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, Doombuggies.com. 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).

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.

________
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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Digging Deeper in the Lost Graveyards

.
.      
.                                                                           Got your shovel?
                         *Chik.  Shing. Chik.  Shing.*                                                         

This month Long Forgotten celebrates three years of digging 'em up and dissecting 'em, otherwise known as revelations and ruminations about the history and artistry of the Haunted Mansion.  This is also the 100th post I've written, by which I mean that it's the 100th post if you count the ones that are already written and currently in the can and ready to go.  So I'm cheating, but this way I can celebrate #100 and the third bloggiversary in a single post and help keep these annoying horn toots to a minimum.  Seems like we just had one.

Three years and a hundred posts.  Gee.
And yet there are still people who think that what I choose to say or not to say at Long Forgotten does or does not matter. What do they know?

Okay, that's done.

Back to business.  Let's lay out some fresh Mansionalia, recently unearthed.  Oh, and speaking of still people, that reminds me.  Two things:
First, remember to show some respect for the dead.  Still people are still people, you know.*  Second, always wear a tie clip to an autopsy.

Ordinarily, when I come across new material relevant to an existing post, I just add it to the post and then note in the Refurbished Posts list on the right that something has been added to the old post, but in this case the material is plentiful and interesting enough to warrant a separate sequel, so I thought I'd append it to the celebratory notice above and call that a post.  Again, you could think of it as a snack to hold you over until dinner rather than as a full meal.  Just so you know, I've got some upcoming posts that should be a lot of fun.


New Old Information

I've recently come upon some more 1962-63 blueprints that are new to me, and they augment both the Lost Graveyard post and the more recent To Find a Way Out post.  Those are, you will recall, the posts dealing with the two graveyards on either side of the Disneyland Haunted Mansion that were the final destinations for the twin walk-thrus originally planned for the attraction.  The one on the north (to the right of the HM) remained a cemetery and became the exit courtyard for the ride, albeit much altered from the original plans, and the one on the south (left) became a queue area. The new old blueprints give us more information.  For clarity, I've added color in many places.

In this one, you're looking straight at the front of the house.  I don't think you should attach any significance to the human figures on the balcony. I think they're only to show scale. One of the two elevators is depicted, and to the extreme left and right of the lower level one finds the two exits, confirming our analysis in To Find a Way Out.


If you're wondering what that dark band is, the one above the thin black band,
that's the brick wall that goes behind the building, up against the berm.


On the left in the blueprint, the staircase that would eventually be the "chicken exit" from the changing portrait hall is
plain, as well as part of the courtyard originally planned as an ornate cemetery, with its distinctive, stepped wall top:



It says "Garden," but as we know, it was indeed a cemetery they were planning.  Here's another new old blueprint.


As we have seen in previous posts, there was no opening in the front wall (red) originally.  It was simply a massive brick wall.

(1964 pic from Outside the Berm)

Here's a new blueprint view of that wall.  For some reason it makes me think of a sinking oil tanker or something.



But more fun is this one, which shows a "typical interior wall" (yellow on the drawing above).





That is, once again, the back wall with its two jogs, but the surface design is obviously different from what
we see today. When it was actually built, we got that row of trim and tidy mausoleums, not falling plaster.


Ah, but the crumbling wall in the blueprint matches what we see in that concept sketch we've posted so many times before:


One supposes that Walt's insistence that the exterior of the house look clean and well-kept was seen to apply as well to the interior of these cemetery courtyards, which is logical enough.  Still, I think it's great fun to find what amounts to a second sketch of the original concept.

On the right side of the first blueprint at the top of this post, there is less to be found.  That's still the brick wall going across the back of the lot you see.  The ground slopes slightly down toward the viewer from there (rainwater drainage considerations), so the "Garden" is a little lower than that back wall, and because of that we can see a strip of the bottom-most portion of it depicted.  The exit staircase on this side (now an emergency exit) runs east-west, not north-south like the other side, so there are no cute stairs drawn in profile in this rendering.


