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.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

You Just Gotta See This. Oh, and This.

7-11 is indeed a lucky combination.

July 9 saw the appearance of some home movie footage from August of 1969, probably taken during the opening week of the Haunted Mansion, or not long after.  There is a murky but important shot of the original attic bride, lasting about three seconds, and some much better film of the Hat Box Ghost, which is the real prize, of course.

This historic footage was discovered by Todd J. Pierce and posted at the Disney History Institute blogsite.  Being the anal old cuss that I am, I have a few quibbles with the narrative that accompanies the edited film.  The photograph Todd mentions as appearing "40 years" after the Mansion first opened has actually been up at the site since October of 2001. To get really picky, the sign hanging at the entrance went up in January of 1965 and not 1963. But forget about those nit-picks.  This is about as close to a Holy Grail for Mansionites as you're ever likely to see.

While we're on the subject of film, another video you just GOTTA see if you haven't already is the Martin/Warren ride-thru video of the WDW Mansion, filmed in 2009.  It sets a new standard for this sort of thing, miles above anything else out there, including official Disney product.  It's about an hour long, intending to give you every tasty detail of the ride.  The sound quality is also excellent, so be sure to listen with headphones sometime.

The Haunted Mansion WDW 2009 HD from Martins Videos on Vimeo.

For many Orlando fans, the three-and-a-half year interval between the major refurb of September 2007 and the disastrous new additions in April 2011 represents the gold standard, the best any Mansion has been since 1969 (notwithstanding the addition of Constance).  It is our good fortune that the Martin/Warren video was made during this period.

Getting back to 7-11, as luck would have it, July 14 saw the publication of an October 1975 photo of the Disneyland attic bride, proving that the "Corpse Bride" variety was indeed used at Anaheim.  That, plus the newly discovered HBG footage, led to the revamping of our early history of the attic bride.  We can thank the Major at Gorillas Don't Blog for that one.


  1. WOW!!! That first video was great!!

  2. Martin's videos are always a joy to watch. His "Ultimate Tribute" series are simply chock full of trivia, history, and love for the parks and attractions.

    As for the topic at hand, my favorite LP as a child was the Haunted Mansion one with the wonderful book. I listened to it on an almost daily basis for many years. (That is, until my older brother scratched it beyond repair. I'll never forgive him for that!) The Hatbox Ghost was my favorite drawing. Creepy stuff. I remember being confused and disappointed when I finally got to go to the Mansion in WDW and the ghost wasn't there. So nice to finally see even a blurry glimpse of him. Now THAT would be a worthwhile project for WDI to undertake! Get the gag working and put him back in the attic! No CGI, of course. ;)

    1. " favorite LP as a child was the Haunted Mansion one with the wonderful book. I listened to it on an almost daily basis for many years. (That is, until my older brother scratched it beyond repair. I'll never forgive him for that!)"

      I have this as an MP3, along with the actual full audio used in the Disneyland HM...if you would like a copy of either (or both) I would be more than happy to email them to a fellow fan...;)

  3. Both those videos are great. Thank you so much for posting them, as well as your blog in general, I highly enjoy it!

  4. You're welcome. Sometimes you figure, "Aw, everybody knows about this video by now," but it's never true. Both of these are must-sees, so it can't hurt to highlight them.

  5. Wow, I guess I was right about that mock-up bride after all...

    Disneyland using the skull face bride seems obvious in retrospect. Obviously her empty eye sockets tie nicely into the Brown Lady, connections you've obviously already noted, but most importantly, if both she and the Hatbox Ghost have skull faces, then their connection is even more explicit. It's possible she was changed at WDW and DL as part of the efforts that also silenced the graveyard popups, which as far as I know was early to mid 80s.

  6. That's right, rub it in.

    Actually, I think the CB face may have looked more like the dark-faced varieties than we might think. Artwork from the Lakeside HM game (1972) and the children's souvenir record (1970) emphasizes the darkness of her face:

    Admittedly, these were targeted at kids and wouldn't be too gruesome. It's funny, but in retrospect, the illustration for the record does look like a toned-down CB (circled eyes, visible mouth and jaw).

    I wish I had a better resolution copy of Davis's corpse bride changing portrait:

  7. That had to have been a fulfilling moment for you, HBG2 - seeing actual film of the Hatbox Ghost after all that time you remembered it and people tried to tell you it was never there!

  8. Yes, although the Paul Clemens photo (HBG in situ) already settled the issue for anyone who knew of it or bothered to look at it. I suppose there were some who dismissed it as a pre-opening photo or something, but if so I never encountered any of them.

