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.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Famous Ghosts, and Ghosts Trying to Make a Name for Themselves



That word covers a lot of territory, from Casper the Friendly to Hamlet's father, from trick-or-treat bag white-sheeters to the really scary ones in literature, cinema, and legend, to say nothing of reports of reputedly real hauntings.  One of the fundamental decisions that confronted the Imagineers who put together the Haunted Mansion was choosing which ghosts and ghoulies to put before the public.  It was like writing a recipe.  How much should the Mansion rely—if at all—on cinematic ghosts?  or Halloween decoration ghosts?  or established dark ride traditions?  The long gestation period of the Haunted Mansion and the conflicting concepts proposed by the many Imagineers who worked on it ensured that the recipe for the attraction would go through many permutations before it was finalized.  But Marc Davis's famous verdict to the effect that this particular broth was spoiled by too many cooks is refuted by the ride's growing and often passionate fan base.  Mmm-mmm good.  Mighty tasty, that recipe.

This post takes a look at some of the approaches they seriously considered but eventually rejected, and why.  Curiously enough, for anyone who is interested in this topic, there is a set of paintings that serves almost as an index of the Mansion's disused and discarded concepts:  The "Sinister 11" portraits.  These are found at WDW and Tokyo, but they were never used at Disneyland.

I'm sure that many of you are already aware that most of the Sinister 11 represent unused ideas for changing portraits.  Two of them did indeed become changing portraits at DL (Medusa and "December" from the April-December set); the rest became static paintings with "follow-you" eyes.  Until 2007 at WDW they were all in a nice neat corridor.  At Tokyo, that's still so.  Since 2007, most of the Orlando set can be seen in the load area, with a few placed elsewhere in the ride.  However, they no longer stare at you as you go by.  It's interesting enough to discover that many of these are really truncated changing portraits; it's even more interesting (to me, anyway) when you realize that they are, in several cases, signposts pointing to paths not taken.

Take Jack the Ripper.  He has the distinction of being—possibly—the ONLY fully historical figure in any of the Mansions.

 Good old Jack, always prepared to put his best foot forward.  He was a little more grisly in Marc
Davis's concept sketch (upper left).  In the upper right is Jack as he's seen today.   The bottom two
are from the eyes-follow-you days, an effect made possible through the magic of half a ping pong ball.

In 2019 a much better copy of the original Jack sketch was published:


I say "possibly" because it has been pointed out to me by one of our readers that the Knight changing portrait was labeled "the Black Prince" on Marc Davis's original sketch, as GRD noted years ago.  If that refers to Edward, the Black Prince, then we have one other historical character.  What about "Great Caesar's Ghost"?  Sorry, he doesn't count, because it's uncertain which Caesar he is.  No doubt he's either Julius or Augustus, but since it isn't specified, he's technically a generic figure rather than a historical figure.  Same with the Mummy.  He's frequently referred to as King Tut, but without a scrap of evidence.

Jack is all that remains of Ken Anderson's and then Marc Davis's ambitious plans to use a variety of colorful historical villains in the Mansion.  Ken's 1957 show scripts included Anne Boleyn, Lucrezia Borgia, Anne Bonny, Jack the Ripper, and King Tut (not really a villain, of course, but fully historical and . . . sorta creepy).  From that list, Marc kept Anne Boleyn . . .

. . . and Mr. Ripper.  He also added a number of historical villains of his own, including Guy Fawkes and Ivan the Terrible.  (By the way, these were not going to be changing portraits but talking portraits, I am told.)  As an aside, it's always fun to speculate about the models Marc may have used in drawing his sketches—in these cases caricatures of historical figures.

Davis's rendering of Guy Fawkes (upper left) seems to owe something to more than one historical
portrait of the famous Gunpowder Plot conspirator.  The lower left sketch is by George Cruikshank,
a famous caricaturist previously mentioned in our discussion of the Phantom Drummer of Tedworth. 
It's very likely that Davis knew his work.  In the present case, note the feather in the hat.