The other new old blueprint gives us a rare interior view of the north cemetery courtyard as it was originally planned.


The red is what you see from the front and resembles what was actually
built but eventually modified into the exit crypt complex we have today.

1966
(modified from this original Daveland photo)



The yellow represents the left hand interior wall, as per the diagram above.  Thus we have at least
one piece of artwork which reveals something about the original planning for the north cemetery.




Presumably, the crumbling plaster look on this side was scrapped too, so all we really learn is
that the interior walls of this cemetery were going to look just like those in the other cemetery.


***************


*The dearly departed was a bootlegger, you say? a maker of moonshine in the
mountains? It matters not. Still people who were still people are still people.


To Find a Way Out

.
.                                                                               1963 publicity shot.  The back reads:
. "WAITING FOR THE GHOSTS -- Disneyland's Haunted Mansion rises in Frontierland beside the Rivers of America.  Slated as a major attraction
.  for the future, the Mansion will be peopled by the world's most famous ghosts now being rounded up by Walt Disney's artists and craftsmen."

The familiar white building that we see today was constructed a full half century ago by artists and engineers planning a very different attraction than what actually went into it.  Major changes were made to the grounds and to parts of the interior before the ride finally opened seven years later.  Before even a year had gone by, further changes were necessary in the enclosed queue area to the south of the house.  It's a place we have come to know well.  We did a post on the modest and whimsical "family plot" that used to be there and another post on the ornate and monumental "lost graveyard" that was originally going to be there but was never built.

What is, what was, and what might have been.




Today's post is essentially a sequel to the Lost Graveyard post, reflecting information taken from old photos and 1962 blueprints that were unknown to me until recently.  It turns out there are still more surprises in the history of that queue area, a history that is clearer now than ever before, and I've uncovered a few other long forgotten goodies, including what is more or less a second "lost graveyard."  Here's a summary:

On the grounds of the Haunted Mansion are two sites that were originally graveyards but which have been altered beyond recognition, for reasons known today only to a few.  There are hidden passageways leading to both sites that were extremely important at the time they were built, intended to serve a central and essential purpose, but which today are infrequently used and unknown to most people.  The exit for one of these secret passages is hidden from view, seldom seen by any visitors today.  Visible remnants of these older structures remain, having been incorporated into new structures or put to different use altogether.  These are changes that happened so long ago that there are very few people still alive who can explain them, or who even know about them.  They are part of a narrative unrecorded and long forgotten, a history unknown even to the Mansion's current occupants (i.e. Disney employees). 

These mutations all stem from pragmatic, logistical issues which arose in the construction and subsequent operation of a popular theme park ride.  In other words, none of it has anything to do with the imaginative world of the attraction itself.  But if so, why does it almost feel like it does?  With a few nips and tucks, that red paragraph could serve as background material for the plot of an interesting haunted house mystery.


This Old House

I briefly alluded to this phenomenon in an older post about The Missing Door.  You will recall that the HM blueprints call for a door in a wall across from the Conservatory, but at Disneyland the door isn't there.  In any other ride, a missing door like this would barely be of interest even to the most hardcore Disney freaks, but at the Mansion, a missing door is instantly romantic, easily absorbed into the imaginative world of the ride itself.  You might ask yourself what the ghosts were up to as easily as you might ask yourself what the Disney architects were up to.

It's just the nature of the beast.  With a haunted house, the house qua house is part of the story.  When you read about some haunted hotel somewhere, it's not just that some guy committed suicide and now haunts, it's that some guy committed suicide in this very room and now haunts this building.  That window right there is mysteriously found open all the time, etc.  Unlike Pirates or Small World, if the park engineers fiddle with the grounds around the Haunted Mansion, there is a tendency for the changes to be sucked into the backstory of the ride if possible.  And consider this Disneyan observation:  Is there any other attraction where the prospect of "a backstage tour" somehow or other feels like it might make the fantasy more vivid rather than less, even though you should know better?  It's because the house is not separable from the show.

