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The Brave Engineer - Ollie Johnston

By Life Magazine - August 11, 1952 - Flintridge, CA

Early SCLS member Ollie Johnston on his Pacific Type Locomotive.

Ollie Johnston on his Pacific Locomotive

Story and photo from the August 11, 1952 issue of Life Magazine.

Like a smoke-shrouded ghost of Casey Jones, Engineer Ollie Johnston is driving his Pacific-type 4-6-2 locomotive down the rocky gorges of California. Unlike Casey, however, whose celebrated engine was a "big eight wheeler of mighty fame," Johnston is intently peering over an engine which is only 16 inches high.

Ollie shares with 102 members of the Southern California Live Steamers a passion for constructing operative scale models of steam locomotives. Recently he threw open his two acre Flintridge home to his fellow members for their bimonthly "run." When Ollie mounted to the cabin and took the throttle in his hand, he set the scene for this startlingly unreal photograph. Unreality comes easy to Johnston, however, who is an old hand at this sort of thing--he makes his living as a cartoon animator for fellow Live Steamer Walt Disney.


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