Renderings of Ivan are so few that this 19th c. painting (above) can probably be identified as
a model, almost by default.  It's harder to say whether this other thing (below) was laid under
contribution.  I kinda doubt it, but then again, there's that helmet-like crown, so maybe . . . .
Well, it's pretty enough to justify putting it up on the board in any event:

Marc also planned to use Rasputin.  Believe it or not, Walt nixed this one himself, not because it was so weird but because he feared that relatives of Rasputin might still be alive (which was true) and might want to sue them!  Marc recycled some of his unused Rasputin portrait into one of the Sinister 11, the one sometimes referred to as "the ogre."

As for Marc's inspiration, who knows?  I mean, when doesn't Rasputin look like that?

Marc was still open to this approach at the time they were planning Tokyo Disneyland, and he did a concept sketch showing an animated crypt full of "famous villians" [sic], including Nero, the subject of a Davis sketch GRD got hold of.  Maybe the concept was for him to be a talking, moving statue.  Nero, that is, not GRD.  Whatever it was, this too came to nothing.

In the end, only one or two historical characters survived the sifting process.  And at Disneyland, there is no Jack the Ripper portrait, so Edward, the Black Prince is all you get in the Anaheim original.

When we turn to ghosts and creeps from literature and cinema, the story is much the same:  This was going to be a major source, but there is little evidence of it in the actual attraction.  Anderson scripted in cameos by Marley and Scrooge, Little Eva and Simon Legree (from Uncle Tom's Cabin), the Canterville Ghost (from an Oscar Wilde play by that name), Captain Hook (at that time, probably inspired more directly by the Barrie play than by the relatively recent Disney treatment of the character), Dracula, the Frankenstein monster, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, and the Phantom of the Opera.  Of these, Davis kept only Dracula, an obvious and easy choice for a changing portrait:

He survived as one of the Sinister 11, of course:

Upper left is the ride version, complete with ping pong balls.
Upper right is some impressive concept artwork.
Lower left, another example from the Sinister 11.
Lower right is a painter prepared Drac for Tokyo
Disneyland, from Eyes and Ears magazine (Mar
27, 1981), a very nice find by Master Gracey

But as usual, Davis proposed a few such characters of his own.  A couple were from classical mythology.  There's Medusa, an original changing portrait at DL (as she is also now at WDW) and an original Sinister 11 member at Tokyo and WDW.

 Marc also did work on a portrait based on the Apollo and Daphne myth;
unfortunately, the artwork has never been published — until this moment:


(As of November 2015, we know that Daphne was expanded to six images at
one point and may have been a serious contender for inclusion in the Mansion.)

Just as the Sinister 11 "ogre" is actually a recycled design based on an unused Rasputin changing portrait, so also the S 11 "arsonist" is based on an unused changing portrait, this one depicting a wolfman.  It's not clear whether Marc's wolfman owes anything to cinematic or literary archetypes.  The same is true of Dracula, actually.  In fact, you cannot find any indisputable case of borrowing directly from the movies to provide a specific character for the Mansion.  The only example of this I can find anywhere in Mansion concept art is Ken Anderson's Frankenstein, which is obviously molded in the moldy mold of Boris Karloff.

We need to mention again the following, even though it's a Poe example of the phenomenon.  Once upon a midnight dreary, characters and images from Edgar Allan Poe were going to enjoy a conspicuous presence in the HM, as we've seen in a previous post.  The Raven's dialogue was replete with "nevermore's," and a demonic, one-eyed black cat was going to pester you all through the ride.  But the Poe allusions were eventually taken out of the mix.

So are Dracula and Medusa really the only direct borrowings from literature and/or cinema that made it into the Mansion?  Almost.  You've also got the Bluebeard crypt.  But yeah, that's about it.

We find the same story yet again when we turn to the campy, hokey, orange-and-black world of Halloween iconography, another obvious source of ghost and haunted house lore.

Sheet ghosts, witches, skeletons, black cats, bats, spiders, jack-o-lanterns—all that stuff.  So little of this approach is in evidence at the Mansion that you may be surprised to learn how seriously some of the Imagineers contemplated using it.  You must admit that Herb Ryman's 1951 rendering of a haunted house, the sketch that started it all, really does look like something you'd see on a Halloween poster...

