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.


Sunday, November 8, 2020

To Find a Way Out, or Maybe Two or Three

This is yet another sequel to one of my favorite posts here at Long-Forgotten. To really appreciate what we've got here, you should probably refresh your memory by taking a stroll down memory lane HERE and HERE. The discoveries made here required an updating of the original "To Find a Way Out" post.

A few years back, retired Imagineer and now Disney historian Tom Morris uncovered something truly long forgotten and presented it as part of his lecture tours in 2019. Tom was kind enough to share with me further details and photos pertinent to the subject at hand, so I and you owe Tom a note of thanks.

When they started pouring the concrete for the façade building of the Disneyland Haunted Mansion in 1962, they naturally poured the foundational, perimeter walls in accordance with what they thought at the time the attraction was going to be, which was a twin walk-thru. As we know, the two elevators were for two back-to-back, essentially identical walk-thru adventures, at the end of which guests would ascend a set of steps to an enclosed graveyard area, where they could look around among the tombs and stuff for awhile before exiting through turnstiles.


The two enclosed areas eventually became a queue area on the south side . . . 

. . . and the exit complex of mausoleums on the north side. The original walk-thru
exits became the "chicken exit" on the south side and an emergency exit on the north.
Most of you knew all of that. And if you didn't, you did after reviewing those old posts.

What you may not have known is that in 1961 they were still playing around with several options for getting folks up from the basement level and into the graveyard spill areas on either side. At the time they poured the foundational walls they thought they might have THREE exits on each side. In this photo, looking across the railroad trestle that will eventually be a tunnel covered in earth, transformed into the berm behind the house, you can see two openings in addition to the main opening, the one that eventually led to the "chicken exit" in the graveyard. (That one is boarded up in this shot.)

"The 'E'-Ticket" 16 (Summer 1993) 32

The three staircases beneath the house are visible in this blueprint,
which apparently shows only the exits for the southern graveyard.

Those were put there because at the time they thought they might have guests finish the tour in a large room beneath the house, where the Ghost Host would taunt them about "finding a way out," a line that became infamous when it ended up as part of the stretchroom spiel. According to a 1961 "Haunted House Show Outline," after the GH leads the audience into the basement area, he says:

"Now you are on your way out . . . Here's your way out . . . I found the way out . . .
This way out . . . All paths lead to the same end.  Ha! ha! ha!"

The outline then continues:

Voice shows the audience way out thru one positive central control exit. Audience is now free to find their own way out. Secondary exits from main control exit carries audience up thru graves, crypts and vaults to outdoor cemetery. This area is to be walled in and not seen by public at Disneyland. Area for final exit turnstiles in cemetery wall.
Um . . . that's not exactly crystal clear. What would happen is that the guests would find three doorways to choose from. The impression I get from the spiel is that the GH's voice would switch from one speaker to another, over each doorway. It didn't matter which one you picked, because all three had stairways going up to the enclosed cemetery, and that's why they left openings for three entrances in the perimeter walls. These stairways are actually drawn in on some blueprints. I've traced some sketches directly from those, so trust me, you can take these to the bank.

This is obviously the north side exit area. Two of the holes (here in teal) were eventually used, of course. The top one was for the speed ramp rather than this plain staircase, and the right side was eventually used just as it is shown here, becoming the emergency exit on that side. The third one, in the corner, never happened, but the hole in the concrete did not get filled in until the spring of 1969!

The story is much the same on the south side. There was going to be a crypt, a twin to the one on the north side, but instead, what is now the emergency (chicken) exit was made to be flusher with the wall. It's the two staircases that grab our attention. The holes in the wall didn't get filled in until the spring of 1969 either.

The two additional staircases couldn't just pop straight out of the ground like that, of course.
There would have been some appropriate staging for them. Fortunately, they appear in another
blueprint which actually has a few rectangular shapes thrown in, simulating tomb slabs:

For the umpteenth time, here is that Duane Alt sketch that shows what they had in mind. Most of
the time this piece of artwork is printed or displayed, the bottom is cropped, which is a pity, since
it is there that you can see how they planned for some of the crypts at ground level to be open.