Maybe that's why a real-world historical probe like this one appeals to more than just DL history geeks.  In some strange way it seems to augment the experience of the attraction.  It enhances the pleasurable illusion that this is a very old house with a shadowy past.  Thanks to the freakishly long and convoluted history of the original Anaheim Mansion, it has an archaeological depth that is simultaneously genuine and feels like it belongs to the attraction's imaginary world.

All of this is unintentional of course, but in even the finest art, some things are just dumb luck.


A Tale of Two Courtyards

At the time I wrote "The Lost Graveyard," it wasn't completely clear to me how that cemetery was connected to the rest of the attraction.  Also, I ignored the similar enclosure on the other side of the house that begged for its own explanation.  But now, thanks to new information and some stimulating observations by a friend I call Lonesome Ghost, things are much clearer.  There are not one but two "lost graveyards," and what is more, anyone can still get to them from inside the Mansion, and in much the same way that they would originally have been entered.

You can get to one of them today by not being bold enough.
You can get to the other one by being much, much too bold.

You will recall from our Does Size Matter? post that when the building went up in 1962, plans called for a walk-thru haunted house in duplicate in order to handle the crowds, two complete versions of the attraction side-by-side.  Already in 1957-58, Ken Anderson had come to realize that a single walk-thru wouldn't hack it, but until the fall of 1967 (a full decade later!), no satisfactory mode of conveyance had been settled upon.  In the meantime the default was still the walking tour.  By doubling capacity, that option had managed to stay alive as a realistic possibility.

The two stretching galleries would have marked the beginnings of the separate shows.  Apparently, the two tours would have gone up the middle, side-by-side, done their thing outside the berm, and then turned outward and returned along the outer perimeters inside of the show building.  They would have been mirror images of each other, in other words.  But what about the exits for the two tours?  Ironically, I think the basic concept for those exits is most clearly and simply articulated in plans drawn up for another Haunted Mansion, one which was never built.

It's funny how a lot of Disney fans have never heard of the "St. Louis Project."  In 1963 and 1964, Walt was considering building a small version of Disneyland in St. Louis, taking up an entire city block, four stories high—all of it indoors.  The park would have included a Haunted Mansion, with a smaller scale building on a hill above ground but a complete attraction inside the hill and below ground.  There was to be only one stretching elevator, but apparently there would still have been two tours below ground, culminating in two exits into two courtyards.  Check out this blueprint, and notice that you can see partial indications of the tunnels leading up from underground into the two exit courtyards.


With that in mind, check out this rarely seen 1962 blueprint for the Anaheim HM (color added):


There are many interesting things here, but for the present, notice the two exit courtyards, much like the St. Louis
layout.  We know they're exits for the attraction not only by the "exit" arrows, but by the presence of the turnstiles.



On this blueprint they're called gardens, but as we shall see, even in
1962 they were really going to be cemeteries, as on this 1965 blueprint:


What was actually built closely resembled the '62 print above.  Here's a 1965 aerial view we've seen before:


Today, the square courtyard on the right is still the site of the exit area for the ride,
while the trapezoidal courtyard on the left is the site of our now-familiar "lost graveyard."

The trapezoid is still accessible from inside by means of an emergency exit, which empties into a trench-like structure:



That "emergency exit" is nothing less than the original main exit for
the Haunted Mansion walk-thru intended for the left (southern) side.


(Regions Beyond)

You will recall that the whole place would have been down at that trench level, and the courtyard would have been a spill area after the walk-thru, a grandiose graveyard in which you could mill around until you exited through the turnstiles, as in that blueprint above.  It's essentially the way Ken Anderson conceived the finale for his Ghost House.  We knew most of that.  What we now know is how everybody got into the place.

You can still use that original exit without there being an emergency:  It's also the "chicken exit" from the changing portrait hall.  Yep, if you're yeller, you can use one of the exits actually intended as a main exit for the attraction in 1962.  That's the one you see if you're not bold enough.

It stimulates the imagination to realize that these plain hallways and stairs would
likely have been fully themed to the rest of the house if the original plans had held.
(Bear in mind also that Rolly Crump was the main interior decorator at this point!)

