Long-Forgotten had a series of five (count 'em, five) posts devoted to the "Father of the Haunted Mansion," Ken Anderson, back in October of 2010. And just last month (Nov 2012), the last of the five received a major addition, thanks to the discovery of a new blueprint. Today's post will be our sixth look at Ken's contributions.
In the course of those earlier discussions, we went through Anderson's "Ghost House" room by room.
That hallway was going to have an unfinished appearance, and with the two windows on the left side actually
overlooking the graveyard scene below, we have something eerily similar to the actual Haunted Mansion attic.
The new blueprint reproduces the original faithfully. The only real change is that an "outside" balcony has been added to
the scene, plus at least two pieces of artwork, both of which have been posted previously.
That concept painting on the left is not some sort of free composition but a careful rendering of the cyclorama in the Ghost House as seen by guests through the windows of the Salon. The correspondance between it and the blueprints is exact and detailed.
With a little cunning photoshoppery, and following Anderson's written texts, the original artwork can be expanded into a sort of "storyboard" for the scene. Since there is more than one version, each of them securely dated, the exercise is pleasantly similar to participating in the creative process as Anderson first devises and then revises his storyboard. You can almost hear the wheels turning as he improves the show script.
Someone like David Witt could do much more with this than I can. On the other hand, there's something to be said for the storyboard format when you're comparing two different ways to block out a basic script. Then again, I did add some sound effects, so . . . whatever.
The Headless Horseman
Surveys of the Mansion's history routinely mention the early idea of basing the attraction on the Headless Horseman character from The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, but in truth he never amounted to very much. As far as I can tell, this cyclorama in Anderson's Ghost House was virtually the only place where the HH was definitely incorporated into any known Mansion plans. But dang, it was an impressive scene.
Two of the descriptions Anderson wrote are fairly detailed. The first version presented here is storyboarded from his earliest script, using artwork I have adapted from his two actual sketches. Take it away, Ken.
"...and distant flashes of lightning and sounds of thunder will next be heard."