Ken Anderson also dipped his pen into this inkwell a few times.  One of his scripts called for a marriage between "Monsieur Bogeyman" and "Mlle. Vampire," and his sketch of the mansion exterior had an unmistakably Halloweenish black cat weather vane on it, faithfully preserved by Sam McKim and Marvin Davis in subsequent artwork and only traded in for the familiar schooner shortly before the final blueprints were drawn up.  

But it was Marc Davis who showed the most inclination to exploit Halloween iconography.  It's not known whether he just changed his mind about this approach, or if other Imagineers helped him see the error of his ways.  In a previous post, we saw that Davis apparently had a difficult time with the seemingly simple notion of putting a witch into the Haunted Mansion.  He veered back and forth between a "real" Black Sabbat type of witch and a Halloween decoration witch.  The "Witch of Walpurgis" (among the Sinister 11) remains the only witch in the HM, a compromise between the two approaches.  Marc also persisted for a long time with the idea of using stereotypical white sheet ghosts.  Like the witches, they're something right off of a trick-or-treat bag.

Marc carried this approach toward realization surprisingly far.  One of his hitchhikers ("Ezra") still had that icky "Casper the Friendly Ghost" look when he was done up as a maquette.  Of course, it's easy to dump on it because we all know that what took its place is so amazingly good.

Marc was big on the black cat thing, too.  (Lower right: dude, Ken's weather vane lives!)  But the only Davis black
cats that survived into the finished Mansion are to be found—surprise!—in a couple of the Sinister 11 portraits.

Is anything left of this?  Not much.  The fact that the seasonal Haunted Mansion Holiday feels like a complete transformation shows how little iconography from Halloween is in the original.  The only things in the finished Mansion that ever struck me as stemming from a campy Halloween milieu were those cheesy, orange, giant spiders.  [Edit: in the Comments, the Bat weather vane at WDW was mentioned, and I agree that it probably qualifies as another example of Halloween decor at the HM]

A few notes on the spiders:  They originally had one of these orange guys in the big web of the DL "Limbo" load area through which the doombuggies descended (which web has been gone since about 2001) . . .

.                                                                                         . . . but they eventually changed it to a more realistic color scheme.  I think it's a natural law:  all giant spiders gravitate toward the Mexican Orange-Kneed Tarantula look (you know, the one you always see in the movies).

The original orange giants persisted at WDW until 2007 in the area now occupied by the "Escher" staircases.
Tokyo still has spiders in that location, but they feature the more realistic, DL coloration.  They also move
their legs, which is cool.  If you really must do the giant spider thing, that's the way to do it.

  Though the Disneyland spider has been gone for many years, he lives again here at Long-Forgotten, in glorious 3D:

After this post was already written and in the can, lo and behold FoxxFur decided to take up the topic of Disney's giant spiders. How strange the workings of destiny. Anyway, if you want to explore Disney's arachnophilia further, check it out.

To sum up our study so far:  All that is left of specific historical characters in the HM are the Jack the Ripper and (probably) Edward, the Black Prince portraits.  All that is left of specific literary, mythological, and cinematic characters are the Dracula and Medusa portraits and Bluebeard's crypt.  In the style and manner of Halloween decor, all that is left are some giant spiders at Tokyo—assuming that is a valid categorization for them in the first place—and probably the bat weather vane at WDW.

Hey, how about traditional dark ride phantasmagoria?  Didn't they consider that approach?  Well, there are the popup ghosts, of course, widely understood as a hat tip to the HM's dark ride roots.

(left image from Laff in the Dark)

Addendum: August 7, 2015
You know, it may be possible to tip our hat to something more specific than "dark ride roots." Most of the HM graveyard popups pop up from behind tombstones (as above, right). As it happens, exactly this stunt can be found in The Haunted House, a dark ride at the Boardwalk in Ocean City, Maryland, run by Trimper's Amusements. It dates to 1964.

You can compare that with the Mansion versions:

. . . and again . . . 

