In 1955, twelve-year-old Tom Nabbe was selling newspapers at Disneyland when he heard that Walt needed someone to play the role of Tom Sawyer. Tom pestered Walt until he got the job. Nearly fifty years later Tom retired, a Disney Legend.
You can't be Tom Sawyer forever. Eventually, you grow up. When Tom Nabbe became a little too tall, a little too deep-voiced, to continue his childhood on Tom Sawyer Island, Disney made him a ride operator. No more magazine covers for Tom. No more photos with celebrities. But it wasn't the end of Tom Nabbe's career; it was just the beginning.
In true American fashion, Tom pulled himself up by his bootstraps and rose through the Disney ranks. He became a manager at Disneyland, was instrumental in the opening of both the Magic Kingdom and Epcot in Florida, and was tapped as part of the Disney team sent to Paris to open the theme park there.
Tom's Disney adventures include:
Watching Disneyland being built just down the road from his house, and later selling newspapers on Main Street, U.S.A.
Finding fame as the namesake lord of Tom Sawyer Island
Joining the early Disneyland "expatriates" who moved from Anaheim to Orlando and built the Magic Kingdom
Taking a key role in the construction of the monorail system, and later the operation of Disney's enormous logistical warehouses
Getting a well-deserved window on Main Street
Tom Nabbe's Disney story began as a fantasy and ended as the embodiment of the American dream. From straw hat to Disney Legend-these are The Adventures of Tom Nabbe!