(original pic by Datameister)


Unlike the trapezoid on the south side, the square courtyard on the north not only became a cemetery but remained one.



In a way, this too is a lost graveyard.  Lost, because we don't know exactly what they intended to put in there when it was built—with one important exception—and lost because most of the courtyard is generally closed to the public.  Today, the zig-zag path of exit from the top of the speed ramp to the doorway into the open air is dressed out to look like three adjacent crypts.  The large structure outside of the courtyard at the top is roofing/access over the speed ramp, cleverly disguised as a big sarcophagus slab, and it lies in the older and more "secret" of the two pet cemeteries.  Oh all right, I guess it's worth a quick look, since many of you have never seen it and never will.


In this photo you can see how the exit tunnel is cleverly made up to look like several distinct crypts.  On
the far right, that's the back of the final exit crypt you're looking at.  They use the area behind it for storage.

(pic by Datameister)

Some of this is clearer (and frankly, better-looking) in photos taken before the mid 90s, which is approximately when they put in a lot of new fencing.  Alas, they replaced the original "lost graveyard" ironwork atop the wall——the top actually being at ground level from this side.  Oh, and your eyes are not deceiving you; the animal grave markers sometimes get moved around.  Nobody seems to care much where they are.  Or if we want to approach it in the spirit of this post's opening paragraphs, "What are those pranky spirits up to?"  *insert your leapfrog joke here*


Enough of that.  Of greater relevance to the present subject is the small crypt to which the emergency exit leads, marked with an asterisk on the map above.  (The smaller unit above it is just a storage closet.)  What's so special about that crypt, back there where no one can even see it?


The main exit for the northern HM walk-thru was likewise by means of what is today an
emergency exit, not the current exit approached from inside by an ascending speed ramp.  


Today, it's not only an emergency exit, it's also used by park security if they have a very naughty guest down below.  This ain't no chicken exit, bruddah.  If you are so exceedingly bold (and stupid, and evil) as to try to pilfer something, you're sure to get caught and whisked up the stairs, out of that little crypt, and interrogated right there in the lower right hand corner of the courtyard.  That's what happened August 13, 2006, when a couple of teenage rocket scientists snatched a wicker suitcase from the attic as they went by.  With walls and lockable gates all around, that corner of the courtyard is a semi-secure, makeshift holding cell until the cops show up, if it comes to that.  Not exactly San Quentin, but at least there will be no sudden dashing off and losing oneself in the crowds.  Oh, and there is no truth to the rumors that there used to be iron rings bolted into the masonry there and bloodstains on the wall, no truth at all.  (How do these things get started, I wonder.)

Psst, hey, wanna see some forbidden mysteries?  You know you do.  Come, we're going back towards the exit, against the flow, you might say.  However, we'll casually hang a right around the corner rather than go into the exit crypt.  Dee dee dum dee dee...lovely day...dee dee dum

(L: Regions Beyond, R: Allen Huffman.  The lamp was added in 2006)

Curses, a locked gate!  Let's make like ghosts and magically pass through as if it weren't there.  What are those stains on the dirt in
the corner?  Rumor has it . . . never mind, but yeah, that's the area.  As we peek around the corner, we glimpse a wooden door...

(L: Allen Huffman; R: Regions Beyond (top) Datameister (bottom))

. . . and there it is: the little crypt that marks the emergency exit.  (On this particular day, one of the double door-gates
was left open, and you can see what the area back there is used for.)  Many Bothans died to bring us this information.

(pix by some guy)

It's out of sight back here now, but in 1962 this handsome little crypt was going to serve as the main exit for the right-side walk-thru.
We can't open the door, but Sandy Duncan did, in her 1974 Disneyland special, so I was able to cobble together a photo from that.


I was curious, so I 'shopped that other door closed, just to see how it looks.  Heh.  Imagine standing there guilty with this as the visual backdrop
while big, unsmiling security men debate among themselves whether to call in the Anaheim police or simply throw you out of the park.