The resemblance could be coincidental, of course, but it's worth noting that The Haunted House is a Bill Tracy spookhouse (one of only a handful still operating). We discuss Mr. Tracy's dark ride contributions elsewhere, so suffice it to say here that he was an acknowledged master of the genre, and it's likely that his rides were researched by the HM team. It's also quite possible that the popup-spook-behind-the-tombstone stunt was used in other Tracy dark rides as well. Once he got into his groove, he tended to stick to a tried-and-true menu of tacky tableaux.

Some would argue that the coffin guy is an adaptation of the coffin popper, or "Dead Dan" gag, a spookhouse perennial.  That's probably valid.  Maybe the hanging corpse.  Beyond that, I don't see much reliance on the haunted house dark ride tradition.

(Images from Laff in the Dark)

However, in contrast to the approaches discussed above, I don't know that the Imagineers ever planned to use the spookhouse template further than they did, so it probably doesn't belong in a discussion of approaches that have left a smaller footprint than originally contemplated.

Time for the big "so what?" moment.  Goodness knows, you've been patient long enough.

What is the common thread running through all of these ultimately rejected approaches?

All of them betray a basic insecurity, an attempt to borrow scare credentials from pre-existing, pre-packaged sources.  In rejecting these approaches, the Imagineers voted for originality.  The Haunted Mansion would stand on its own two feet, or it wouldn't stand at all.  No shortcuts, no quick and easy goosebumps by putting a Frankenstein monster in there or having a Pit and the Pendulum scene.  We have done a lot of posts ferreting out ghostly inspirations in myth, literature, and history for such things as the attic bride, the graveyard band, the hearse and coachman, the decapitated knight, and the mummy scene, just to name some of the more interesting ones.  In every case the inspirations are inspirations only.  The Mansion characters themselves are originals.  After half a century, they've made their way into the popular cultural consciousness, and you can speak of Madame Leota or the Hitchhiking Ghosts in the same breath as Frankenstein or Dracula, so familiar are they.  But at one time, they represented a creative risk. In other words . . .

In spite of Marty Sklar's famous placard, the Imagineers ultimately excluded
"famous ghosts" in favor of "ghosts trying to make a name for themselves."


  1. The graveyard witches concept actually made it as far as the maquette stage before being scrapped. They look just like the first picture with three witches, however I believe there were only two maquettes: the one stirring the cauldron and the one fanning the flame. I've not seen one for the tasting witch.

    Naturally, I have no clue where I saw them now... They're now in some sort of museum, I believe.

  2. Walt was right as it happens. Although the surviving relatives of Rasputin were not known for being litigious, the surviving family of one of his killers did sue a film company for mentioning their name in a film back in the 20's or possibly the 30's. The case is little known now but it was a landmark case in it's day and is the reason movies now state that they "bear no relation to persons living or dead"

  3. Interesting! But I could have done without the picture of the real spider. UGH!

  4. It may be just the spiky bangs, but Marc Davis's original Dracula sketch looks a lot like Barnabas Collins.

  5. "the ONLY fully historical figure in any of the Mansions."

    What about the Black Prince?

  6. I don't know of any good evidence that the knight really is supposed to be Edward, the Black Prince. The painting is also called the "Horseman," "the Black Knight," the "fierce knight," depending on your source. "Black Prince" may be a fan-generated name.

  7. Since the Rasputin portrait is the point of interest that has generated a lot of traffic, I thought it would be appropriate to document my claim. Here's Marc Davis in The "E" Ticket 16 (Summer 1993) 17: "In this series of drawings, Rasputin's eyes get more and more eerie and hypnotic ... and when Walt saw these he said: 'Marc, you don't know if there might be relatives of Rasputin who would sue us.' Walt was right about this drawing, because a few years ago some woman died who turned out to be Rasputin's niece or something.

