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.


Saturday, September 2, 2017

Buried on Tom Sawyer Island (An Excursus)

(Beginning just a few days after original posting and continuing through July of 2020, there have been many updatings of this post.)

I've vacillated a long time about doing this post, because it's not really Mansion-related. On the other hand, I'm pretty sure that the topic will be of special interest to Forgottenistas. Also, it's a topic no one else seems to have covered, which appeals to my twisted sense of pity. By rights it should be given a mini-blog of its own, but I've decided to put it here where it's more likely to be found by an appreciative audience. If you put "Excursus" on something, you're pretty much bullet-proof anyway.

1957 Souvenir Map

I'm talking about the Tom Sawyer Island graveyards, of which there have been three. One of them just recently disappeared, another disappeared decades ago, and the third was barely there, lasting only from 1956 to 1957. Most of you probably know about the first one, a lot of you probably know about the second. But the third? Not so much. So stick around and maybe learn something.

These burial grounds were the immediate precursors to the Haunted Mansion's outdoor graveyards, and remember too, that the Mansion was at one time considered part of Frontierland, so I suppose those considerations give us further flimsy pretext for taking up the topic here at LF.

The Late, Great, Fort Wilderness Graveyard

For those of you reading this at some point far into the future of this writing, know that Tom Sawyer Island was closed while the Rivers of America were drained as part of the initial Star Wars Land construction. It re-opened in July 2017. Not surprisingly, some changes were made on the island while it was closed. Tom's Treehouse is now only a prop, and the graveyard behind Fort Wilderness is gone, presumably to make room for the new wing which was added to the Fort:



I hope that the little cemetery may some day return in some form, but I'm not optimistic, now that I've seen for myself how little suitable space is still back there.

Here's an amusing and amazing bit of info. Guess who designed/drafted the headstones in the old Fort W cemetery? According to retired Imagineer and Disney historian Tom Morris, it was Dean Tavoularis, who went on to become production designer for such well-known films as the Godfather series, Apocalypse Now, and many others. As of this writing (summer 2020), Tavoularis is still alive at 88.

My Loafing Place

Seasoned Disneylanders know that there are some quiet spots in the park where you can get away from the crowds on busy days and relax for a bit in relative peace and quiet. In my opinion, the very best of these was the graveyard behind Fort Wilderness. A few years ago I was at DL in mid-summer on a couple of extremely crowded days and was nevertheless able to sit around back there entirely alone. I'm sure many LF readers were already aware of this tranquil hollow. (And if anybody thinks I'm going to reveal where others are, they're crazy.)

Nowadays, it's even deader back there, I imagine, than when the imaginary dead were back there.

The above is another great shot from the 1960s, courtesy of Dave. Check out a close-up HERE.

Awesome shot from 1977, courtesy of Gorillas:

Would you like to put yourself there in the 1990s? Here's a "magic eye" 3-D:


Tom Sawyer Island opened to the public in 1956, and the graveyard was there
at least by 1957. You can see it on the 1957 souvenir map and in 1957 photos.

In the original version of this post, I suggested that the graveyard was in all probability
there when the island opened, but these 1956 photos prove that it was not there yet.
It seems that originally, you could go into the fort, but not around it or out the back of it.

But here it is in August of 1957...

And here it is in a remarkable 1958-ish photo:

Another from about the same time, from "DisneyHistory101"

There were sometimes as few as ten but usually eleven or twelve graves. However, there were at least eighteen different headstone varieties over the course of its existence. Although a few of them did shift around a bit (kinda like the HM berm graveyard that way), the majority remained in their original locations. The one exception to this took place during a rehab that probably took place in the very early 80s (and definitely no later than 1987), when they were put back all higgledy-piggledy, and they stayed that way until the late 90s, when an authority with more respect for tradition evidently took notice of this outrage and restored them to their original positions. The most radical permanent change took place in 2009, when the whole graveyard was spun around 180 degrees. The layout of the graves was mostly preserved in the front row but mostly scrambled in the back.

