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.


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Tombstones and Milestones

You know, it took five years and nine months for Long-Forgotten to chalk up a million views. It's only taken one year and ten months to get to two million, despite the fact that the blog sometimes lies dormant for lengthy stretches, silent and still as a cemetery. But as we know, at the Mansion no cemetery remains quiet for very long. Many thanks to all readers, commenters, and linkers out there. You make this thing worth doing.

Okay, enough mush. It's an established tradition at LF to celebrate our milestones and anniversaries with odds and ends of Mansionalia, and you may rest in peace, knowing that this post will be no exception.

Today we are going to look at more graveyards, believe it or not. Some are lost, some not. In the last post we took a little vacation on Tom Sawyer Island and learned about the three burial grounds that once were there. Since then I have been alerted to another long forgotten Frontierland cemetery (noticed by TokyoMagic! in a photo published at Gorillas Don't Blog last September and brought to my attention by Chuck in the comments on our previous post). I figure it kinda sorta belongs in the same file as the three on TSI, so we'll take a quick look at it—an excursus on an excursus, if you will—and then it's back to the Mansion, where we belong. There, we'll turn the spotlight upon yet another lost graveyard, and after that we'll provide updates about various doings in one of the current graveyards. I haven't seen anywhere an adequate discussion of the latter items, so as usual it falls to us at Long Forgotten to make good the deficit.

The Churchyard of Rainbow Ridge

You know about Rainbow Ridge, right? That's the quaint little town that formed the backdrop for the old Mine Train through Nature's Wonderland and which was partially salvaged in order to continue service as part of the Thunder Mountain RR backdrop. What you may not know is that the original Rainbow Ridge went through two distinct phases. (You can find an in-depth discussion HERE.) The miniature town was built in 1956, when the Mine Train opened. The Pack Mules, Stagecoach, and Conestoga Wagons all boarded in an area to the left of the Mine Train and in front of the tracks:

When the Stagecoach and Wagons attractions were axed, this whole area was heavily remodeled, including some major reshuffling of Rainbow Ridge, adding new buildings on the left side and moving existing buildings around. That took place late in 1959.

What we didn't know until "Chuck" brought it to our attention is
that the original 1956-1959 town had a graveyard next to the church:

Gorillas Don't Blog

As the foliage grew, the cemetery was obscured more and more, and during the 1959 remodel the "lonely little church on the hill" became an urban house of worship, with houses next to it and fencing suggesting a road going in front of it. The graveyard was gone, and eventually it was (need we say it?) long forgotten.

The 2000 Graveyard

(Updated with info from "Scott Bruffey" himself, Sept 17, 2018). Okay, back to the HM. There is nothing particularly mysterious about this item, but more than 17 years have elapsed, and it's probable that most people have forgotten it ever existed. How many of you knew that there was for a short time a graveyard in the Mansion's front yard?

On October 25, 2000, Disneyland threw an event featuring a dinner inside the Haunted Mansion itself. Temporary foam-core tombstones were created with the names of the participants on them, complete with the usual "boot hill" humorous epitaphs.

According to Scott Bruffey himself, it was a ticketed event limited to 30 seats. The tombstones were
only up for the few hours the event ran, and the set was immediately removed so that the stones could
be waiting for the participants in their hotel rooms as a surprise when they went back after the dinner!

Curiously, a similar temporary graveyard appears in a children's "Sing Along" video released in approximately the same
time period. Whether these were extra stones created for the event but unused, or something entirely other, we don't know.

It's all just another part of the Mansion's history.

Two New Items in the Old Pet Cemetery

For some reason it doesn't seem to have gotten much press, but a new tombstone appeared early in 2017 in the old pet cemetery, the one on the north side of the house, the one you don't see unless you ask to see it or are making use of the disability entrance/exit.

It's Kai, and we're told he has "gone to a betta place." Betta are betta known as "Siamese fighting fish," but our Kai looks less like one of those and more like a koi. If so, the joke may be that poor Kai the koi was done in by an SFF, and after having been eaten is now indeed in a "betta place."

This appears to be a tribute to Kai M. Wright, self-described at his Facebook page as "Former Disneyland Park Regional Core Lead, Disney California Adventure Park Regional Lead, Guest Relations Central, Lost & Found Lead, and VIP Tour Guide." He's also a friend and a very nice guy. When I asked him if he was in fact the subject of a tribute here, he was a little koi about the whole thing, but allowed that such may indeed be the case.

Actual graves for pet fish are exactly the example we've previously used to illustrate the sort of Victorian eccentricity that may possibly be cited in order to justify pet cemeteries at the HM (although if I had my druthers I'd still get rid of them).

The other item is Penny the Elephant, added in 2016. This one has attracted notice,
and you may recall that we updated the old Pet Cemeteries post accordingly.

pic by Noah Korda on Facebook

pic by Noah Korda on Facebook

What I didn't know at the time is that Penny already has a history at the park, and we may be seeing here part of a new "megatheme" scheme at work, tying various attractions together in a common backstory. So long as it remains obscure and in the background, that's fine, but noisy, crudely imposed megathemeing is something we have denounced elsewhere, in one of LF's most popular posts, matter of fact.