  8. I only know from experience the WDW Haunted Mansion, but it seems to me the deep appeal of the attraction has much to do with the fact that it doesn't deal in trick-or-treat tropes or dark-ride rogues-gallery cliche's, as you deftly point out in your fine article. Its appeal for me has always been that it is, in fact, a haunted mansion, not a haunted house. The idea of decay, death, and darkness overcoming what was once a grand and powerful structure makes the atmosphere all the more impressive. A haunted library or conservatory is more compelling than a haunted living room or breakfast nook. A chandelier cloaked in dust has gravitas in a way that inspires an almost eerie reverence. Whereas a haunted castle or a haunted house can easily lend themselves to cliche', the mansion occupies a somewhat more unique position. This leads us to the other great thing the mansion does, which is to deal not in tropes or cliche's but deeper archetypal elements: darkness, creaks and groans, the occult, a feeling that there is more to the mansion than what we see, a sense of the hidden, a fear of the unseen, our uneasy relationship with death and what lies beyond it. I understand, of course, that this feeling breaks apart somewhat in the latter parts of the ride (though I enjoy those parts also), which have a lighter touch and leave behind some of the more unsettling early stuff. The point, which I seem to be slow to arrive at, is that dealing in archetypal elements leads to timelessness because they eternally reflect the human condition, whereas cliche's become quickly dated and outmoded, something the mansion has never become in more than forty years.

  9. Re: Black Prince

  10. Ah, good call. I had forgotten about that one. Very well, I've edited the post accordingly. Thanks for the input!

  11. As for literary characters, there's also Pickwick of course.

  12. I believe "PIckwick" (the official name of the chandelier guy with the cane) was given because of his general Dickensian look rather than as a positive identification. If you look at contemporary book illustrations for "The Pickwick Papers," he is something like our ghost, but he's more of a little-old-man type, balding, with wire-rimmed glasses, and with a much shallower hat. But you're right, he should probably be noted at least in passing in a revue of the "literary ghosts" in the HM.

  13. Kudos!

    Another amazing entry for Haunted Mansioneers and historians, alike.

  14. I believe the PICKWICK GHOST in the ball room is called that, not in reference to the Charles Dickinson story, but because of the ghost's hat. It's called a "Pickwick" hat by the British, and a "John Bull" hat by Americans. The hat was very popular in the 1830's into the 1850's.

  15. Wow, I never knew there was a style of hat called "Pickwick", but a quick Google search does show that style of hat being called a "Pickwick" hat. Could the hat have been named after the Dickens character perchance?

  16. Great post per usual!

    Another left over from the Halloween imagery is the Bat weather vane at WDW.

  17. Off topic (for this post, anyway) but I'm wondering what your take is on the new "interactive" queue at WDW mansion? I notice they added a grave for a pair of twin children... violating a taboo (that I never really was aware of until reading it in your pages) of keeping the Mansion denizens an adults-only affair. (In fact, prior to this new grave, the only instance I can think of in which its implied children lived at the mansion is a "nursery" room that appears in the Haunted Mansion video game).

  18. I'll be talking about the new WDW queue in an upcoming post.

  19. I agree that the Bat weather vane at WDW probably qualifies as a Halloween decor item. I'll put a note in the post.

  20. Another fascinating read....thank you Dan! And I am probably in the minority that misses the Mansion having just a tiny bit of the Halloween attraction/spookhouse stuff like the rubber bats in the attic, and the shrieking pop up heads. Not enough to overwhelm or make it look cheap, but just enough to add another texture/dimension to the overall Mansion experience since it is full of 'conflicting' stylistic elements anyway in terms of inspiration. Likely just me, but wish a few rubber bats and spiders were returned, just in the background....alas.

  21. Thanks, and I'll add one more reason for having at least a few rubber bats and spiders in there: the youngest fans can put some things in their garage spookhouse "just like the Haunted Mansion," using stuff right out of the beat-up cardboard box full of Halloween stuff that gets pulled out each October. That's how it begins.

  22. Always enjoy your blog HBG2.
    Well recall the Halloween tips on the back of the Haunted Mansion record sleeve, certainly tying the Mansion itself the the Holiday. I too actually miss the pop up ghost. Tied together with the loud beating heart bride it really caused a feeling of unease going into that attic.

  23. Philiphoggs: I believe you're referring to the inner liner of the "Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House" album, Disneyland Records DQ-1257, released 1964, yellow label (issued in both a white cover and the familiar orange cover). Later editions contained the Halloween party tips.

    "The Story and Song from The Haunted Mansion" album didn't have those Halloween party tips. Disneyland Records STER-3947, released 1969, purple label.