Stairing into the Abyss

.              Before going any further, I had better justify my confident assertions that these
.              emergency exits were going to be the original main exits.  Back to the blueprints.


We've seen that one before, in our Does Size Matter? discussion.  Let's blow up the pink area this time.


There are three staircases.  Two of them are "stairs up to open graves," and one
is "stairs up to mausoleum," and if you line up that blueprint with this one . . .


. . . the pink staircase lines up PRECISELY with the opening for the emergency exit on the right,
and the green staircase lines up PRECISELY with the opening for the emergency exit on the left.



We've mentioned in other posts that the main show building was not erected until 1968, after they had settled on the omnimover system for the ride, but the two outer walls going under the berm and RR tracks were built in 1962, and the two openings intended for the two exits were carefully engineered and cast in concrete at that time.  Later, they would be demoted to emergency exit status, but like I said, those tunnels and staircases were originally going to be fully themed and part of the attraction, probably presented as secret passages to the outside cemeteries.

Among other things, we discover that this "mausoleum" was probably going to be part of the original "lost cemetery."
And incidentally, note that the door is exactly like the door on the emergency exit crypt in the other courtyard.

pic by Regions Beyond.  A bit of micro-trivia: The rings used to be the doorknobs. Sometime in the last 10 years
they were replaced with regular door handles, and the rings were moved up.  I just thought you should know. )


Moreover, it seems probable that this entire wall of crypts should be included along with the
"mausoleum," as both of those jogs in the height of the wall are indicated on the 1962 blueprint.

Behold, the only part of the "lost graveyard" that was ever realized.

(pic by Regions Beyond)

And you know, it's hardly changed.  Originally the tombs were blank...


. . . and if we want to get reeeeally picky, the original light fixture (right) was
replaced about five years ago with a model undoubtedly more weather-proof
and more guest-proof (left), but also less charming.  Otherwise, no changes.


Over on the other side, that little crypt which today is an emergency exit was in 1962 the site of an "open grave," which might call into question whether the current crypt structure was the original idea.  Granted, it's an infelicitous choice of words, but yes, apparently that crypt was indeed what the blueprint called an "open grave."  In fact, it's the only thing there today that we know was part of the original plans for this area.  We know this because it was part of a WED model of the Mansion and its grounds, which model is most familiar to us from the 1965 "Tencennial" TV program.  The model was already several years old even then, since the house reflects a design that was obsolete by the end of 1961.



You can see parts of both courtyards in the model.  The northern one, in the foreground, is only half
visible, and the crypt cannot be seen, but luckily, this isn't our only photography.  When they did a photo
shoot of Rolly Crump's "Museum of the Weird" maquettes, they spread them out on the same table top.

And guess what?


Bingo.


You can also see the opening in the wall in this 1962 construction photo:


Behold, the only known part of the other lost graveyard that was realized.


Here's something fun:  During the construction of Splash Mountain, excavation came up right to the edge of this enclosure, giving us a once-in-a-lifetime view of the courtyard from the northern side, a point of view not too terribly different from that of the photos of the model we've been looking at.  The original exit crypt is prominent in these pix, and dig how the contours of the exit staircase are visible in the exposed dirt.


(main pic from Outside the Berm)

The Third Staircase

Now at last we turn to the third staircase.  And . . . I got nuthin.  The staircase marked in yellow on our blueprint section up above was also supposed to lead to an "open grave," but on the other blueprint it doesn't line up with anything that's there now.  My guess is that it hooked around and came out where the speed ramp is today, that is, the current exit, because I should think that the gap in the perimeter wall at that point was original to 1962, like the other openings.  The "open grave" to which it lead would have been accessed via staircase rather than escalator.  Ironically, this may have been the original emergency exit, servicing both walk-thrus, but as I say, this is guesswork.


The Missing Brick Wall

.      Let's return to the current exit crypt, set back inside the mouth of what we now
.      know was a cemetery courtyard to be accessed through a different crypt entirely.


Curiously, the face of that crypt is exactly where a short brick wall was originally.