Something similar may have been planned for the other side, if it's safe
to squeeze clues out of this Collin Campbell artwork we've seen so
many times before. It probably isn't, but whoever said life was safe?

I imagine the designs would have been based on real-world examples, like this one:

Just as the existing emergency (chicken) exit is based on real-world examples:

The queue in 2000

It is important to understand that these southern holes for additional staircases that never materialized
are below ground level. Above them there was a solid brick wall, probably into early 1969.

The difference between what is and what was being constructed in 1962 can be seen this way:

This photo from Tom, originally belonging to "Cousin Victor," shows in the northern graveyard the hole
 for the speed ramp on the right. Gives you a good idea of where these holes were, vertically as well as
 horizontally. (Just ignore that hole on the left; that's for stuff like heating and air conditioning access.

Another shot of the speed ramp hole:

A shot from the inside, looking up at that same hole:

There is no evidence that the triple exit system ever went past those 1962 blueprints. In fact,
the staircases are all labeled as "future construction," and there doesn't seem to have been any
attempt to sketch out how they would have sprouted from the main exit room beneath the house.

This system just happened to be the latest idea at the time of the concrete pours.


Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Son of "The Sea Captain and the Bride...You Never Knew"


(Caricature of Ken, 1999)

Never fails. You do a major study and publish major results, and the ink is barely dry (or in this case, the electrons are barely cold), and boom, something that should have been in the study is published elsewhere.

Well, I don't really mind. That's where the blog format comes in handy.

Amy Opoka, at the Walt Disney Archives, published at D23's website for Halloween what looks like a complete Ken Anderson script for his famous Ghost House. As a matter of fact, it may be the first one he did.

In addition to the text, Opoka published some storyboard sketches, all but one of which were on display in the exhibit at the Frank Wells building in the fall of 2019 and were put up in the previous post. I've added the one new one (new to us, that is) into that post. It's the captain in bed, with footprints walking around.

We're deeply in Opoka's debt for publishing the script. Alas, it is my solemn duty to point out that the storyboards she selected to put up along with the story as it moves along are not always accurate. She's got a sketch of "Hairy the Arm" (actually he's "Tor" at this point if he's got a name at all) grabbing Priscilla at the window, inserted as if it depicted the Captain attacking Priscilla after she discovers the Horrible Truth, when we know this window scene comes much earlier, even before you enter the building. She's also got the closed-and-locked trunk sketch as if it's what Priscilla discovered in the attic and opened up, but it's actually the trunk after she's locked inside of it by the dastardly Captain.

Those are quibbles. For our purposes, it will serve to simply give the text of the script itself, without all the accompaniment. The story is very simple and sketchy at this point. It's short, and there is no clue as to how Priscilla is murdered.

Scene I — The Picture Gallery

(A group assembles to listen to the tale of "The Haunted House.")

Beauregarde: Welcome to the Old Gore Mansion. I am Beauregarde, the Butler. I have been with the family for many, many years. This was what we called the Picture Gallery. Of course, it's not what it was around 1810, when Captain Bartholomew Gore brought his young bride here to live. This is a portrait of Captain Gore, a wealthy, sea-faring man, and this is Priscilla, his wife. Captain Gore was a brooding man who knew no fear... Given to fits of jealousy and rage. Some say he had an evil eye... "The Devil's eye," they called it. A thing his bride was to learn about later... much to her sorrow!

Scene II — Priscilla in Rocking Chair

Beauregarde: We are now in the hall outside Miss Priscilla's room. Let us try and imagine the terrible thing that happened here over a hundred and fifty years ago. Perhaps Miss Priscilla will come back from the spirit world and tell us about it.

