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 16, 2010

That's My Queue


The back half of the queue area for the Disneyland Haunted Mansion has a long and curious history. Major additions to the berm took place in September of 2016...

...but the queueing area down below remained the same, still looking much as it does in these older photos:        .     

"That's my favorite brass knob.  That one, right there."

That last one from Daveland has some magic in it, so stay tuned.  (A big tip o' the hat to Dave.)

I'm old enough to remember this section when it hosted the family plot graveyard, a short-lived minor masterpiece remembered today by few. In the beginning, when a much higher percentage of riders had no idea what lay in store for them, the queue graveyard was virtually the only clue you had as to the tone of the attraction. Plus, the lines were longer and slower back then, so you had plenty of time to contemplate the epitaphs (and if you were a geek, to memorize them). If you're a Mansion fan, you really ought to know about this long-forgotten gem.

In the original version of this post (which has been rewritten umpteen times as new material has come to light), I was content at this point to simply remark that there aren't many photographs of the little cemetery, and I threw this meager montage at you before continuing:

I also mentioned that you could get a glimpse of the old graveyard in the 1970 Osmonds Disneyland Showtime episode, which featured the HM.

But in August of 2016 Gregg Ziak published these spectacular photos of the original graveyard at the "Vintage Disneyland" page on Facebook:

...and hold the phone, it's 10/30/2018, and here's ANOTHER great shot, courtesy of Gorillas:

...And in October of 2022 good ol' GDB posted
the BEST PHOTO SET EVER of these headstones.

I figured I'd put up some of the better photos I've got rather than that ugly little montage. I'm not at liberty to show you every photo I've got, but these are among the best. This first is actually a bw photo by Athenamama (Jeff Babb) that I've colorized and processed in various ways. Turned out nice.

pic by Jeff Babb; colorized by HBG2

You know this one.

"It's the backside of Wathel!" (Some of you will get that; some won't. Some who do will wish they hadn't.)

As it happens, one of the extant photos of the family plot was taken from exactly the same spot as the Daveland photo above.  Not only that, but this 1996-98 photo by Allen Huffmann at DisneyFans...

...was taken from almost the same spot as a publicity shot of the Osmonds in the old cemetery, one of several pubbies released to the papers before their March 1970 TV program...

...and from that wretched photo a serviceable rendition of the boneyard sans Osmonds (and Kurt) can be made.

Between the two sets, a pair of cunningly-crafted animated gifs should show you exactly where the old graveyard was located.
And since Long Forgotten is all about cunningly-crafted, here y'go (with our thanks to Captain Halfbeard for the gifs).

There were eight stones in the family plot, arranged like this:

I've put the best photos I currently have of each of the eight original stones side-by-side with the new, 2016
versions in the post on that topic, so there is no longer any need for a miserable montage here. Check 'em out.

Did I hear someone say they wanted "magic eye" 3D's?  We got 'em, in two groovy sizes.  Dude, it's like being there.

As many of you know, the epitaphs were composed by show writer X. Atencio as wry tributes to various Imagineers who worked on the Haunted Mansion.  Here are the original Disneyland eight, left to right in the layout above, with the Imagineer thus honored:

The WDW set was probably created at the same time, but it is not identical to the DL set.  Orlando has only five of the DL eight, leaving out Cousin Victor, Phineas Pock, and Rolo Rumkin.  On the other hand, they have several others that Anaheim did not have originally:

RIP Good friend Gordon
Now you've crossed the river Jordan

Here lies a man named Martin
The lights went out on this old Spartan

Rest in peace, Cousin Huet
We all know you didn't do it

RIP In memorium [sic], Uncle Myall
Here you'll lie for quite a while

Here lies good old Fred
A great big rock fell on his head


RIP Mr. Sewell
The victim of a dirty duel

Peaceful Rest

Dear departed Brother Dave
He chased a bear into a cave

     In 2002 a new animated tombstone was added at WDW:

Dear sweet Leota, beloved by all
In regions beyond now, but having a ball

The Imagineers being honored in these WDW epitaphs are listed here, if you're interested.  I'm too lazy to duplicate all that info now, and we've got other ground to cover. (I do give some special attention to the Martin stone HERE, because it's often misattributed.)

You hear these epitaphs described as "witty" and even "frightfully funny," an example of Boot Hill-type gallows humor ("Here lies Lester Moore.  Four slugs from a .44.  No Les.  No Moore.").  Okay, many of them are, but let's face it:  in others the whimsy is so subtle as to be practically non-existent.  "In memory of our patriarch, dear departed Grandpa Marc." "Master Gracey laid to rest, no mourning please at his request."  I have to stop here as my laughter becomes uncontrollable.  No, really, if there's humor in there, it's so dry that even an Englishman might miss it.  Don't get me wrong; I love it.  It's the comedic equivalent of watching someone trying to see how slowly he can ride a bike without falling over.