Incidentally, Tokyo Disneyland faithfully copied many of the grave markers for their Fort, and in the cases of DL headstones that
were redesigned, the Tokyo versions invariably followed the old form, so sometimes photos of theirs are helpful for comparison.

Okay, let's get to the detailed review. Because this information has to be somewhere on the Internet, doesn't it?

These first nine are they which were there from the beginning (except Amos) and stayed to the very end.
It's tempting to call them the otherother "Nine Old Men," but some of them were women.

----Front row, left to right (typically thus):---

"Thaddeus Walker, 1812"

bottom left: Allen Huffmann, top left: webmikey flickr, right: Dave

"Rufus Finley, 1813"
(The date disappeared when the marker was redesigned in the late 90s.)

right: Davelandweb

"Amos Wilson, 1787-1862"

(NOTE: There is now good reason to think Amos Wilson was a real person. See the update below.)

And speaking of updates, we are surprised to learn that "Amos Wilson" was not the original epitaph on this marker. In the beginning, it was "H. T. Gillett." Harvey Gillett ran the WED drafting room from 1955 until 1963, when he died suddenly of a heart attack. That's probably when the marker was re-christened as an Amos Wilson tribute. (Perhaps it lost its "roof" at the same time.) Gillett was a well-established art director at Warner Brothers pictures before coming to Disney.

Disney 101

top left: princesskoko flickr, bottom left: Dave, top right: Regions Beyond, bottom right: Stuff

"Wing Lee, 1811"

left: princesskoko flickr

"W Pierre Feignoux, J'y Suis J'y Reste, 1809"

top left: princesskoko flickr, bottom left: Voyages Extraordinares, right: Dave

"Lieut. Laurence Clemmings, Fell Here Defending the Right
June 25 1810"

(The date was still there in the late 60's, but eventually it disappeared.)

left: Ron Snider; right: Bill Cotter at Vintage Disneyland on FB

top: Davelandweb
---Back row, left to right (typically thus):---

"Jno C. Sawyer, 1813"
(The cross-piece was curiously repositioned in '09 when they spun the cemetery around.)

left: Dave

"Eliza Hodgkins, Died June 7, 1812, Age 27 Years"
(Originally Eliza went topless. There was no "roof" on her marker. She
may also have been closer to the front row in the first couple of years.)

bottom: Davelandweb

"Sacajawea, Indian Scout"

bottom: Davelandweb

This tenth one was probably there at the beginning but didn't make it to the end.

"1813, Llewellyn Lloyd, Cholera, Aged 24 Mo"

Lloyd disappeared sometime in the late 90s. Maybe the epitaph was deemed just a little too sad for Disneyland.

This next, eleventh stone was not original. It was added sometime between 1977 and 1990 (that's new info), and it
stayed to the bitter end. It started in the front row towards the left but moved to the back and took Lloyd's place when it was removed.

"Ebinizer Browne, -1812-"

right: Regions Beyond, top left: Davelandweb, bottom left: princesskoko flickr
For the remaining grave markers, we have a potpourri of epitaphs on headstones dedicated to "unknowns" of two types. In the beginning there was this grave for an unidentified soul...

"Unknown Remains, Found July 24, 1812"

It disappeared some time after 1977 (new info again) and was reborn in 1981 as
"Unknown Remains, Found 1805"


And that one in turn was replaced with "Unknown Hostile, 1842, HM..ID."

left: Loren Javier; right: webmikey flickr

Reader Craig Conley points out that "HM" is the standard Latin abbreviation for hoc monumentum ("this monument"). His further suggestion that "ID" may mean idibus ("on the ides") is less convincing. I suspect it's simply idem (also abbreviated "ID"), a term commonly used in bibliographical notation with the meaning "the same [author as previously cited]," in order to avoid tedious repetition in multiple consecutive citations from the same author. But that's a technical usage. The word idem by itself simply means "same" or "identification." Thus, "HM..ID" could be an abbreviation for hoc monumentum ... idem, in this context meaning "this monument serves as (sole) identification," which makes admirable sense.