Priscilla: "Bar-thol-o-mew—Bar-thol-o-mew—Where are you, Bartholomew?" It happened the night that Captain Gore was away on a a sea voyage... Or so I thought! I had found an old journal tucked away in his desk... And a curious sort of skeleton key. The journal told of the murderous deeds of Black Bart, the pirate who plundered the Caribbean... The dates and certain incidents aroused my suspicions... I thought of the sea chest in my husband's study... Why was it always locked?... Although I feared my husband's terrible secret!

Scene III —The Captain's Room

Beauregarde: This was the Captain's study. If only Miss Priscilla had not been so curious...

Priscilla: Yes, Beauregarde, I fear my curiosity was greater than my discretion... How well I remember—My hands trembled as I fitted the key into the lock of the chest. Slowly I turned the key, (click) the lock opened... I gasped in horror at the evidence of my husband's true identity, and then... (Gasp!) 

[Priscilla screams]

Scene IV — Hallway (Priscilla's Ghost)

Beauregarde: No one knows what happened to poor Priscilla on that horrifying night—But we're certain of this—She was never seen again—ALIVE, that is!

Priscilla: "Bartholomew, where are you, Bartholomew?"

Scene V — Captain's Bedroom

Beauregarde: After that ghastly night, Captain Gore knew no peace. Every unearthly sound struck terror in his heart. And the last time he was seen on Earth was in this very room!

Priscilla: He would have run away, but there was no place for him to hide... For he knew that I would search for him no matter where he might be... That I would haunt him to the end of this days!...  "Bartholomew, where are you, Bartholomew?"

Scene VI — The Attic Scene

[It starts raining outside.]

Beauregarde: This is called the mystery room, because there is a strange magnetic force that draws you here... As if it had some connection with the mystery of Captain Gore!

[The wind is moaning outside]

Priscilla: "Bartholomew—Bartholomew—"

Beauregarde: Well, that's the end of the story. Some say Priscilla had her revenge—that she drove him mad. Maybe someday we'll know what happened to Captain Bartholomew Gore.

[Thunder crashes] [Obviously, this is where the hanging scene appears—HGB2]

Priscilla: "HA HA HA HA HA..."

Saturday, August 15, 2020

The Sea Captain and the Bride . . . That You Never Knew


The years 2017-2019 brought a flood of new information about Ken Anderson's 1957 plans for the Haunted Mansion (then called the "Ghost House" or "Haunted House"). This new material stems from three events:

First, there was the D23 display in 2017 of a floor plan for the attraction that seemed to pre-date even our oldest known versions of the "Captain Gore and Priscilla" backstory. That one we've covered, but the 2019 material has necessitated a complete revision, so check it out.

Second, Jeremy Marx, friend of Paul Anderson and privy to Ken Anderson's unpublished materials, did a panel presentation for the D23 convention in 2019, "Ken Anderson's Haunted Mansion '57: A year of Horror, Humor, and...Voodoo?" with tons of brand new information. That one we have NOT yet covered, but it was the subject of a MiceAge article, Aug 31, 2019. Judging by the tiny number of comments, the article (and the presentation) did not get nearly the audience it deserves.

Third, Walt Disney Archives put up a window display in the Burbank Frank Wells Building in the fall of 2019 in commemoration of the Mansion's 50th anniversary. Being a rather out-of-the-way venue, it too did not draw the kind of attention it should have. The display included a set of 32 Anderson storyboard sketches for one of his 1957 Haunted House scripts, with captions drawn from a hand-written manuscript page also on display. This stunning new data hasn't been covered here or anywhere else that I'm aware of.  [Edit: updated November 4, 2020.] 

Four Divided by Fourteen Equals Two

It's becoming clear to me that the accounts I and other HM historians have given of Anderson's scripts and backstories are inadequate and out-of-date. We've all been told, for example, that Ken wrote four scripts (although we have also been informed that these included many variants). Marx's presentation in particular shows that this is no longer a useful description. There were at least 14 scripts in total, all written in 1957, many of them unknown to the public until last year.

