In an earlier post I mentioned how the Disney Imagineers create scale models of the attractions they are building, a doll house version. The models are set up high on tables with a narrow gap snaking between the two sides, representing the ride path. The Imagineers can then literally walk through the model and see it from the guests' perspective. Some photos of the scale model of Pirates of the Caribbean have been widely reproduced. Like this one. There's the big man himself, pretending to say something important about a pirate's knee to Claude Coats, who pretends to listen enthusiastically. Meanwhile, the pirate is pretending to shoot Claude, and we're pretending to believe this is a candid photo. It's all a part of that special Disney bullsh . . . er, magic. Disney magic.
Shots of the Mansion model also show up here and there, and it occurred to me that it might be fun to assemble as many such photos as I could find and see how completely they reproduce the ride. As it turns out, a fairly full presentation of the attraction can be put together in this way. That's nice, but let's face it, is something like that really worth a Long-Forgotten post? Hm? Probably not. Let's forget it.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Oh all right, we'll do it, but I don't want to hear any whining. Since I've assembled these from a variety of sources, they vary in quality. Some are nothing more than screen grabs from mediocre-quality videos (I'm not proud). Also, some of the photos are well-known, and some have appeared here before, and some have even been the subject of specific commentary. Ah, but there are some that are seldom seen and that provide occasions for quaint and curious new observations. In fact, there's practically a full post on the Conservatory waiting below.
So let's get small.
The Stretching Gallery
In the January 1965 "Tencennial" TV special, Marc Davis shows us a model of the stretching room. It's too small and too empty, and at that date it's much too early to expect a scale model of the ride to be built, so we're already cheating by including this one. Still, it's full of interest.
The most interesting thing about the model is that it looks like there are spaces for stretching portraits on all eight sides of the room, not just four. Don't get too excited though, because in a few moments, Marc will show the concept art for the familiar four stretching portraits to Walt and to that robotic audio-animatronic figure that follows him around throughout the program. (Actually, that's Julie Reihm, the first Disney Ambassador, and probably a very nice person, but in this show . . . well, let's just say I've gotten more heat from a popsicle.) Anyway, it's clear from the presentation that there were only four stretching portraits planned at that point, no matter what the model implies. Questions remain, however, since there is other artwork that may suggest an eight-painting gallery; in fact, it's some of the same artwork we looked at in the post before last (The Gargoyles):
The Changing Portrait Hall
Now we're rolling. Several photos of this part of the model are out there, and as you can see, the finished attraction followed it pretty closely.
We'll see her later. Her removal from her "rightful" spot in the hallway, however,
eerily foreshadows her actual fate, since she was taken out at the end of 2004.
probably be the subject of the next post.
Here are two shots, showing two different areas of the model.
Beyond the skeins of cobwebs, you were apparently supposed to find only bluish gray mist around the doombuggy loading area (top) and total blackness elsewhere (bottom). My guess is that the mist itself was supposed to make for a brighter area around the loading belt, and combined with the few hanging lamps it was hoped that this would provide sufficient lighting. Of course, the blue mist is there, but it does little to illuminate the area. It does make for some moody silhouetting as you ascend the stairs, however. A Claude Coats contribution, don't you think?
We did this one pretty thoroughly HERE, so there isn't much to add.
We ran this photo in our Walls and Stares post, so I haven't much to add about the Corridor, but I said nothing about the Conservatory, which is partially visible on the left, and that's an interesting story.
was preserved in the final attraction with little alteration.
not the simple turned columns of the model and the preceding artwork. They're . . . bizarre.
the doombuggies, so we'll settle for a montage in order to take a closer look.
Far from being a surrealistic flight of fancy, the Conservatory columns are all about bringing continuity and consistency to the interior architecture of the HM. The lion head corbels, for example, match the similar corbels that were already installed in the grand ballroom when the giant glass panels went up and the trompe-l'oeil background mural was painted.
bier holding up the coffin. Under optimal conditions, you might be able to see the toes sticking out a little bit, but even that much is doubtful.
That spur, in a similarly stylized form, is also what you see ringing the columns. Hmm...if the spurs are taken from eagle anatomy, do you suppose the "scales" can be explained the same way? Perhaps they're a stylized representation of the scales we see on the eagle's foot? Let's think about this. We've got eagle anatomy at the bottom of the columns and lion's heads at the top. We've seen that the columns were clearly given leonine features in order to tie them in with the upcoming ballroom. Do you suppose the aquiline features also tie in somewhere else? Eagles...eagles. Eagles and Lions. *insert lightbulb* D'oh, EAGLES + LIONS! Of course! The gryphons at the foot of the stairs!
eagle feathers. Both they and the spur/claw can be seen on the carved gryphons.
Since gryphons are half eagle, half lion, they furnish you at the beginning of your second-floor journey with two of the animal motifs you will be seeing along the way until you get to the attic and exit the house. (They aren't the only ones, however; there is also a recurring serpent motif in doorknobs and corbels.)
The Séance Circle
For some reason, there are a lot of photos out there of the Séance circle model before they turned Leota around to face the other way.
In this photo of the model, the table is casting two shadows, one faint, one heavy, from two lights being used for illumination. The table cloth is all rippling and wavy, not laying down on the table top. I'm not sure what the third, smaller object is. Another piece of cloth, like a doily or something? I don't know.
We have a later film clip of the Séance circle model after they had turned Leota around into her current position. Many of you no doubt have seen it. It's from the Osmonds 1970 TV special. In fact, if you hear Kurt Russell's voice in your head saying "...and the ever-popular horn-blowing," as you look at the lower photo, then you've seen the clip way too many times. Don't raise your hands; this is between you and your priest.