In all three forms that grave marker was found toward the center of the back row, the first version to the right of Sacajawea, the second and third versions to her left (the viewer's right, the viewer's left).

The second "unknown" variety was an open grave obviously there as a comic photo op: It was marked "Unknown Tourist" (later "Unknown Guest") followed by the current year, so it had to be updated annually. By the 90s it was just "Unknown Guest" without any date, and finally it was just left blank. It was probably there from the beginning and always found at the far right of the back row. It disappeared in 1981 or early 82 and returned when the "higgledy-piggledy" rehab was undone and the traditional layout was restored. It didn't survive the 2009 spin-around.

top left: Will Hathaway flickr, bottom left: Greg Nutt flickr, top right: Steve Stuart, bottom right: Mike Hiscano

Check out the amusing story in the Comments from Eddie Sotto ("Anonymous") explaining how and why the
photo-op empty grave disappeared in 1981 and was replaced by the "Unknown Remains, Found 1805" grave.

History Within the History [UPDATED Mar 26, 2018]

In the original post I wrote this: "Two of the headstones reflect real history in some form, while the rest are simply made up names, without any significance. At least I haven't been able to find any correspondents in history or among Disney employees. Sorry to disappoint. Don't you know I wish I had quaint background stories to tell about Amos Wilson and Thaddeus Walker, et al, but it seems to be the case that these dead men really do tell no tales."

But in March of 2018 reader James Wallace shared the following information in a comment:

"Amos Wilson was my Great Grandfather. He was a WW1 vet from Oklahoma. He worked in the shipyards during WW2. He was also an artist. He did all of the detailed painting on Walt Disney's yacht, and when Disneyland was built Walt remembered him and hired him to do the original painting on the Columbia. He also painted the original tea cups and the Carlsbad Caverns [sic. I'm sure he means Rainbow Caverns]. If Walt Disney liked you he named something in the park after you. It has always been a neat thing for my family. Hope they bring the cemetery back somewhere. There is a lot of history at Disneyland."

princesskoko flickr

And as of July 2020 we know that before Amos the marker was a tribute to another real person, Harvey Gillett (see above).

Besides Amos, the two headstones reflecting actual history are "Sacajawea, Indian Scout" and "W Pierre Feignoux, J'y Suis J'y Reste, 1809." I'm sure many of you already know that Sacajawea was the guide for Lewis and Clark during their 1804-1806 "Corps of Discovery" expedition into the American west. Her profile got a significant boost in 2000 when she showed up on new $1 coins (that no one wanted; our wise and benevolent government keeps trying to force the public to use dollar coins, and the public keeps saying No).

As for "W Pierre Feignoux, J'y Suis J'y Reste, 1809," the date is wrong and the name is meaningless, but the slogan is historical. If we want to properly catch the resolute and defiant tone, we should perhaps translate J'y suis, j'y reste along these lines: "That's where I am, dammit, and that's where I'm staying." It originated during the Crimean War, during the siege of Sevastopol in 1854-55. A French general of Irish descent named Marie Edme Patrice MacMahon had successfully captured a Russian fortification on a strategic hill but was told by another general to abandon it, since they suspected the Russians had undermined it and were planning to blow it up. MacMahon haughtily replied "J'y suis, j'y reste" and refused to budge. There was indeed an explosion, but it caused little damage to the French forces, and the siege ended soon afterwards when the Russians withdrew. Thus was born a French catch-phrase for heroic stubbornness.

Until recent days, the slogan spoke well enough for the headstone itself, since it did indeed stay right where it was planted for a very long time. That's where it was, and that's what it said.

Knott's Bury Farm

I'm not sure there is any need to look for an immediate inspiration for the Fort Wilderness cemetery, but if there was one, I'd say the "Boot Hill" graveyard at Knott's Berry Farm is as good a candidate as any. What's funny is that those are funny, whereas the Fort Wilderness graves are utterly grave.