Wading through all this new material, as well as reviewing the old, has been a little daunting, but I think one good way to organize it is to connect the scripts with the buildings they were intended for. When you do that, you boil it down to essentially two scripts, each with many variants but nevertheless still revolving around a recognizable and distinctive cast of characters.

One story is always about a Sea Captain and his Bride. In most cases the Captain is evil and the Bride is his victim, but it turns out there are many more variations than we ever dreamed. All of them were written between February and April (which is approximately when Ken discovered the Shipley house). One thing the Sea Captain stories appear to have in common is that they all seem to presume this house:

The second story ("Bloodmere Manor") is also familiar and involves a massive gathering of ghosts for a netherworldish wedding in a house with a cursed, haunted past. Despite the best efforts of our hosts, many of these spirits do not want us around, things go badly at the wedding, and we're lucky to get out alive. Again, there are lots of variants, but that's the basic plot line. Anderson's so-called "third" and "fourth" scripts are really just variations of and additions to this second backstory, which goes with this house:

The "Shipley-Lydecker" version

There are incidental gags and utterly non-essential plot elements that they share, but there appears to be zero overlap between the two basic stories represented in the scripts (with one possible exception, which we'll look at). That's why I think we are justified in speaking of essentially two backstories, not four (or fourteen).

In this lengthy post we're going to look at the first story. (The second story will have to wait for its own post.) Here, we'll briefly describe (1) the familiar versions of the Sea Captain tale, then (2) the unfamiliar, and then (3) we'll look at the most recently discovered one: the Anderson storyboards put on display by the Archives in 2019. If successful, I'm hoping the post might serve as a sort of one-stop shopping location for basic data on the Sea Captain tale, the Haunted Mansion's original backstory.

The Many Legends of the Captain and His Bride

Let's begin with the familiar. To date, no actual scripts have been published [Edit: No longer true. Check out the following post], but there are many thumbnail descriptions of the Sea Captain tale out there. For my money, the two best summaries currently available are from Jason Surrell and Jim Korkis. Here's Surrell's:

Ken wrote his first creative treatment in February 1957, setting the attraction inside the seaside manor of an old sea captain, who, according to local legend, disappeared under mysterious circumstances many years earlier. A maid or butler character would lead a group of about forty guests into the house and assemble them on top of a moving platform that would take them down into the basement, where the actual tour would begin. The maid or butler guided the tour, pointing out secret passageways, changing portraits, and inanimate objects that came to life.

The tour began in a Picture Gallery, where another costumed servant met the guests. "Welcome to the old Gore Mansion," he would say. "I am Beauregard the Butler. Of course, it's not what it was around 1810 when Captain Bartholomew Gore brought his young bride here to live." In others drafts, the character was known as Captain Gideon Gorelieu, earning the nickname Captain Gore thanks to his bloodthirsty reputation. As Beauregard gestured to a portrait of Captain Gore, a pair of hairy hands would emerge from hidden panels in the walls and attempt to grab the butler—the first of many illusions and special effects.

In the next room, guests encountered the ghost of Captain Gore's ill-fated bride Priscilla [in a rocking chair, according to Jim Korkis]. Scenes such as these were designed like elaborate department-store window displays, illuminating and animating as guests entered, and fading to black as they moved into the next scene. The tour continued as guests watched Priscilla break into an old treasure chest that belonged to her husband, discovering to her horror that he was actually the notorious pirate, Black Bart. She screamed as the room plunged into pitch darkness. "No one knows what happened to Priscilla," Beauregard continued, "but she was never seen again—alive, that is. And after that ghastly night, Captain Gore knew no peace." It was believed that Captain Gore killed his young bride when she discovered his true identity and bricked her up in a cellar wall somewhere deep within the house. In subsequent drafts, Priscilla's fate differed—in one version the captain locked her body in a sea chest and threw the key down a well; in another he threw her down a well. Either way, Priscilla's spirit tormented him every night until he took his own life by hanging himself from the rafters in the attic.

