What's this? Another new post? Yes, it's so. The Mansion gods won't let poor old Long-Forgotten rest in peace. LF cannot and must not ignore bombshellery of this caliber. Truth be told, it would be hard to imagine something that fits our profile more precisely, i. e. "ruminations and revelations concerning the history and artistry of the Haunted Mansion."
Kind of a clunky title, though.
Edit: You'll want to read this October post in connection with the November post coming up.
We all know that Marc Davis (and presumably the other Imagineers with him) originally planned changing portraits that ran through several panels, often as many as six. We just looked at one in the previous post. Most famously in this regard, it's common knowledge among Mansioneers that April-December was originally going to be April-June-September-December.
We also know (or thought we knew) that this idea was abandoned when they settled on the ride's current format. They realized that they only had time for a simple, back-and-forth transition from one picture to another, we are told. Anything longer would hold up the crowd, so the multi-panel portraits were chopped back to two panels. We also know that some of Marc's changing portraits never had more than two panels to begin with, and we know that one of those was the Black Prince.
(For most of his existence, of course, the two portraits alternated via a slow, morphing fade).
Very informative. You can toss out the "sometime before or shortly after the HM opened" remark. The six-image display was definitely NOT in operation when the ride opened. You can also disregard the appeal to "concepty art" for the portrait hall showing paintings on both sides as a possible explanation for why so many sets of slides were produced. They're thinking of Marc's "Great Hall" concept art from 1965, those surrealistic, red paintings we've posted so many times before. By the time these sets were produced, they had long since designed the hallway with paintings on one side only. (And what's with that "concepty art"? Gotta be a typo. Pray that it's a typo.)
Who Knew? Part Two
The Van Eaton catalog also has a set of sunburned photos of production slides featuring the Flying Dutchman. Like the Black Prince set, the slides are reproductions of Ed Kohn paintings. That set too is full of surprises.
Unlike the Black Prince, in the case of the Dutchman we have known for a long time that the two-phase changing portrait seen in the ride is an abbreviation of an originally six-panel concept. Before 2005, we were looking at these Kohn paintings, alternating endlessly with each other:
Based on half a dozen or so pix I've seen from the mid 1980's to the early 2000's, the
switch to a stormier first stage (Kohn's #2) took place about 2002, give or take a year.
(Is that when the slides featured in the Van Eaton auction were re-discovered? See the next post.)
The giveaway is the missing lightning. In Marc's #6 the lightning and fireballs of #5 have made their way up inside the foremost ghost. Kohn does have plasma rivulets inside the ghosts, and he's kept the "St. Elmo's Fire" phenomenon too, but the distinctive lightning-and-fireball effect in Davis's foremost ghost has been reduced in Kohn to mere globules of the same general phenomenon you find in the other ghosts. That makes sense since he eliminated Davis's lightning strikes in #4 and #5.
These multi-panel sets prove that there were indeed plans to use six-slide projectors at Disneyland at one point and that the Imagineers must have thought there was time during the show flow for that kind of presentation, far later in the game than previously thought. The next post will deal with the rest of the lost artwork going up for auction in November.