Lori Lynn

I suppose one could argue that the serious tone is due to the fact that 1956 Disneyland tended to present the Frontier experience with a straight face ("hard facts" and all that), but then there's that gag grave, breaking the fourth wall by referring to Disneyland's "tourists" and "guests" and put there strictly for yuks. At any rate, the quintessentially Mansionistic joke about you the visitor joining the resident revenants was already foreshadowed on Tom Sawyer Island in the fifties.

Always room for one more


Before we move on, there's one more quirky and irresistible detail about the FW graveyard that I cannot pass by in silence. Before the 2009 flip, there were four fiberglass tree stumps in there. They were so realistic and so exquisitely done that they were . . . oddly beautiful things.

Yeah, I've already used this 2003 Allen Huffmann shot, but it gets my vote as the single best photo of the FW graveyard, so here it is again, and here it remains..

Someone in the model shop went to a lot of bother for those. Why? Well, if you look closely, you'll see that they are in circumference about the size of the logs that make up the Fort itself. You're supposed to think of this graveyard as something the settlers put into a clearing in the forest created by the cutting of timbers to build the Fort. I don't suppose that's too terribly important, but you hadn't thought of it, had you? And now that you have, it inspires your imagination to tell you a tale of how this thing came to be, does it not? And Disney does this sort of silent storytelling better than just about anyone, do they not? And pompous rhetorical questioning gets wearisome after awhile, does it not?

Let's move on to gravesite number two, shall we?

The Indian Burial Grounds

Plenty of you remember this one as well, since it only disappeared in the 1990s after being a fixture on TSI since it opened in 1956. It was conspicuous enough to warrant inclusion on the park's McKim-inspired souvenir maps, beginning in 1966.

Dave and the Major have impressive collections of photos, facilitating a "through-the-years" survey of this elevated subject.
Notice how surprisingly much the sombre and yet colorful scene was altered during its long and silent career on the shoreline.

Just this morning (Oct 2, 2017), the Major put up a photo from 1956 showing the Lakota-type burial. The assumption originally was that this was a photo of the Indian Village scene on the west side of the river, but a close examination of the foliage and show pieces in comparison with the 1958 photo below convinces me that this is indeed Tom Sawyer Island and is our earliest photo yet of the tableau there.




The burial style depicted is that of the Lakota Sioux:

The ring of buffalo skulls with the mound in the center is also authentically Sioux.
It was the site of ritual sacrifices and ceremonies in preparation for buffalo hunts.

Something you probably didn't know is that there was once a similar outdoor
tableau in the old Indian Village, over on the mainland where Critter Country is now:

That was in 1961, when Disneyland still took its educational role seriously. The text on the sign reads:

Indian Burial Sacred Ground

After death, a brave's body is wrapped, placed on high poles, and faced to the East...

The tall pole in front reveals his life story...The scalps prove his courage in war...
The buffalo skull shows he was a hunter...On the ground below are his weapons and tools

Here's another shot of it from gdb:

                    Okay, it's time now to look at the third and most obscure of the lost TSI cemeteries.

The Riverfront Graves

We owe our original awareness of these graves to Dave. The photo is dated August 1956:

Even WDI Imagineers and seasoned DL historians were gaping at that one. Who remembered these? Amazing. Well, prepare to be amazed all over again, because these two are only HALF the story. They were in fact a second set, replacements for another pair in the same spot. The first set lasted no more than a few months before "Hintley" and "Campbell" here took their place.

Since the graveyard behind the Fort was not original to the 1956 opening but was definitely there by the second half of 1957, I suspect that the riverfront stones came out when the Fort graveyard went in. In support of this theory is the fact that one of the original riverfront stones had a similar epitaph to one of the Fort stones, and it's unlikely that both would have been on display at the same time.

Photos of the first pair exist, but the headstones are so easily overlooked in the relevant pictures that they are practically invisible. The two best photos I've seen are both from the Major.