The family plot was actually constructed in June of 1969, and so it was there by opening day in August, but the park quickly realized that they needed more room for crowd control, and the graveyard was doomed almost from birth. The current arrangement of back-and-forth queueing was already planned by the beginning of May, 1970, less than nine months after the Mansion opened, if the blueprints are to be believed. Sometimes, however, there is a considerable delay between a blueprint and the actual project. There is good evidence that the queue renovation did not occur until 1972. Best evidence at this point is that the latest possible date for its removal is early in 1973.

X wanted to award the stones to the Imagineers to whom they paid tribute, and so they ordered up a fresh batch of headstones for installation up on the berm.  As it turns out, the only guy who took his tombstone home (as far as we know) was X himself.  It's still sitting in his backyard today.  Marc's sat by his desk for a time, until he finally couldn't stand having his own tombstone staring at him while he was trying to work, and he got rid of it.  Rolly's stone ended up inside the ride, in the graveyard scene, not far from the singing bust that also goes by the name of Rollo Rumkin [sic]. Wathel Rogers' and Vic Greene's stones went onto the berm, along with Phineas Pock, which wasn't a tribute to anyone. The fates of "Master Gracey" and "Brother Claude" are unknown. 

I'll devote a whole post to the berm graveyard one of these days.

(©Disney video)

Pock Marked

"Phineas Pock" may have originally been the name they were going to give to the Ghost Host.  Reportedly, there's a blueprint around of an unused WDW tombstone reading "Phineas Pock, Lord and Master."  Be that as it may, they got a lot of mileage out of the name.  One of the singing busts is "Phineas P. Pock."  It's on the blueprints and on the leaders for the film strips they used to use for the effect, so that one is as official as it can possibly be.

The purported author of the popular old souvenir booklet, Magic from the Haunted Mansion, is a certain "Phineas J. Pock."

And then there's the "Phineas Pock" who died in 1720 and starred in a radio ad when the Mansion first opened in 1969:

Phineas Pock Radio Ad

In the spring of 2011, up popped a Phineas stone in the expanded graveyard at WDW:

For the sake of completeness, I suppose I should mention that one of the new crypts in the WDW queue is for "Prudence Pock."

No doubt some people associate Mr. Pock with the rotund hitchhiker, who is also known as "Phineas," but that name actually originated with a cast member who probably was influenced by the plethora of Pocks already there.  If you want to try to sort out this peck of Pocks, feel free.  It's just a funny name.

UPDATE July 28, 2020. The original Phineas Pock headstone suddenly came to light and went up for sale at a Van Eaton auction August 15-16, 2020:

Plots That Follow The Plots

There is a great deal of logical continuity to the mass of data presented to you with the HM.  It's hard to know how much of it is deliberate, how much is dumb luck, how much is the Imagineering team's artistic instincts firing on all cylinders, and how much is the Haunted Mansion Muse, overseeing the project at all times and eliminating patent absurdities as they arise.  The two human graveyards are a good example (there are two pet cemeteries too).

In your imagination, the queue graveyard—in either its ground level or its original berm incarnations—was not to be confused with the graveyard scene that provides the ride's climax. That graveyard is a very old public cemetery, next to which the Mansion was built sometime during the 19th c. It's "out back" in some vague sense, behind the berm and the trees, not visible from the front. The Caretaker is not connected with the HM but is a public employee, caring for that old municipal cemetery. That's why you go through that big iron gate to get into it, and that's why Collin Campbell put a sign on the gatepost in his painting of it.

It's "something-something Glade Cemetery."  Maybe "Whispering Glade"?

The headstones back there are uniformly in the style of 16th-18th century New England grave markers, and many of them are dated accordingly.  They're much older than the house, in other words.

There are hidden tributes on those, too, but that's yet another blog post.

In contrast, the boneyard out front was, as I've already called it several times, the family plot, the private family burial grounds. That explains the relatively modern (i.e., 19th c.) tombstone designs, and that explains the familial terminology: "Grandpa," "Brother," "Cousin." How carefully all of this was thought out—like I say, I can't tell.  But the coherence in details like this, even when it isn't strictly necessary, is one of the things that embolden me to reach for the word "art" without embarrassment. There is an unexpected imaginative unity in the whole presentation.

