When Disney Stole a Vice President

June 14, 1959 was a warm summer Sunday. What was unusual about the day was that Vice President Richard M. Nixon was about to be unknowingly kidnapped. Walt Disney had arranged for the vice president to take a small tour on the Monorail, but he had no idea the mishap that was about to take place. The park had been having trouble with the Monorail and engineers had worked overnight to get it up and running. That job fell to Disney Imagineering Legend Bob Gurr, who believed that everything was right on schedule. Walt Disney approached the train, along with Vice President Nixon, Nixon’s daughters Julie and Tricia, Art Linkletter, Disneyland Security, and, of course, the Secret Service. All of them boarded the Monorail — minus the security detail. Gurr fired up the 600-volt DC power to have the air-conditioning cool down the cab, and it wasn’t long before Walt Disney said, “Let’s go!” Terrified that the train would break down, Gurr began driving. Then Nixon noticed that the Secret Service had been left behind, which more than slightly increased Gurr’s anxiety. He thought everything was under control when he pulled back into the station, but then Nixon’s daughters yelled, “We want to go again!” Walt Disney instructed Gurr to take another spin, and as he drove off he could see the Secret Service running alongside the train, trying to jump on. Nixon, of course, got a kick out of it, as do all politicians when they think they’ve given their “babysitters” the slip.