Francis Xavier "X" Atencio was a key Imagineer on such Disney parks classics as the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean, serving as an illustrator, sculptor, scriptwriter, and lyricist (he's co-credited on both "A Pirate's Life For Me" and "Grim, Grinning Ghosts" and was "credited" with a tombstone at the Haunted Mansion). He died on Sept 10 at the age of 98.
At the request of Walt Disney, X transferred to WED Enterprises (later Walt Disney Imagineering) in 1965 to work on the Primeval World diorama for Disneyland. At first, X was unsure of the move to WED: "I went over there reluctantly because I didn't know what I was getting into, and nobody there knew what I was supposed to do either," he recalled. "About a month later I got a phone call from Walt. He told me 'I want you to do the script for the Pirates of the Caribbean.'" From that point on, X cemented his legacy at WED, playing a key role in the development of music and dialogue for the attraction, including co-writing the iconic song, "Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life for Me)." For the Haunted Mansion, he wrote the attraction's dialogue and co-wrote the song "Grim Grinning Ghosts." For Walt Disney World, he contributed to If You Had Wings and Space Mountain at the Magic Kingdom, as well as Spaceship Earth, World of Motion, and the Mexico pavilion at Epcot. Throughout his career, X always said that his reward, as it was in the days of Pinocchio, "is still the audience's reactions."
X Atencio, Disney Animator and Co-Writer of the Pirates of the Caribbean Theme Music, Dies at 98 [Matt Novak/Paleofuture]
(Image: Brent Dodge)