As guests left the house, they passed by a crumbling old well. Scratched onto a nearby wall was a clue to Mrs. Gore's fate: "Ding dong dell, Priscilla's in the well. Who there her in? The wicked cap-a-tain!"

Guests peering into the well heard an ominous bubbling in the dark water far below as Beauregard the Butler offered a sinister parting thought: "And about the color of the water—maybe it's the reflection of the sun, but by an odd coincidence, it's blood red."
(Surrell, Haunted Mansion, 15 [1st-2nd eds: 17] )   

Comments: The summary twice makes reference to variants in other versions: with regard to the Captain's name and with regard to the mode of Priscilla's murder (three versions thereof), so already we can detect in this summary at least three and as many as five scripts. Another significant variant that Surrell doesn't mention is Priscilla's status at the time. In some versions the two are not yet married, and even among these there are variants. Sometimes she makes her grim discovery on the very day of their wedding. In the Korkis version below she is actually wearing her bridal gown at the time, but in other versions where she is not yet married there is no suggestion that she opens the trunk on their actual wedding day. In still other versions they are already married when she makes the discovery. In one telling Gore builds the house and then goes looking for a wife. In another he builds the house for his young bride. It's impossible to figure out how many scripts we are talking about, since almost any two variants mentioned here could be pointing to two other scripts or to only one which happens to contain both of the variations cited.

Hopefully, Jeremy Marx will some day publish the voluminous Andersonian material in his possession! I look forward to utterly revising this post.

Anderson visualized a conveyance system for moving the group through the attraction practically from the very beginning, but didn't get around to sketching what he had in mind until much later in the year, long after he had moved on to the "Shipley" house and the "Bloodmere" script. In between, and even in the detailed blueprints for the Ghost House drawn up in September, he simply ignored all that and consistently treated the attraction as a guided walk-through!

The second indispensable summary of the story is Korkis's report about what was given to him orally by Ken Anderson himself late in life. Keep in mind that Anderson is in his 80s and reflecting back about 35 years at this point, and he may be conflating different scripts. According to Korkis, the story Ken told him went like this:

"A well-known and feared pirate captain quietly retired to private life in a seaside community, like the famed Captain Henry Morgan. He changed his name and used some of his ill-gotten booty to establish himself as a respected and prosperous man of the community. To make his life even more complete, he chose a lucky 18-year-old to be his bride and bear him many children. The only restriction he gave her was to stay out of the attic of their magnificent mansion."

"Of course, the curious girl couldn't resist, and, on their wedding day before the ceremony, but dressed in her wedding gown, she snuck up into the cluttered attic and found a locked trunk that she forced open. Inside the trunk were souvenirs and documents from the man's previous life as a pirate. Enraged that his secret might be revealed to the community by this foolish girl, he grabbed her, and, in the ensuing fight, tossed her out the window to her death" [my note: this is yet a fourth version of the murder, unless by some lucky shot she landed in the well]....

"The girl's ghost haunted her fiancé so mercilessly that the only way he could find peace was by hanging himself. However, their passions were so intense that their spirits were both bound to the house for all eternity. Their continuing struggle, even after death, attracted other ghosts, including some who came to celebrate a wedding that will never be completed."

Comment: That final item feels awkward and tacked-on to me. Like I said, we may have to do here with an inadvertent mashup of the two basic stories Ken came up with, rather than testimony to the actual content of any one 1957 script. But if not, then this is the only example I am aware of where the two stories intermix.

Legends, Legends, and More Legends...

Now we move into unfamiliar territory. The following are some of the variations in scripts known to Jeremy Marx, as reported in MiceAge, some of which are pretty . . . out there. I'm skipping over technical details of presentation and logistics and concentrating on storyline deviations from the well-known versions summarized above.