Gorillas Don't Blog

I've collected a few other photos in which one or both markers can be seen. They're hopelessly blurry, but the photos themselves are
interesting enough in their own right to justify putting them up. Now you have all the photos of the original set that I have.

Gorillas Don't Blog

Peeky boo

This one I just discovered today (Sep 9, 2017):

Jon on flickr

Another one I discovered at the "DisneyHistory101" website in 2020:

It was probably because they were so hard to notice that they were quickly replaced with a more conspicuous set.

Here are the two pairs side by side:

You want the texts? Well, three out of four is the best I can do. Maybe you can do better.
[I've incorporated a good suggestion from reader Melissa on the third one]

By the time a pathway was constructed for guests along that strip of the island (1957-58), the graves were gone.

They were soon forgotten. Soon forgotten becomes long forgotten. And long forgotten sometimes becomes rediscovered history.
Next time you pass by that side of the Fort, be sure to pay your imaginary respects to the imaginary dead, the ghosts of ghosts.



  1. Wow, this is a timely subject for me. A few weeks ago, I purchased a slide of the Indian burial tableau on EBay and assumed that it was part of the Indian Village, just a bit north of where the Hungry Bear restaurant is today. Now I know that it was on Tom Sawyer's island instead. Thanks for the history lesson.

  2. “DIED USA XX” looks more like “DIED SEP 9TH” to me, with the “TH” in superscript.

    1. Ooooh, that indeed looks like a possibility. You know, the biggest problem with those last lines is that we need a year somewhere. Of course, the "J P Smith" grave has no year, but it has no dating of any kind, just the poor kid's age. It's also true that Lt. Clemmings in back of the fort has neither age nor date. But to carefully give someone's age and the month and the day of their death, but neglect to give the year, is downright weird. It would only be explicable as a case of absent-mindedness on behalf of the settlers (or more likely the Imagineer). We could possibly read the USA/Sep blob as a year by sheer force of will, but that leaves the "9th" blob unexplained, or we could read the "Aged" blob as a year, even though Smith and Hintley make use of "Aged" and Margaret's blob looks an awful lot like that same word. No good options. At this point, I'm inclined to go with your "Sep. 9th" as the best of bad options. Maybe someone out there with fancy-pants digital doodads will pity our case and clarify the epitaphs further.

    2. I said "Margaret"; I meant "Hintley."

  3. Great post! I love learning about the little details that made Disneyland over the years, but had been forgotten. I wouldn't mind similar non-Mansion posts.

  4. What an excellent post!! I wouldn't mind whatsoever if you shifted the tone of the blog to focus on general obscure park micro-trivia, instead of just focusing on Mansion. It seems like we've tapped Mansion out for now, and it would allow you to keep updating this most excellent blog. It's so hard to find blogs like that that dive into the level of detail that you do.

  5. I very much agree with Jake here. Your perspective and finds are always thrilling.

    1. Let me second (or "fourth") Jenna, Jake, and Malia's comments here: I too would love to see even non-Mansion posts. Your analysis is wonderful; the very concept of themed space is crying out to be analyzed, and--as Jake put it--it's hard to find blogs that do this kind of detailed reasoning about this wonderful but under-appreciated concept.

  6. Or even a sister blog, if you preferred it that way. "Long-Forgotten [Something Else]" or something.

  7. Funny thing about the Boot Hill cemetery at Knott's, is that some of the original headstones were actually taken from real ghost town graveyards (supposedly replaced with modern copies so as not to be considered "graverobbing"). At least, that's what they said in some early promotional materials...

    1. Disney has them beat in the "grave robbing" category; they used real skeletons in Pirates of the Caribbean (later replaced)

    2. I have always read that POTC fact as a rumor. I would love to read a post that centered around this fact. This blog is one in a million, and I would love anything you chose to post!


  8. By chance, I decided to drop by here today and see if anything was new. As I read, I thought “oh, wow, I was just around the back of the fort and didn’t realize it had changed and that there was a cemetery there once.”

