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).

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Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Phantom Five and the Drummer of Tedworth

Updated Nov 6, 2019

It is well known that the Haunted Mansion Imagineers did a lot of research into ghost lore, looking for ideas.  In at least one version of his 1957-58 Ghost House, Ken Anderson populated it with famous villains and spooks from history, literature, and cinema.  When Rolly Crump and Yale Gracey took over the reins of the project in 1959, they too read a lot of ghost stories, according to Rolly himself.  The fact that they were doing this kind of research even made it into official press releases.

Occasionally, if we're lucky, it's possible to trace something in the HM back to its original inspiration in ghost lore.  A good example is the Brown Lady of Raynham Hall, whom we have met before, once upon a nightmare.  She first inspired a sketch by Ken Anderson which then wandered through Marc Davis's imagination and eventually emerged as the attic bride.

Another good example is the Phantom Drummer of Tedworth, the first really famous poltergeist in England.  He was a pretty spectacular ghost, causing quite an uproar back in the 1660's.  What we know about the Phantom Drummer comes primarily from Saducismus Triumphatus:  Or, Full and Plain Evidence Concerning Witches and Apparitions, a two-volume set published in 1681 by Joseph Glanvil.  The book was a seminal early investigation into supernatural phenomena.  (Incidentally, it was also an excellent example of early printing, a very handsome edition for its day.)

As Alice says, what is the use of a book with no pictures in it?  Not to worry; as you can see, Glanvil was illustrated.

That's the Phantom Drummer of Tedworth in the upper left corner.

The Imagineers thought about bringing this famous spook to the Mansion, and Marc Davis did a concept sketch,
clearly labeled "The Phantom Drummer of Tedworth."  Marc wanted the drum sound to be a human heartbeat.

(He modeled the drummer on a previous sketch of skeletal Revolutionary War ghosts, not published until 2019.)


They didn't use the Tedworth ghost, of course.  Or did they?  Notice the band uniform?  When the idea of a graveyard band was first being kicked around, the drummer was much more of a central character in the artwork.  He had a quasi-quasimodo sidekick just to hold up his drums.

As the band idea took shape, the ensemble expanded, and the drummer became less of a star.
He still had his flunky, however, until quite late in the game:

But the drum-bearer was eventually ditched in favor of a floutist, who had previously been conceived as a solo figure:


When they did that, the fate of the drummer was sealed. It meant
that he was going to be viewed as just another player in the band.

Maybe that explains why he looks so p.o.'d.  Actually, I've always thought he looks a little like Charlie Watts.
It's the mouth.  Look, if Keith can do Disney movies....

Besides the illustration in Glanvil, there's another noteworthy rendering of the PD of T, dating from the 19th c., a satirical sketch by George Cruikshank.  Cruikshank was a famous caricaturist, perhaps best known for illustrating Charles Dickens' books.
Marc Davis would likely have been familiar with Cruikshank's work.

It's interesting to compare Cruikshank's ghostly drummer with Davis's artwork.

Just as it's interesting to compare the original Glanvil illustration.  I wonder if the horns and ears
of the little devil may have suggested the style of hat Marc used in his sketch.

Whatever contribution Cruikshank's sketch may have made, when you're looking at that diabolical imp flying over the roof in that old engraving, you're probably looking at the original spark that eventually gave us the graveyard band.  The Phantom Drummer became the Phantom Five.


  1. Dan,

    Not that it adds anything to your article, but I believe that the "p.o'd" head of the drummer is the same as a particular pirate in POTC.

    Now, I've not yet been to DL. (not till Nov 1st, that is.) But in WDW's POTC, the same head (I think) is in the scene in which the pirates are beckoning the dog with the keyring.

    It may not be the same in DL (which I'll find out Nov 1st. Did I mention that?) but in WDW, it's the pirate who says "Blasted, Black-hearted cur!"

    Coincidence? Poor observational skills on my part? What do you think?


  2. It may well be the same head. Not only did they recycle POTC heads all through the HM, but they used the same heads multiple times. The old lady patting the weeping girl on the back in the maiden line-up at the POTC auction? She's also a pirate on the bridge, also Great Caesar's Ghost, also one of the floating visitors in the ballroom (the "rich old maid"), also the harpist in the graveyard band, etc. Between the two rides, there are some heads that must be re-used at least five or six times, and some of them began their careers on the Carousel of Progress and even the Jungle Cruise (the guy at the top of the rhino pole is also the HM Caretaker).

  3. Hi Dan -

    I always thought the Phantom Drummer was Marc's first stab towards the look that would become the HBG. I think the facial features are pretty similar. Unfortunately, by the time I talked to Marc about the HBG design, his memories were pretty spotty. I wish I would have had the foresight to talk to him about it in the early 90s... Anyway - I love the look of this ghost - it would be great to see him realized some day!

  4. I think he looks great, too. So much energy. This is one of those drawings I never get tired of seeing. I hadn't thought of the HBG, but comparing the concept sketches, yeah, you do see some similarity.

  5. Once and for all, is "The Phantom Five" really an official name for the Graveyard Band? Jason Surrell says in his Second Edition that The Singing Busts are "dubbed" (officially or not) as The Phantom Five. Please, let us dumb ones know the truth!

    1. The band is called "The Phantom Five" in their caption on the "12 Funtastic Scenes" fold-out (essentially a postcard), which dates from 1969. In contrast, I cannot find any early source that applies that name to the singing busts. The name may have migrated casually to the busts at some point, perhaps even among Imagineers for all we know, but if we're going to be sticklers, the earliest evidence we now have assigns that name to the band. I tend to be a stickler.

  6. The singing busts are the Mallow Men, the Phantom Five are the band.

    1. Actually, that's another misconception: the singing busts are not the Mellomen.