  24. Ah yes thats the one. Took me nearly 30 odd years later and my own kids to actually use the tips at a party though!

  25. I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your blog about the Haunted Mansion. I've gone back and read every one. No pressure, but when are you planning on posting the next one? It's been over a month and I'm going through withdrawals.


  26. I'll be doing a post soon, or possible several, dealing with the ambitious set of additions to the WDW HM. I've been waiting for this wave of alterations and additions to run its course to completion and for reports to start piling up.

  27. Dan,

    Anticipating your next post, as always.

    I've been working on the "List of Haunted Mansion characters" entry on wikipedia, in an attempt to keep people informed on what is and isn't "canon" in the HM. I'm hoping to kill some of the pesky fan fiction memes that tend to be spread by the less hardcore fans of the attraction.

    A lot of it is unfinished (tributes to Imagineers, some of the new WDW stuff, etc.) Thought you might want to take a look.

  28. Sorry to be late to the party. Some of the concept/early drawings remind me of the style of Charles Addams. The Jack the Ripper character looks like he stepped out of the New Yorker.

    Thank you for the delightful blog.

  29. that was really interesting thanks for posting it

  30. I really liked Herb Ryman's 1951 Haunted House sketch. I know Walt wanted a very upkept Manor but glad this concept made it to Paris Disneyland's Thunder Mesa. There the Phantom Manor too is located at the end of the town's Mainstreet and up on a bluff at the roads end as Herb intended. Herb also influenced the entrance Fort to Thunder Mesa. PD

  31. Are there any copies of the first few scripts on the web?

    1. There are no complete early scripts out there.

  32. Hey, I don't know if this has been discussed yet, but doesn't the concept art for the Dracula portrait look an awful lot like Barnabas Collins, the hero vampire of TV's Dark Shadows? I'm not sure when Davis sketched that portrait, but the show had been on the air since 1966, with the Barnabas character appearing a year after that, so... maybe?

    1. There is some resemblance, so it's possible.

  33. Hi came across you post looking for some info on the long lost "talking portraits" concept, I see you eluded to it here, but before they were "changing portraits" they were going to talk. Apparently the reason they went from "talking" to "changing" and finally to "lighting flash" seems mainly to be related to the switch from the "walk-through" to "ride"

    I know the "talking portrait" idea originated with Ken Anderson, but when Rolly Crump and Yale Gracey took over on the mansion they came up with a way to make it a reality, and Rolly describes it briefly on the Extinct Attractions Club DVD. In the Yale/Rolly version of the walk-through, after you left the stretching room, their first scene was a 3 minute version of the "portrait gallery". It would have included these "talking portraits" along with "talking busts" and "Madame Leota", and they would have told some type of story or preformed some kind of scene for the audience.

    From what I understand it was going to be some combination of the technique for the singing busts, Madame Leota, and Dorian Gray/Master Gracey portrait at WDW, a rear projected image onto a screen with a picture frame around it. The part I don't know is what the end result would have looked like, whether it would have been live actors filmed like Leota Toombs and Thurl Ravenscroft, or done by Walt Disney Animation along the lines of the look of the final Marc Davis portraits.

    But when the Mansion went from walk-through to ride, the 3 minute "talking portraits" were deemed "to long" for the ride, so the 4 to 6, multi-image "changing portraits" were developed... but they were also deemed to take too long in the DL portrait gallery, so the multi-image effect was simplified to the 2 image "lighting flash" effect.

    As far as I know the closest thing that remains of the original Anderson/Crump/Gracey "talking portrait" concept is the Dorian Gray/Master Gracey portrait at WDW. If you know anything else about this long lost effect I'd certainly appreciate it -thanks

    1. You might take a look at "A Weirder Haunted Mansion" (July 2011) and the series on Ken Anderson's plans for the HM (Oct 2010). Imagine the Tiki Room with ghosts instead of tiki god magic and you've got a clue as to what the Crump/Gracey HM would probably have been like.

