You see an ominous grandfather clock, forever striking thirteen, as the shadow of a threatening hand slowly descends. The stuff of nightmares, no? This is another brilliant Haunted Mansion tableau only briefly glimpsed and yet easily grasped. It works because the imagery is familiar enough for you to need only a glance in order to read it.
As we have done with many other Mansion marvels, we're going to explore the cultural background which helps to explain why this scene makes immediate sense when you experience it. Then we'll look at the creative process among the Disney Imagineers leading to this particular showpiece. We'll finish with a few Clock Hall trivia items that need a good home. If all goes according to plan, when we're finished, you'll know more about that
making scary movies. They're right up there with suits of armor when it comes to creepy things standing around in dark old houses.
Since none of these looks much like the clock we finally ended up with, there must be missing pages to our history. There are probably more sketches out there, by Claude Coats or (more likely) Marc Davis, sleeping soundly in some forgotten file. Anyway, once it had been decided that (1) no ghost would be visible until Madame Leota worked her wonders, and that (2) the clock would come before the Séance room, the ghost inside the cabinet had to disappear, as ghosts are wont to do anyway. Nevertheless, the fixture itself sprouted a few spectral countenances. The demon face framing the clock face is the obvious one. I'm sure that many (if not most) of you have long been aware of it.
if the hands are going backward, perhaps I am going backward too, and in that case it will soon be breakfast again. Oh dear, this is all very confusing."
has hands reflecting the artistic stylings of its Japanese setting, and Phantom Manor has snakes.
(2) Only the WDW clock face actually has thirteen marks on it; the others simply put a 13 where the 12 would be.
in the Clock Hall other than the clock. You can see part of it in this photo:
don't find many pictures of it. Here's the WDW door:
Originally, the door was for access to the projector for Madame Leota's face. You will recall that she was going to face the other direction, looking toward you rather than away from you as you entered the room. The Imagineers turned her around sometime in mid-1969, probably because they realized that there would be no way to avoid people seeing the projector as they swung by. On the blueprint below, you can see the little room (yellow) with the projector (blue) behind the clock (red). The projection would have come out of the wooden "spirit cabinet" which is still sitting right there behind Mdm L.