Mechanized Magic: 40 years of Garner Holt Productions in San Bernardino County

By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)– Creating animatronics—those life-like mechanical figures that thrill visitors at theme parks—requires a blend of imagination, technical expertise, and artistry. Young Garner Holt of San Bernardino started his career in animatronics as a teenager. His youthful vision and tinkering evolved into Garner Holt Productions, the leading company in animatronics and animatronic figures worldwide. The San Bernardino County Museum will present “Mechanized Magic: 40 Years of Garner Holt Productions in San Bernardino County,” opening Sunday, May 20, to recognize this achievement. The exhibit runs through Nov. 25.

“It’s wonderful to look back on forty years of doing what I love,” said Holt. “Creating magic for audiences all over the world is a dream come true.”

Through the lens of hands-on creativity and innovation, the exhibit traces forty years of research and design by Garner Holt and his creative team. Founded in 1977 by 16-year-old Garner in his parents’ San Bernardino garage, the company’s designs have become highlights at theme parks, museums, restaurants, and retail centers. The exhibit features historic artifacts, video clips, an interactive creativity station, and a local story that acknowledges Garner as an innovator in the same category as impactful creatives Walt and Roy Disney, Ruth and Elliott Handler of Mattel, William Hewlett and David Packard of HP, and Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google.

STEAM – an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics is a focus in modern public education. These fields are reinforced in “Mechanized Magic” with hands-on opportunities for creating imaginative inventions.

Museum Director Melissa Russo said, “It’s been a thrill to work with Garner Holt and his creative team. Our goal with this exhibit, with Garner’s inspirational example, is to encourage our local youth to consider science, engineering, and creative pathways and careers for themselves. While the Garner Holt Productions inventions are primarily entertainment based, the science behind all of their animatronics and special effects are applicable in other industries, like biotechnology, medicine, computer science, and manufacturing.”

The San Bernardino County Museum’s exhibits of regional cultural and natural history and the Museum’s other exciting events and programs reflect the effort by the Board of Supervisors to achieve the Countywide Vision by celebrating arts, culture, and education in the county, creating quality of life for residents and visitors.

The San Bernardino County Museum is at 2024 Orange Tree Lane, at the California Street exit from Interstate 10 in Redlands. The museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. General admission is $10 (adult), $8 (military or senior), $7 (student), and $5 (child aged 5 to 12). Children under five and Museum Association members are admitted free. Parking is free. “Mechanized Magic: 40 Years of Garner Holt Productions in San Bernardino County” is included with museum general admission. For more information, visit The museum is accessible to persons with disabilities.

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