to Brother Bill
this new material
to our attention.
In our earlier
treatment of the
portrait, we found
this beloved and
much - missed
character, but the
search for a direct
chose to pursue
with any vigor
at the time.
I know that Foxxy, over at Passport to Dreams, is of the opinion that the aging Abigail effect
in The Haunting (there's that movie again) was quite possibly the inspiration for April.
Maybe. However, your blog administrator is sorely chastened after looking into the Catlady-Bewitched mystery, where we found it chronologically difficult to link Ling Ling the cat lady in Bewitched with Marc Davis's cat lady, despite the astonishing similarities. If THAT one is a coincidence, you'll pardon my reluctance to make triumphant claims about artistic inspirations. The boundless realm of Long-Forgotten will continue to be home to countless perhapses and maybes and nonsmoking guns. If it's certainty you're after, my advice is, "Don't become a historian." (My other good advice is, "Never sing while you're cleaning the toilet.")
Here's another, more recent example where the temptation is great to connect the dots prematurely. Last week, Paul Anderson at the Disney History Institute posted a delightful Ken Anderson concept sketch featuring a haunted kitchen. This artwork has never been published:
It's quite possible the Davis got the idea of a haunted kitchen from Anderson, since we know the 60's Imagineers did look at Anderson's work from the 50's. But is there a one-to-one correspondence here, a direct inspiration? At first pass, you might think the answer is yes. The basic layouts are similar, and there's a cat in each kitchen, but most tellingly, the water pumps are very similar:
Once Again, Dark Shadows
However cautious we may be, the April-December parallel brought to our attention by Brother Bill is pretty darn impressive. You may recall that in our exploration of the Corridor of Doors in another earlier post, we demonstrated (at least to our own satisfaction) the likelihood that the Gothic soap opera Dark Shadows was a source of inspiration for Marc Davis and perhaps others on the Mansion team. In fact, it would be surprising if the Imagineers did not check out the program, at least once in awhile.
"Josette duPres" portrait, which made its debut in the show in 1966.
They say the Josette portrait created a bit of a buzz in that it was the first time the show included something unambiguously supernatural. The ghost of Josette steps down from the painting and goes walking about.
Josette became a continuing character, and the painting turns up in the ongoing storyline from time to time. In January of 1968, the painting gradually morphed right before our eyes from a portrait of a beautiful young lady into the corpse of an old woman.