    It's eerie watching the film clip. I was lucky in that when I saw him his face was visible. My recollection is that the hatbox head was fading and appearing slowly, but I'm not 100% sure about that.

  9. Hey, HBG2! Long-time reader here. I noticed in a past post you mentioned that future WDI employees should not state their opinion of Pepe online for fear of getting lower wage jobs. This time next year I'll be a CM, and in the season that follows, I'll be taking WDW management courses. I'm a Disney fan first and foremost. I read a good number of sites every day (and have been since the net first started). My question being, is there a possibility I'll be hurting my chances if I state my opinion even if on a Facebook fansite? I'm sorry this post has nothing to do with Hatty, but I just assumed you might have the answer.

  10. This is just stuff I've been told, both by Imagineers and by people just starting out in Disney. It's only common sense. If you voice agreement with harsh criticism of something WDI did, or (even worse) you level the criticism yourself, then WDI is less likely to hire you, it's as simple as that. They want people who like what they're doing, or keep their mouths shut if they don't. They do read the sites and the posted comments. I don't know if they comb Facebook. I wouldn't be surprised if they checked to see if a job applicant has a Facebook page, and if so, whether they've said nasty things about WDI there. Obviously, if your name or picture aren't used in connection with a comment, then they don't know it's you.

  11. Well, that's what I was lead to believe. Only questioning it now b/c I know CMs who have fan sites that seem to get away with a lot. Haven't used a photo yet though. Thanks for the info.

  12. It's entirely possible that the skull-face bride's face was never fully visible... given that her model and what may or may not be the mock-up version had darkened faces, it'd be a sudden and quite radical decision to suddenly give her a glowing skull face. If it were a fully sculpted face that a mold was taken from you think it'd look better defined; I've always sort of felt that maybe the skull-like features were slightly improvised in the shop. After all, there's not yet a blueprint that's shown up for the Beating Heart figure that shows a skull headed face. In that way the "classic" brides installed in the late 70s may have been an effort to return the effect to what is described on the blueprint.

    By the way, I'm not suggesting using this as a scholary text or anything, but in the Haunted Mansion pop-up book of the mid 90s, the bride in there has a skeletal face. Not only that, but she's shown raising and lowering a candle and has hair and a bouquet that matches the "skull face bride" pictures. In a book that is otherwise quite faithful to either the mansion or the Campbell illustrations, this is quite a big deal. Were the illustrators accidentally passed along WDI reference photos of the first brides? Or were they drawing on memory?

    And, my goodness, having typed that up I was forced to dig out my old copy of "Enter If You Dare!", which was this odd little thing from 1995 (a year after the pop up book) that was an effort to launch a Goosebumps-style "young adult" horror-lite series. In THAT book, too, the chapter on the bride has her be a skeleton. There was some weird stuff floating around that the bride in the Mansion was/should be a skeleton (Phantom Manor got in on the act as well), and then immediately afterwards WDI starts giving her a face.

    It may be all coincidence, but if it is, it's coincidental... and extensive. Really weird.

  13. The pop-up book artwork is a good catch. The artists are basing their renderings on something, after all. As for the CB, I can tell you for a fact that the skullish, streaky characteristics were paint and nothing more than paint on the same normal face you see in the blueprint schematic. I don't think they've ever had more than one kind of face mold. You see this same face in photos of the blackened versions whenever the lighting is bright enough to see the texture of the face.

  14. Thanks. I was pretty sure it wasn't It's a Small World.

  15. Love your blog, love Disneyland, love Walt Disney and reading everything about him. Honestly, he was one of the most artistically brilliantly people that ever lived, and a story teller, as Roy E. suggests. It seems like Walt really had the ability to create the "magic" through the story and the art and inspire others to do the same, yet once he was gone everyone was floundering and arguing. He also has the ability to go right up to the line of weird, odd and scary in order to attract attention and make a good story line without crossing over into the unusual, as in too weird for parents to bring their kids. How did he do it. Walt is almost like Jesus or a religious figure in that he loves children, loves the good in people, wants the world to be a good place and wants good for children.

    I thought Walt knew me. I saw him standing there where the statue is one day when I finally got to go to Disneyland and I felt so bad that I did not have time to say hello but I was busy racing to a ride. I was afraid Walt would be sad as I felt he knew me. According tot the grandkids many folks felt this way and they loved him, too.

    I never can get enough of Disneyland and can never get enough of my Disneyland and reading on another site I guess every person feels that way, too. It is so fun to see the old stuff memorialized.

    Well done--Keep up the good work.

    It is better as a ride and not a walk through because there is a certain beauty and magic to a smooth, thrilling, dark ride as if you have entered the land and the illusion and if one has to consciously move their feet that might break the trance.