Laughing Priscilla: In some scripts, Priscilla (or an unnamed bride) is not a passive victim but sinister and even downright villainous. In one of the first scripts—possibly the very first—we find the basic storyline as summarized by Surrell, except that Pris is the only ghost in the house and is searching around for "Bartholomew," her missing husband. The scene with the terrified captain in bed with his pistols is already there (see the storyboards below). We finally learn his fate via the hanging-man scene found in almost all the scripts (lightning flashes, you look up, etc.). That's in the last scene, and as we leave, we hear Priscilla's maniacal laughter! [This is the script now available; see next post.]

As the MiceAge article points out, this is a darker side of Pris than we're familiar with, and you could argue that it foreshadows Constance. I would add that it foreshadows the "new" Melanie at Phantom Manor even moreso. She now has a slightly sinister side as well, making her exit with a taunting laugh. Hold my beer; I just have to say this:

"Damn, is there anything in the Mansions that does not go back to a Ken Anderson idea?"

But you haven't seen the worst of Pris. Oh no, not by a mile.

Voodoo Priscilla: Already by mid-February, Anderson and associate Bill Cottrell had come up with an entirely new wrinkle for the Sea Captain tale and the Haunted House: Voodoo. In March, they did a lot of research into voodoo and bayou country superstitions and took a lot of notes, some of which have been published:

There's more, but you get the idea. No doubt this well-known artwork stems from this phase:

In the script that eventually emerged from all of this, one of the last in the Sea Captain series, the (unnamed) bride is the villain of the piece. She turns out to be a "voodoo queen" and puts an effigy of some kind on her husband, which drives him to suicide through sheer terror. (Let me guess: he hung himself?) We can safely imagine that ghostly revenge comes into play in this backstory.

If I may digress for a moment, this seems as appropriate a place as any to bring up this illustration. Having learned about the "voodoo" backstory, in which the Captain is murdered, I can't help wondering whether Ken's artwork above may have been partly inspired by this Paul Hardy illustration in The Wide World magazine (Feb 1900, p 471).

They have a lot in common, but it's a pretty obscure journal and a pretty obscure article, with a title that wouldn't exactly pique the curiosity of a ghost lore investigator ("What Happened to the Feather Hunters"). It's not even about voodoo but cannibalism, and the setting is not the American south but the Congo. The safer bet is that Anderson never saw this illustration and the resemblances are coincidental. But before we close the book on it, there's also this: On the left is another illustration from the same article; on the right, an Anderson sketch.

Tor Story:  One gag that comes in very early and stays to the end is the girl at the window being grabbed by a hairy arm, already discussed in our post on the "Oldest Haunted Mansion" floor plan and vividly present in the storyboards below. The grabby fellow makes the leap to the second backstory, "Bloodmere Manor," where he is eventually named "Hairy the Arm," as everyone knows, always trying to grab the guide or the guests via sliding panels and such. At one point, in a very early script, Anderson tried making him a more central character.

The arm belongs to a servant named Tor who has been charged with keeping the bride locked up in the tower while the master (here called "the Commodore") is away. Tor is a bit overzealous and accidentally strangles her as she struggles. Overcome with remorse, he hangs himself. Meanwhile, the Commodore is killed at sea. Now he has to spend eternity begging for his wife's forgiveness, but it's never enough to prevent the endless re-enactment of her tragic death.

This well-known Anderson sketch may be related to the Tor story. Note that there are two figures in the room, a corpse on a bed and a suicide.

It's remarkable that in this version the Captain does not die of suicide but dies at sea and now haunts. Anderson has always gotten credit for the murderous, piratical Sea Captain who hangs himself from the rafters, but it looks like Ken is also the man who gave us the tragically drowned sea captain, the "Mariner," a character carried forward by subsequent Imagineers in one form or another right down to the present.

(Damn, is there anything...etc.)

Anyway, at one point in this script our guide is taken away somehow and the Commodore's own voice tells us to look up. There's the usual lightning flash and hanging corpse (Tor's), and the Commodore says, "Let that be a warning to all unwelcome visitors."