Let's superimpose this modern view on a photo from 1966 and . . . fade away.



(This photo sequence is adapted from this original Davelandweb photo, which contains a distracting and irrelevant sign that I have photoshopped out.)

So if you stand in the doorway of the exit crypt and think, "There used to be a brick wall right here," isn't there something vaguely . . . I don't know . . . Cask of Amontillado-ish about it?  See, this is a good example of the Missing Door effect.   With any other attraction, "There used to be a wall where this doorway is now located" is the blandest sort of park trivia.  But at the Mansion, your imagination may take a playfully perverse turn, treating that real-world factoid as part of the attraction's make-believe world, toying with loose connections and possible correlations, all quite unseriously of course.  Come to think of it, aren't there crypts in there where the reverse is true; that is, crypts that used to have open doorways that are now bricked up?  Intriguing . . . intriguing.  No doubt there is a long forgotten story behind all of this.

"Oh yeah, right, a backstory.  And I suppose I'm the Sea Captain now.  Enough.  I'm innta here.  I'm throwing in the trowel."


Got Concept Art?

We have a nice piece of concept artwork for the "lost graveyard" on the south side; viz, that striking watercolor near the top of this post which was a star feature in the previous post on the subject.  Do we have anything similar showing what the north side graveyard would have looked like?  Not that I'm aware of.  There IS a graveyard there, of course: the current exit crypt complex.  But that can't be the original layout.  The small courtyard is clogged with bulky structures, dividing the space inefficiently and creating areas difficult to access (which are today used for storage or break areas).  Among these, the only structure we know was going to be there is the emergency exit crypt.

But don't despair quite yet.  We DO have one piece of artwork which I suspect is widely unrecognized for what it actually depicts.

In his well-known and well-loved artwork for the "Story and Song" booklet, Collin Campbell gives us this illustration, supposedly depicting the exit crypt into which Mike and Karen must go in order to escape from the graveyard.  ("That's a crypt!  That's the one by the fence!  It's the way out!" exclaims Karen.  How in hell she would know this, no one explains.)  Oddly enough, the model for Collin's exit crypt from the inside to the outside is none other than the actual crypt that would lead you from outside to inside if you went into it.  Everything's backwards, in other words.


In the montage below, take note in Campbell's painting not just of the crypt but of the brick wall alongside of it, topped with decorative ironwork, and compare all that with the actual exit crypt (lower right).  In that modern picture, the greenery above the wall is too thick to let us see the house, but let's make like silly spooks and manipulate space and time.  Let's (1) back away from the opening, and let's (2) return again to 1966.  There.  Now the house is visible (lower left).  Compare it to the house in Campbell's painting.  There is just no doubt.


We've emphasized on more than one occasion Campbell's extreme conservatism in rendering anything based on others' concepts.  You can almost bet there is a Marc Davis sketch (or something) behind these paintings.  Even the ghoul on the right in this very painting is nothing more than an elongated but extremely faithful version of a photo of a basic, Blaine Gibson, pop-up head model.


And yet there are a number of things in Campbell's 1969 painting which correspond to nothing in that exit complex today, including a depiction of an open grave.  Could some old concept art for the northern cemetery be behind it?  It isn't much, but at this point conjectures based on the Campbell painting plus what happens to be in the courtyard today are all we've got to help us visualize this other lost graveyard.


Conclusions

We began the post by pointing out the unintentional but genuine archaeological depth possessed by this possessed manor, built half a century ago. Cryptic alterations* that actually have bland, unmagical, Glendale-ish explanations nevertheless make the Haunted Mansion seem that much more mysterious (if you know about them, and now you do).  The ghost show put on before you consists of the sort of fabricated authenticity you get with any good quality dark ride, but with the Disneyland Haunted Mansion you also get the opposite: a vaguely but pleasantly enhanced sense of age and secrecy springing not from the imaginations of storytellers but from the odd and accidental, clumsy, real-world history of the place.

* Hell yes that pun is intentional.

For a sequel to this study that confirms some of its findings, go here.