A few weeks ago I came across a drawing which depicted a scene on an exotic beach with 3 cabin boys opening a treasure chest. The scene was adorned with Nesquik banners on the left and right and was clearly made to be part of a display. The drawing itself was on sale as being from Johan De Moor.
However, I was pretty sure this was a Bob De Moor drawing, not a Johan De Moor drawing because of the way the figures were drawn, the trees, plants, details, … everything clearly indicated this was Johan’s father. Nevertheless, on the top right side of the drawing there was an indication in Johan’s handwriting just saying ‘de moor’. I decided to buy the drawing nevertheless – I liked it so why not – and also sent a photo of it to Johan De Moor to tell me more about it.
A few days later, I had in the meantime paid for the drawing, Johan sent me a reply telling I was right, this was definitely Bob De Moor for the full 100%. The reason why he had written ‘de moor’ on there was because he had helped his dad adding some metadata (dates, names, …) on it. But he was very clear: “I never touched that drawing itself, this was completely my dad’s doing.”
The drawing was made in March 1982 and was commissioned by the famous chocolate drink Nesquik (Nestlé) via Publiart in partnership with the Brussels amusement park Walibi, just like they also had a Tintin related advertisement running with Côte d´Or. I could not find any info if this concept was finally used. I have contacted Nestlé to see if they could help me out on this. If I get info, I’ll update this article.
It’s not the only drawing which Bob De Moor made in relation to Walibi. In fact, there’s another drawing from January 1981 which went up for sale a while ago and which this time was correctly attributed to Bob De Moor. It shows a new plan for one of the scenes from the “The Secret of the Unicorn” album in Walibi. On this drawing you can see the ship in the harbor. This must have been an alteration of the existing plans based around the “The Secret of The Unicorn” theme as the attraction itself had already been opened in 1980.
But let’s continue, because the story starts a bit earlier than 1981 and 1982.
Bob De Moor, the voice of Red Rackham
By the late seventies Bob De Moor was appointed head of the “Walibi” project, version 2, by Hergé. He took charge of all the preparatory drawings for the development of the “Tintin” theme, which was previously based around the “Prisoners of the Sun” theme, and which would now be based around the “The Secret of The Unicorn” theme.
To prepare everything, Bob De Moor and Guy Dessicy visited Walt Disney World in 1978, and specifically the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. Their job was to transpose the naval battle scene from the comic strip “The Secret of The Unicorn” in a future attraction to be built in Walibi. The duo returned home with plenty of documents, but despite all this they did not find companies in Europe capable of making the characters of Hergé in three dimensions. Despite the delay the attraction “The Secret of The Unicorn” would finally be inaugurated in 1980. The dark water ride attraction offered visitors a trip to a fort surrounded by privateers. Visitors could discover the story of Sir Francis Haddock and Red Rackham, whose voice was interpreted by – have a guess – Bob De Moor.
The attraction was a huge success for Walibi and by the end of the season of 1980 no less than 1,150,000 people had visited the park. Following the realization of “The Secret of The Unicorn” set, the 1980s were marked by additions from the universe of Tintin throughout the park.
Note that a special limited and numbered version of the album “The Secret of the Unicorn” was commissioned as well. The flyleaf included a drawing of the castle constructed at the attraction, which was also drawn by Bob De Moor as I got confirmed thanks to the second image below which is featured in “The Making of Tintin” as Russell Stearman pointed out. “It’s a double album of Unicorn and Rackham and with a section at the end about the making of. A large chunk of that section is dedicated to the Walibi installation.”
This is the flyleaf of the special limited and numbered version of the album “The Secret of the Unicorn”.
This book in English attributes the drawing of the castle to Bob De Moor.
Especially for the occasion a special park map was also drawn, again by Bob De Moor. It holds the various scenes and again, the castle on the bottom center of the map.
Closed due to the expiration of the rights
The attraction was last used in 1995 due to the expiration of the rights to use Tintin. Officially it was announced that the attraction was now too “old-fashioned”. However, in 1997, the park tried to renew the “Tintin contract” with Moulinsart, the company which manages the work of Hergé, but the negotiations were a failure and all the references to the adventures of Tintin completely disappeared from the park.
After the attraction’s closure, the fairway was removed along with the boats. After some adjustments, the building would serve as a Halloween attraction and was reopened as a haunted house. It was one of the first Halloween attractions in Walibi Belgium.