    2. Thanks I spotted your "weirder mansion" post, and the Crump/Gracey concept of the 2 identical walk-through attractions, side by side, with magical secret passageways, just recently got recycled in WDW into the "Enchanted tales with Belle" Meet & Greet. That attraction is like a mini "haunted mansion" walk-though... and that's what got me digging into the Crump/Gracey stuff

      I'm still looking for some leads on that "talking portrait effect" though, whether it would have been animated or an actor, I'm guessing actor

  34. RE: Historical figures not in the Mansion... There is the "Caesar's Ghost" figure in the Ballroom scene.

    While the HM figure can't be assigned to any particular Caesar on attributes, I think the exclamation was probably referring to Julius, since his ghost would have reason enough to be spiteful and Julius was noted for being bald... just like the ballroom figure.


    1. Actually, Julius was never completely bald; he just had a receding hairline. The ballroom figure is utterly bald. However, it would make sense that the minced oath "Great Caesar's ghost!" originally referred to Julius, since he was brutally murdered and his ghost appears in a Shakespeare play. But the figure in the ballroom looks nothing like Julius, and so I see him as a visual pun referring to the expression itself and nothing more, rather than an intentional reference passing through the expression and going back to the most probable historical figure to which the expression originally referred.

    2. OK, actually Julius Caesar wasn't completely bald, but that is merely unknown. What people know (if their memory hasn't been poisoned by "Asterix" in which he is mistakenly depicted with his full hair) is that he was "Caesar the Bald", that was even his nickname at the time. I think the imagineers did use Julius when they wanted to do this Caesar, but did not make serious researches, and then they made this mistake about HOW bald he was. I can say that because why on earth would they make their Roman emperor bald for ANOTHER reason ? Do you know any popular depiction of completely bald Roman emperor ?

  35. Was the Disneyland spider always orange? Was there only one spider?

  36. Was the spider always orange? Was there more than one spider at Disneyland?

    1. Never more than one spider at DL, and if memory serves, it started out orange and quickly went to the orange-kneed tarantula look.

    2. There was a big spider in the load area of the Disneyland Haunted Mansion, but it's no longer there.i think it might have been inspired by the giant spider that used to be on the Jungle Cruise.

  37. The "Tomb Sweet Tomb" needlepoint is also rather Halloween-y.

  38. What if these characters were part of the Sinister 11? Kali, ( if she were a changing portrait like Medusa was) an Aztec sacrificial priest, and a voodoo witch doctor.

  39. I like how Dracula resembles Barnabas Collins from Dark Shadows,while his bat headed form reminds me of the vampire from Stephen King's The Night Flier

  40. Yeah, the arsonist was originally supposed to be a werewolf. Would be cool if they used him as a changing portrait, but they already have a werecat.

  41. wouldn't the painting from this video make a good one for the Haunted Mansion?

  42. About the Dracula portrait, I found a lenticular of a Marc Davis concept changing portrait depicting him turning into a wolf.

    So I guess it was turned into Dracula later on? Seems weird to have two portraits transforming into wolfs anyway, unless the Arsonist’s concept art isn’t necessarily a wolf man, but a werewolf because it’s nighttime in the art?

    1. Only six of Davis's "changing portrait" concepts were used. But another nine were partially used; that is, the first stage only was used in a hallway at WDW, with eyes that followed you. Dracula was one, and the "Arsonist" is a reworking of what was originally the first stage of the Wolfmen changing portrait, which stage simply depicted the villager who would turn into the Wolfman in the second stage.

  43. Yeah, Jack the Ripper. Would another infamous dou from Victorian times, Burke and Hare be good portaits for the Sinister 11?

  44. What about the bat stanchions? Any history on their origins?

    1. There's not much to say. There's a little discussion of their history here:

    2. Do you think the choice to use bats is connected to Halloween iconography?

    3. Not necessarily. They don't look like stylized, "Halloween decoration" bats to me. I think they're meant to complement the somewhat battish-looking gargoyles, since both the stantions and the gargoyles were griffin-like originally.

  45. Pretty sure there are some bats and spiders interred in the various pet cemeteries but that’s the closest we get. Not counting HMH, which is based around a movie that loves its Halloween imagery.

  46. The pet cemeteries tell us nothing about the intentions of the original Imagineers, or course.