    Then I found a picture of the cemetery.

    That I took. :-)

    Forgetting things makes everything fresh and new over and over!

    Always fun to find a photo from my archive be of use, years after I forgot I took it! (Drop me a note if you ever want the full size version. The ones on my site are shrunk, recompressed and watermarked.)

  9. Fascinating as usual, and astoundingly well-written as customary.

    May I point you to what may be the subject of a HM post (or at least minipost): a picture of the maquettes for the Duelists just surfaced on tumblr:

    And as noted in the above blog's commentary, while the mustached, goateed, black-haired Duelist's maquette is close to the final animatronic (down to having no legs), the other one stands on two legs and has no beard. Quid? Could it be a case similar to the Troubadour being lumped together with the Graveyard Band, with the legged bare-shaved fellow being a remnant of an earlier version of the tableau? Could any of this be linked (why not) to your find of a possible hint at a Duelists outdoor diorama on the Sam McKim map?

    1. The maquettes are loosely based on the Marc Davis sketches and IMO probably reflect nothing older than that. I wouldn't put much significance in the legs, either. It may be that both had legs originally and that the legs of one of them have crumbled away. The catalogue said that a little restoration work had been done on them in order to make them presentable.

    2. Uh. If you say so. What of the lack of beard on the fairer-haired Duelist though?

    3. There are front and back photos of the maquettes in the Van Eaton catalogue for the auction wherein the figures were sold. I've also got a pic of them before they the one with legs was restored. I have little doubt that the other one originally had legs too. As for the beard...that means nothing, IMO. The organist maquette is quite different from the sketch that proceeded it and the finished figure that followed it. Doesn't necessarily mean there's a whole chapter of history missing.

  10. This morning, Major Pepperidge over at Gorillas Don't Blog published a 1956 photo of the little mining town of Rainbow Ridge. Sharp-eyed reader (and owner of the Meet the World blog) TokyoMagic! noticed something neither of us had ever seen before - a scaled-down Boot Hill next to the little church at the top of the hill. I'm not sure how long it remained in place, but it appears to have been quickly obscured by growing vegetation.

    While not on Tom Sawyer Island, its location in Frontierland just across the river from two of the TSI graveyards and its long-forgotten status seemed to beg some sort of mention here in a comment for you and your readers' reference. Thanks for continuing to do what you do to foster discussion and encourage new research into some of the more obscure aspects of the Disney Parks.

    1. That's a fascinating little discovery! Never seen that before. (To get picky and technical, I'd call it a "churchyard" cemetery rather than a "boot hill" cemetery, since it's next to the church.) As a matter of fact, I do have a file for the remaining Disneyland cemeteries (in addition to the HM and TSI specimens), so this one goes in there. It may decide whether I actually do anything with the file, since this one is definitely "long forgotten," unlike most of the others, which are better described as "easily overlooked."

    2. I've now seen your list of DL graveyards since it opened, and it's impressive. Like the Major, I wonder if the sub voyage one "counts." But I can think of others. There's the poisoned water hole that used to be in the Living Desert, passed by the stagecoach and the mules. It's iffy, but I would count it as a graveyard because of all the animal skeletal remains there plus the sign in it referring to those dead animals and marking off the place from the surroundings. It's another long forgotten graveyard I might do something with. As for the HM, you've got the original family plot, the outdoor crypts (which, however, may be considered part of the family plot), the three iterations of the berm yard, and the two animal cemeteries. I'd count the berm as three, because neither the first nor the second are accommodated within the imaginative history of the third. They are genuinely yesterlanded cemeteries, not supposed to be remembered while you're looking at the current version. Inside, the big graveyard at the end of course, but don't forget the one depicted in the widow stretchroom portrait.

    3. Wow - a mention of that Rainbow Caverns watering hole is obscure indeed! Do you have a clear photo of the sign that was next to it? All I have are ones that show the words "Look At This!" but not the script underneath...