For the following, I am heavily indebted to Dave DeCaro's splendid site and especially to Chuck, who left the following comment there:

I just dug into the history of the elephant and turned up this snippet, purportedly from the Disneyland Line cast member publication from this past June:

"With the recent refurbishment of the world-famous Jungle Cruise, you may have noticed the addition of a familiar face-- or shall we say trunk?-- keeping watch above Tropical Imports in Adventureland. The blue acrylic elephant is new to the jungle, but it's no stranger to Disneyland park.

The unpretentious pachyderm was originally created in the early 1990s for Disneyland Paris, but never made its way across the Atlantic. Instead, in 1993, it found a home here on Main Street, U.S.A.-- first at the Penny Arcade (where it became known as "Penny"), and most recently in the overflow seating area for the adjacent Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor."

Despite their best efforts, Imagineers couldn't find a spot for the elephant when both locations were remodeled in 2012. And the statue was placed in storage. That is, until the refurbishment of Tropical Imports presented the perfect perch, where 'Penny' is once again delighting eagle-eyed Guests."

Here's Penny in both locations:

So . . . who would want to tie the Haunted Mansion and the Jungle Cruise together?  Perhaps we are dealing here with the Imagineering team that wants you to see the S.E.A. everywhere you look. It's a fascinating phenomenon, but I don't want to steal Freddy Martin's thunder, so read all about it HERE. After that, come back and ponder the enigma of Penny the Elephant. And let the conspiracy theories begin!


  1. Thanks for the fun post and congrats on the 2 million views! Does anyone know if the Elephant grave doubles to disguise some industrial equipment? It looks like a vent on the one side which is a clever idea.

    1. Yep. It is a camouflaged new vent for the train tunnel.

  2. Very interesting as usual! Kinda wish there was some way to get all the epitaphs on the temporary Front Yard Cemetary, though. Also, was there any connection between those contest-real-names-tombstones and the "Jay — Legal Clerk — Forever Buried In His Work" one?

  3. I moved to UT 4 years ago and haven't been a pass holder for over 6 years, but man oh man, do I miss MiceChat. I am jedimyndtryx, MiceChat's resident DJ. I haven't logged on to that account in over 6-7 years. I ran across Defunctland on YouTube where they show old attractions and history of certain old rides. It made me think of old MiceChat, where we would talk endlessly about everything Haunted Mansion and this and that. It makes me smile. Makes me think of all the wonderful years I spent at the park every week with my wife and kids. My son is in college now, and my daughter is a sophomore. They share my love for the park, but being so far we go maybe once every two years. I'm in shock to see the Mansion threads still there, and wow, a blog! The Mansion holds such a special place in my heart, and I am fascinated by the history. Thank you HBG2 for all these wonderful years of long forgotten effects, and a huge congratulations for the millions of visitors.

    1. Good to hear from you again! As for the will never die.

  4. This is a very entertaining blog; it is fascinating to see the many influences which formed the Haunted Mansion. On the subject of Disneyland's various graveyards, I am intrigued by a cemetery which might have been. In Sam McKim's spectacular illustration of the entire Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, featured in the souvenir magazine of the ride, there is depicted in the Blue Bayou a large oak tree with two smoking pistols at the base. Surrounding are half a dozen tombstones. This references the Dueling Oaks, an actuality of romantic old New Orleans, where gentlemen defended their honor. Since almost every other detail in McKim's extravaganza made it into the finished attraction, the Blue Bayou cemetery may have been an idea planned for and discarded near opening, maybe because the designers knew the Haunted Mansion was waiting in the wings.

    The Lon Chaney influence on Marc Davis may include "The Phantom of the Opera"; a still of Chaney in the unmasking scene is a ringer for one of the Mansion's much loved pop-up ghoulies, the walrus-faced one, also seen on the first page of the Story and Song album.

    1. Thanks for the kind words. With regard to the Dueling Oaks, see the post on "The Haunted Mansion Boat Ride" for speculations along the lines you are suggesting.

  5. Both John Hohol and Scott Bruffey, whose tombstones are featured in the photos of the temporary cemetery, were on staff at the now defunct message boards.

    1. Didn't know that! Thanks. I might know them by their nicks. What were they?

  6. Great posts! I'm Scott Bruffey (my handle on Doombuggies - which is still up and running!- is Desdinova). Just a couple of the Mansion dinner in 2000, we didn't win a contest, it was a ticketed event limited to 30 seats. And talk about stressful; at the time Disney didn't do online sales, you had to fax your ticket request in and wait for hours while they sorted out if you'd gotten your request in before all the seats were sold. I was lucky to get seats for that first dinner (and the subsequent ones).

    Also, the tombstones from the first dinner were painted 1/4" foam core, not ply. The tombstones they made for us at the second dinner were also foam (but about an inch thick).

    And lastly, the graveyard they set up with our tombstones was only up for the few hours the event ran; they broke the set down and had the tombstones waiting for us in our rooms back at the hotel when we returned at the end of the night. And it was pretty awesome to walk back into a dark hotel room to find a tombstone standing at the head of your bed and heaps of other gifts piled around it. Disney knows how to do it up right! :)

    1. Thanks for the updates and corrections, Des. I'll fix up the post accordingly!

  7. Loved seeing the story of Penny! I have to research her more. I've seen the grave, but only from afar. My daughter is Penny so it's super fun to share this with her.

    Also, thank you for sharing the link to my story about the Bengal Barbecue expansion and the SEA clues inside. Humbled and hooked on your content!