of the Caribbean, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Treasure Island and the Haunted Mansion.

Bertino joined Disney studios in 1939. He helped create “Fantasia” and “Pinocchio” and such characters as Bambi, Goofy, Donald Duck and the chipmunks Chip and Dale.

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One of his favorite stories involved working on a Christmas segment involving the birth of Jesus.

“Walt wanted to make sure it was in good taste, so he said, ‘Get someone from St. Josephs Hospital across the street, a nun, and see if she likes it,”’ Bertino would often relate. “So I got the Mother Superior and went through it for her. She said, ‘Oh, this is so wonderful, where do you people get your ideas?’ ”

“Wanting to please her,” Bertino said, “I rolled my eyes upward and said, ‘Well, when we get stuck we get some help from the man upstairs,’ and she said, ‘Oh, yes, that Mr. Disney is so clever.’ ”

Bertino was considered one of the Disney “old timers” who perfected what came to be called “Imagineering,” a combination of creative imagination and innovative engineering.

Bertino also wrote many of the shows presented on the hour-long Sunday television series “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color.”

Before joining Disney, Bertino worked as a cartoonist and illustrator, often creating covers for a now-defunct Los Angeles Times magazine called “Home.”

Bertino is survived by his wife of 55 years, Georgina; a son, a daughter and four grandchildren.


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