    4. Here's my best photo of it and my attempt at deciphering the text.

  11. Wonderful post. So much to love here, thank you. I had forgotten the Fort cemetery and this brings it all back. The graves by the river are just... "gravy"".

    My contributions to the list of cemeteries: The dinosaur graveyard in the Primeval World and pyramids in IASW. The Taj Mahal was already mentioned by Chuck.


    1. I thought of the pyramids last night! Not sure about the dinosaurs, though. Without some sort of deliberate marker indicating that "this is a place for the dead," I wonder if it truly qualifies. Another one I've thought about is the heap of skulls on a canoe in the Jungle Cruise. Seems like a deliberate disposal of the dead in a designated—even ceremonial—space, so I'm inclined to include it on the list as a type of graveyard.

  12. I just noticed for the first time that in the Alice in Wonderland section of the Storybookland Canals that there is a teeny tiny little graveyard in front of the church. A miniscule detail that I never picked up before. I think reading your blog is giving me hyper-focused graveyard searching eyes or something.

  13. Yup, the Alice graveyard is on the radar screen. I've got lots of photos. It's especially interesting because there is no church or churchyard in the Alice movie, so that particular tableau must have been a miniature that the Imagineers just wanted to do and used "Alice's church" as an excuse to shoe-horn it in somewhere. It's one of my favorite SL items.

  14. HBG2, wondering if you've seen this yet. Thought it might be nice to see some of the old changing portraits being officially identified by the Mouse:

    (sorry for the off-topic post, but couldn't find a direct messaging ability)

    1. ? I didn't see where the portraits were identified.

    2. Not "identified" as in labeled (although if you get the individual pics, it might be). Moreso... acknowledged?

    3. Sorry, I misread your original statement.

  15. Hello there HBG2! I believe I might well have found the material for a new installment of Creepy Old Flicks…. May I point you to the 1963 black comedy The Comedy of Terrors, starring Vincent Price, Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre and Basil Rathbone? (It's a hilarious movie, anyway. You ought to watch it if only for its own sake.)

    Though it doesn't have a single ghost, it does have a believed-to-be-dead-Rathbone waking up inside his coffin, and, in a hilarious sequence, crooked undertaker Price sitting on the coffin to try and keep him inside — prompting Rathbone to repeatedly utter: "Let me out! Let me out! Let me out of here!!!". Evocative, no? Here's a screenshot:

    Now I'll grant you this wouldn't be damning evidence on its own, but later on the same coffin ends up in a graveyard where still-not-dead-Rathbone once again wakes up, in the middle of a stormy night. And in doing so he scares the brains out of an Old Caretaker type played by Joe E. Brown (of Some Like It Hot fame), who looks very familiar:

    Note the scarf and the latern. And while I'm at it, here he is standing next to the above coffin:

    I might just be seeing things, but even Brown's face (although you can't really see it in those bad-quality pics of mine) looks like it matches up with Marc Davis's sketches of the Caretaker.

    And as the final nail in the coffin so to speak, I also find the "collection of curious objects" clogging up the basement to be rather similar to a certain Attic:

    I mean, old spooky clutter will be old spooky clutter, but…

    So what do you think?

    1. I've never seen the film, but some of that stuff looks interesting. I'll have to have a look.

    2. It's available on YouTube at the moment, if you want to have a quick look without bothering with a DVD.

  16. I must have seen A Comedy of Terrors a dozen times, and never noticed those things! But now that you point them out...

    1. There's also this...

    2. That's a /great/ screen capture, HBG2!

  17. "Oh the tentacles.....Part II"

    Here's a TSI Graveyard story you may not know...and nothing to do with Jean Lafitte...

