Things You're Just Supposed to Know

Most of the time, Long-Forgotten assumes that readers are already familiar with basic facts
about the Haunted Mansion. If you wanna keep up with the big boys, I suggest you check out
first of all the website, After that, the best place to go is Jason Surrell's book,
The Haunted Mansion: Imagineering a Disney Classic (NY: Disney Editions; 2015). That's the
re-named third edition of The Haunted Mansion: From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies (NY:
Disney Editions, 2003; 2nd ed. 2009). Also essential reading is Jeff Baham's The Unauthorized
Story of Walt Disney's Haunted Mansion (USA: Theme Park Press, 2014; 2nd ed. 2016).

This site is not affiliated in any way with any Walt Disney company. It is an independent
fan site dedicated to critical examination and historical review of the Haunted Mansions.
All images that are © Disney are posted under commonly understood guidelines of Fair Use.


Friday, July 2, 2010

Opening Day Photo


Edited and updated, September 13, 2011.

This really should have been included with the previous post, but it's special enough to justify its own.    Reportedly, there was very little fanfare accompanying the Mansion's opening, even at the "official" one on Tuesday the 12th.  It's hard to find any historical relics.  This photo has been circulating for years, but as far as I know, I was the first to try to make a systematic case that it's an opening day photo.  For what it's worth, here's the argument:

  • It's stamped "August 1969" on some copies.
  • It's a very professional photo, not a tourist snapshot.  Someone hired someone to take this shot.
  • It's probably not staged.  If it were, why would the photographer have included the Cast Member at the turnstile near the center of the shot?  He adds nothing to the photo; in fact, he's a distraction. He is, however, correctly placed, ready to collect tickets.
  • It appears to be a special occasion.  The Cast Members standing like sentinels out front are unusual.
  • The Mansion has not yet opened this day.  In even the slowest moving lines, the majority of people face in the direction of movement, but not here.  These people are waiting for the Mansion to open, not waiting for their turn on a ride already in operation.
  • You can see no children in line, and only one or two teens.  That could well be because the ride's contents were still unknown, and no one knew yet if the ride was too scary for children.

I used to think that the occasion that corresponds best with all of the above would be the morning of Tuesday, August 12th, the "official" opening day, but in September 2011, "ww12345" at Micechat posted this clipping from the LA Times, dated 8-12-69:

So the photo must have been taken before the 12th.
It must go  back to the "real" opening over the previous weekend, probably the 9th or the 10th.

Incidentally, it's a fabulous photo.  The building looks alive and menacing.  The photographer resisted the temptation to get far enough back to pick up the eye-catching cupola and instead came in low and close, so that the building corner juts out like the prow of a ship bearing down on you.  Nice.


  1. An excellent argument! I'm convinced! I really like your final point about the composition of the photograph.

  2. Thanks! You say nice things. You can stay.