Commodore "Zombie": In this version we're not sure if the bride was murdered or not. She's missing, and the Commodore has locked up the place and spends his entire life searching for her, becoming a zombie in the process. Perhaps this is another exploration of the voodoo theme. The house, meanwhile, is full of ghosts, which the guide must dispatch with a special gun (more on that below).

Hidden Treasure: This story element is not found in the MiceAge report of Marx's presentation or in any written source known to me, but it is present in the storyboards below. Apparently there are rumors of hidden treasure in or around the place, so we see evidence at one point of the house and yard being ransacked by treasure seekers, living and dead, including an unnamed pirate.

Random Stuff: Not a story, but a couple of ideas found in various scripts are worth noting.

(1) In at least one very early script, the guide is not what he seems. There is a graveyard scene outside the window, and Beauregard takes this opportunity to tell guests that he has been with the family for a long time. Bam! Lightning flash (more importantly, black light flash), and we see that the guide is a skeleton (or is a ghost with a visible skeleton within him, like the ghosts in several Anderson sketches). Anderson had already done some research into how to create this effect with black light and Pepper's Ghost, but turning a human figure into a skeleton (or vice versa) with nothing more than clever lighting and Pepper, all within a small-ish space, was probably beyond any realistic possibility in 1957. It is, however, something Imagineers eventually got around to doing, for the Hong Kong, [correction, Shanghai] version of POTC! (Damn, etc.)


(2) A "ghost disintegration gun" appears in versions of both of the basic storylines. In at least some scripts, the guide blasts various ghosts along the way. I have to wonder whether the gun that Yale Gracey and Rolly Crump developed a few years later was inspired by Ken's idea. At one point Rolly and Yale purchased all sorts of ugly prop heads and created platforms and bodies for them. One dummy was made for a special purpose: "Yale set it up so that when he shot it with a prop gun, it would blow apart into a few pieces. We didn't know what we were doing; we were just trying stuff out. But it looked neat, and it was set to reassemble itself to do it all over again."
(Crump and Heimbuch, It's Kind of a Cute Story, 2012, 49)

(3) Speaking of Rolly and Yale, it should be blatantly obvious that the storyline underpinning their celebrated tableau of the drowned sea captain is based directly on material taken from Anderson scripts, involving as it does a captain who murders his wife and walls her up in the fireplace, only to have her spirit come back to haunt him. We've linked it before, but in case you've missed it:

Rolly Crump on the "Sea Captain" Tableau
(from "The Haunted Mansion Story volume one" Extinct Attractions DVD)

Damn, etc.

A New Version of "The Sea Captain and His Bride"

By way of introduction, recall that in 2017 this previously unknown plan for Ken Anderson's "Ghost House" was discovered and created quite a stir, since it represented, arguably, the oldest known complete version of Disneyland's Haunted Mansion.

pic by Jeff Baham

Now we have actual Ken Anderson storyboards for a 1957 Haunted House script, thanks to the Walt Disney Archives. Micechat Threadster "imagineer999" took pictures of the display and was kind enough to share them:

On the right is the 1997-2007 WDW attic bride, including props from the attic. On the left are the storyboards.

In some ways the story we see here is closely related to the old floor plan above, but in others it is not, so it must be regarded as a distinct version of the Sea Captain tale in its own right. Helpfully, "imagineer999" took photos from several angles, and with some careful photoshoppery I've been able combine images and thus eliminate most of the reflected glare from the light fixtures.

A page from Ken's actual, handwritten script was also on display. This one page
contained all the information the Archives needed to caption the entire set of drawings.

It's a rough, informal, working manuscript, and the text was put down in three layers. There are two blocks of large notations in red, near top and bottom. In between is writing in black, with bullet points. Lastly there is smaller black notation obviously added later and often squeezed in between and above lines. The red material is almost as clipped and abrupt as a shopping list and obviously came first. The bullet-pointed material in between (which he deliberately left room for) came second and is much more detailed. The squeezed-in notes were added last, and in at least one instance a line is probably out of place. The following is my transcription.