Whether or not the new (2016) berm graveyard follows suit is debatable. The stones are, for the first time, made to look old. They're worn and cracked. That, together with the wall-top fencing, might encourage guests to assume that the berm graveyard is simply the "back there" graveyard spilling over the hilltop and down to the wall. Be that as it may, our little tour of the short-lived, original, long-forgotten, front yard cemetery is now completed.


  1. That's odd; I don't remember that shot of the queue from the 1970 Osmonds/Russell film.

  2. It occurs well before the HM sequence that takes up the last part of the show. It's part of the segment in which everyone's looking for the lost Donny.

  3. I wish they could AT LEAST bring back the berm tombstones. Even with the HMH overlay, the headstones would look magnificent mixed in with the jack-o-lanterns methinks!

  4. I can help you out with one of the interior tombstones.
    REST MURDNIW was created in honor of my father. His last name is Windrum (Murdniw backwards). He ran the Show Set Design department at W.E.D. (former name of WDI)--creating working drawings for the interiors of many rides including the H. M.

  5. Thanks, Gayle! There is a whole post devoted to the Windrum stone and the other interior stones here:

    There is also a little speculative discussion about George Windrum in the Comments on that post. It is George, isn't it? The tombstone actually reads MURDNIWG, "G. Windrum." Googling brings up very little info on your father on the internet, so any further info you can share would be appreciated not just by Mansion fans but by Disney fans in general.

  6. ha, I had forgotten Wathel Bender until reading this post. I remember my Dad laughing at that one. I remember it up on the berm, although I do remember the "family plot" from earliest visits.

    Thank you.


  7. About the true nature of the two cemeteries (the old public one and the family one): it seems true to the attraction, but having heard the 1970 children record, I noticed that the scene which is supposed to be the counterpart of the climax cemetery is said to be a "private cemetery" included in the house. It seems that they made a mix of the two for their record cemetery, probably because it was easier than to talk about their characters going successively into two different haunted graveyards…

    1. The only reference to a "private" graveyard on either souvenir record occurs when we are told that broken windows in the Conservatory allowed it to be seen. Nothing in the script indicates that it's the back graveyard. It could just as easily be the front (or side) graveyard.

  8. "Our adventurous pair descended the steps to the ground level and began their walk through the private burial ground, trying to find their way out of this living nightmare. They passed an old caretaker holding a lantern, too frightened to speak. His dog was cowering at his feet, whimpering."

    Sounds like the back graveyard to me...

    1. Oops, missed that one! If I wanted to use wire-drawn arguments, I suppose I could argue that they "begin their walk" through the private plot at the side of the house, "trying to find their way out," and eventually pass the caretaker en route to the public cemetery. In the ride we pass him before entering any graveyard, so the sequence of events in the S&S script is awkward, to say the least. The passing of the old caretaker at the beginning of the second sentence actually precedes the "beginning" of their walk through the burial grounds in the first sentence. But forget all that. I'd call it a blunder in the script.

  9. I JUST HAD TO POST THIS - I had no idea there was such interest in those tombstones until I happened upon this website - Since you've put so much time and effort into this project I just had to let you know some facts. The Phineas Pock tombstone has not been seen in public since 1978 - there's quite a mystery about it's disappearance w/ a few blogs and articles being written about it (this being one of them) - But here's what all those others didn't seem to notice; along with Phineas' tombstone, there are actually "three total" tombstones missing from the hillside berm - all 3 missing since 1978 (check any dated photos you come across). Put your detective caps on and see if you can figure out the other 2 - here's a hint - one does not have the top cap that Phineas' does and the other is 1/2 the size of the other 2. Yes, they are fiberglass and foam filled but still very heavy (by a teenage boy's standards). The 2 larger tombstones were held in place by 2 steel poles that went into the ground and into the bottoms of the tombstones - the smaller tombstone only had 1 pole. All 3 tombstones still exist and are in good shape - I saw a pic on this blog of one of the original 8 tombstones that has decayed (sad) I'm not sure where the other 5 original tombstones are or what shape they're in if they're even still around - but for all you fellow Haunted Mansion fanatics I had just had to post this and let you know that Phineas and his two companions tombstones are alive and well (unlike their namesakes) - too bad you can't post pics on this blog - I'd blow your minds! Seriously. I've read some theories re; what happened to those tombstones = ALL of them wrong. I will tell you this - the true story is the greatest true life Disney tale of adventure a teenage boy and his two best buddies ever had! (another hint = "three" buddies total). Anyway, after I saw this blog I figured I owed you some facts since you're a fanatic like me.

    1. I appreciate it very much. From the sound of it, you haven't yet read this post. You'll probably have a lot to say about it: