Frank Mezzatesta
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Walt Disney Imagineering Big D

The Big D Cafeteria
The cafeteria in the main 1401 Flower Imagineering building is called the "Big D". I assume anyone that was not working at Imagineering in the 1980's assume the "D" stands for Disney. Well it does not.

In the 1980's Dennis M along with his wife worked at Imagineering. Everyone knew Dennis and everyone loved him. He was bigger than life both physically and personality wise. As I remember him he always had a smile on his face. He ran the document control department just down the hall and to the left of my office. In those days everything was on paper and not electronic files. Any project you worked on you probably went to his area to get a blueprint of something or other documents. I was there all the time. Even though we had a rather large staff he was always there right in the middle of things.

One sad day I was directed to the hallway by my coworkers saying something was going on. In the hallway we could see EMTs heading to document control and soon afterwards wheeling someone out. It was Dennis! We learned later that Dennis had past away at work. Don't know if we got the details but I remember it as a heart attack.

As you can imagine it was very sad for a long time after that. Soon after our old cafeteria was being totally redone. We heard that the new cafeteria was to be renamed and called the Big D, after (big) Dennis M.

Since 2002 I rarely ate in the Big D after R&D moved down the street where we have our own cafeteria but most every time I did I thought of Dennis. The brief moment of sadness was interrupted by the site of Harold.

To end on a lighter note there is Harold, a mannequin of sorts. He has been a fixture in the cafeteria since it was redone and has been moved around over the years. Last I saw him he was sitting in a chair by himself just past the cashier. Do most people know why he is there and what his name is? I'm not sure. When I hired on, Harold ran the cafeteria and the one across the street on Sonora for the Singer Librascope* company. I know nothing about him, he kept to himself and actually the food wasn't always that good. With the new cafeteria was a new person in charge and the contract with Harold ended. Soon after "Harold" appeared and when asked who is that, we were told it was Harold. That's all I know. So I always smile and say "Hi Harold" as I walk by.

* If you search the web for Singer Librascope Glendale there is some interesting information about the company. More recently Disney TV Animation moved into that building.

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