That was her name, or title, I suppose you'd say. "Beating Heart." It's on all the blueprints and on the schematics for the figure herself, but somehow it never made its way into public usage. Oh well.
This and the next post were extensively rewritten in July of 2011 in order to reflect newly discovered evidence for the original Disneyland bride. Further revisions were made in October of 2012 when it was realized that an important photo had been misidentified, and a rare photo of the original WDW bride was added in February of 2013.
In our last exciting episode, we traced BH's roots from the Brown Lady of Raynham Hall to the red-hearted candle bearer in the attic. The project had proceeded to scale model phase, and still the attic ghostette wasn't clearly recognizable as a bride. This final touch to the character was probably added in 1968. The script for the "Story and Song" album refers to her as a bride, and this script in turn closely follows a '68 show script by X. Atencio. Whose idea was it to turn this ghost into a bride, anyway?
Ken Anderson makes a modest contribution, early in the process. He wrote four show scripts in 1957-58 (essentially four; some of them have alternate ideas already included in them). The first script in particular (Feb '57) is often cited as the beginning of our attic bride. In it, Beauregard the butler directs our attention to a painting and tells the sad story of Captain Bartholomew Gore (aka Gideon Gorelieu) and his young bride Priscilla.
When Priscilla discovers the horrible truth that her husband is, in fact, a bloodthirsty pirate, he kills her. Her ghost comes back for vengeance and eventually drives Capt. Gore to suicide. Now the place is haunted. Bingo, haunted house.
Okay, that seems clear. A tragic bride haunting the house, looking for revenge. Case closed. They just borrowed an old Ken Anderson idea. Well, not so fast. First of all, there's nothing associating Priscilla with the attic, and more importantly, she's a "bride" by definition b, not definition a. A bride is a woman soon to be wed or recently wed. The former wears a bridal gown; the latter wears a purple dress (or jeans, or whatevv), like our poor Priscilla. Aside from the bare fact that she exists not too far distant in time from her wedding day, Pris really has nothing in common with the familiar attic bride of the finished ride.
That's where BH was on opening day, and that's where I remember seeing her on August 14th. Reportedly, there was some fabric around her as part of the attic junk, and it probably glowed under black light. Perhaps they worried that she was close enough to the track to look like a mere mannequin and wanted to make her murkier and harder to "read." That too jibes with my memory. I remember her slowly rocking back and forth in an area into which she blended well. Definitely murky. She was only there a few weeks tops. When the (infamous) Hatbox Ghost, which was located near the exit on the right, failed to perform as hoped and was removed, BH was transplanted to his old spot. There she remained from Aug-Sept 1969 until May 2006, when she jumped the track to the other side and became Constance, that zany hubby-whackin' axe murderer.
What did that original bride look like? When this little essay was first posted (May 2010), that was still an open question. On July 14, 2011, the irreplaceable and irrepressible Gorillas Don't Blog posted a photo dated "October 1975," showing the Disneyland bride. It's unmistakably the model that has come to be known as the "Corpse Bride":
At the time, this was thought to be the first real evidence that this particular model of Beating Heart was once used at Disneyland. Only a few years earlier a similar photo had surfaced and had been identified by its owner as the original bride at the WDW Mansion when it opened in October of 1971.
looked like in the dark, and based on available evidence I'd say it's pretty accurate. Kids, hide your eyes!
There are enough idiosyncrasies about it that at least one intelligent observer has argued that it is a pre-opening prototype and not a production figure. The most glaring problem is the slit-like eyes. No other bride photo shows anything like that. Highly suspect.
In fairness, those eyes might be a conservative hold-over from the design you see in the maquette figure, which also has slittish eyes:
Not only that, but as it happens the mechanical design of the lighted eyes would allow for any amount of manipulation of their shape. You just mask the WALL -E eye box in her head (well, that's what it reminds me of) in any way you think appropriate and get any shape eye you want.
Exactly when the Corpse Bride was replaced is not known, neither for DL, nor for her presumed twin at WDW. Based on what evidence I have, the latest possible date would be the late 80's, but that's probably way too late. A better guess would be the late 70's.
Next up: Ol' Round Eyes and the "middle" brides.