    I had a friend working at DL City Hall guest relations, who was shocked at how management overreacts and would change something based on a single guest complaint. Jokingly, I said that I should find something to complain about and see if I could get them to rip something out to prove the point. Hmmm. The park had no way of knowing that we knew each other as I did not work for WDI or DL. We'll..... I was in the park and noticed the "unknown guest" open grave (photo op) on TSI and the year was 1981. That spring a teenage male ( Mel Yorba ) was stabbed in the heart in Tomorrowland and eventually died. The park was VERY embarrassed by how his situation was mishandled. I explained that if the mourning Yorba family saw that grave (or worse the press) it would be a PR nightmare (because now guests ARE slain at DL) and that they should remove it asap before the connection could be made. My friend quietly called and said they immediately filled it in and revised the headstone to read "Unknown remains found 1805." Case closed.

    Eddie Sotto ( alias Jean Lafitte)

    BTW. - Hop "Wing Lee" happens to run the laundry in Knott's Ghost Town...But he got buried at DL??

    1. Hilarious. Hitherto a must do on any Disneyland day had to included climbing into that grave, exactly as seen above. It was ‘the end’ of your journey to TSI…as deep as you could get into the wilderness. Snuffed out by a whippersnapper, ha!

  18. Wow! Completely amazing post and I'm blown away by the research that went into this. Knocked me out as usual Dan!

  19. I know this is a little off-topic for this particular post, but I wasn't sure exactly where to send in a message. I wanted to let you know what my dad told me, who rode The Haunted Mansion at Disney World shortly after it opened, that he saw a Hatbox Ghost there. He said that he saw 'an old man in the attic whose head would disappear and reappear' but when I asked about if his head would reappear in his hatbox, my dad said that no, it didn't. So there was a Hatbox Ghost in WDW, but it had the same problem the Disneyland one did. But not many people seem to know about this, so I wanted to share.

    1. This is the first time I've ever heard this claim, and it will need a great deal more confirmation before anyone will be convinced that your father's memory is accurate with regard to this. By the time the WDW HM opened, the HBG had been gone from DL for over two years, written off as a failed effect, with no attempts made to fix the problems and try it again. In contrast to DL, the HBG does not appear on any WDW blueprints and he is not found on any lists of AA
      figures, as he is at DL, where his figure number is marked as "omitted."

    2. My dad has never been to Disneyland and he hadn't heard of The Hatbox Ghost. I don't recall what sparked this memory of his. We may have been talking about old brides and thus he told me what he remembered from his first visit. I had heard stories of people supposedly seeing a Hatbox Ghost at the WDW mansion briefly, which is interesting, though I realize that could be false memories based on the DL one.

  20. Amos Wilson was my Great Granfather. He was a WW1 vet from Oklahoma. He worked in the shipyards during WW2. He was also an artist. He did all of the detailed painting on Walt Disney’s yacht and when Disneyland was built Walt remembered him and hired him to do the original painting on the Columbia. He also painted the original tea cups and the Carlsbad Caverns. If Walt Disney liked you he named something in the park after you. It has always been a neat thing for my family. Hope they bring the cemetery back somewhere. There is a lot of history at Disneyland.

    1. How fascinating! Thanks for the info. I'll be putting it up into the post itself.

    2. Amos Wilson was also my grandfather my mother's father Margaret Reeves. James Wallace are you Auntie willila's sons call me 727-644-4421

    3. Amos Wilson used to work for Disneyland in the 50s he was my grandfather and he worked painting and updating other things on the grounds

  21. Another reason I named my dog “Rufus”, was to finally embody that unclaimed spirit who inhabits Disneyland with this headstone. His snore was later the only notable thing about a dark cave you walked through into Bear Country; he kept his cave even as Splash Mountain sprouted up around it, still sleeping, charming guests along the log ride for decades to follow, just at the top of slippin’ falls.

    1. Good name for a dog. Most of them can pronounce it.

  22. Good one. And he was red…and Finnish, and also shared my grandfathers name. So it all fit. Happy holidays.

  23. Amos Wilson was my grandfather. He retired from Disneyland in 1962. His grave was a must see whenever the family went to Disneyland. He was a painter. He painted the T Cups, and the ship Columbia. Amos passed away in 1978.