     Blow-up of old newspaper out front. Gate house ticket booth.
     Characters out of 2nd story windows
    Hand over head of 1st commentator,
     Into hall.
    Sliding panels, heads show, panel closes
   Gallery of paintings, Pirate's changes expression
o Halls, look thrus to exhibits.
    Pirate in bed, ghosts (scrim over) laughing all around.
             Pistol + cutlass at the ready.
    Figure in rocker. Hand out of panel, stops rocking,
    Pirate looks in window, panel slides. Fire in fireplace.
o  No people above 1st floor.
    Ghosts in garden, skeletons up from graves.
    Ransacked room — people looking for hidden treasure.
    Projected, distorted ghost across syclorama.
    Cycle of glowing footprints, back + forth, on floor.
o  Bride discovers he is pirate, refuses to marry him.
    Ghost walks toward us in hall (on boom)
o  Look thru one room into (reduced scale) farther room.
o  Tape recording of story in each new setup.
    Heads thru holes, look into mirror + reflect self.
o  Exterior — Bayou off in distance.
o       Family burial plot.
    Buildup of rain.
    Clock strikes 12 (continuously)
    Next to last — Pirate hangs self in attic Lightning Thunder
    Pirate digging for gold in yard, lantern.                                  pot under bed
   Last Sc. Girl locked in Chest, hair, dress, dialog. Knocks vibrate
     Out thru cellar door or secret exit

From this the Archive created numbered captions for the sketches, and our numbering will follow suit. Unfortunately, Anderson's text is not transcribed accurately in many of the Archive's captions. I have supplied photos of those captions and noted corrections as needed.

I am taking the liberty of making one emendation to Anderson's text, at this point:

    Ghosts in garden, skeletons up from graves.
    Ransacked room — people looking for hidden treasure.
    Projected, distorted ghost across syclorama.
    Cycle of glowing footprints, back + forth, on floor.

We have (1) a graveyard cyclorama scene, (2) a ransacked room scene, (3) a ghost in a syclorama [sic!], and (4) a ghost pacing around a room. In other words, cyclorama—room—cyclorama—room. That can't be right. I think Anderson inadvertantly squeezed the "ransacked room" line in between the wrong lines. It should be:

    Ghosts in garden, skeletons up from graves.
    Projected, distorted ghost across syclorama.
    Ransacked room — people looking for hidden treasure.
    Cycle of glowing footprints, back + forth, on floor.

Note that sometimes there are multiple sketches under each number and other times no sketches at all. The drawings were numbered as well. I've removed most of these distracting numerals via photoshop, but I have left some of them in so you can see what they looked like. It should be kept in mind that none of these numbers are in the manuscript, nor are they on the sketches themselves, only superimposed as part of the display. That's significant, because the numbers are not always reliable, and there are a few cases where the drawings and captions seem mismatched.

Enough! Let's Do This Thing...


(Anderson's text is in the singular: "Blow-up of old newspaper out front.")

In the later, "Bloodmere Manor" script, we read that at the gatehouse we see "copies of the Times Picayune and Leslie's Magazine" posted conspicuously, with scary headlines about grisly atrocities associated with the house. We can see here how directly this item was carried over from the Sea Captain scripts, right down to picayune details, you might say.

Unsettling rumors about Captain Gorelieu's past play an important part in the story, since they feed poor Priscilla's fatal curiosity. No doubt this old newspaper clipping helped establish that plot element.

This Andersonian show device has been used over and over; for example, in the Jungle Cruise and Tower of Terror queues, or better still, in the Indiana Jones queue, where guests have ample opportunity while waiting in line to see old periodicals and notices (even a newsreel) providing helpful background info, allowing them to immerse themselves in the historical situation of the adventure they are about to enter. 

The gatehouse doubled as the ticket booth, of course.

1962 blueprints for the Haunted Mansion sometimes expected a ticket
booth as part of the gate, so this is not just a relic of the older house design.

(If you're too young to remember them, here's a typical ticket booth,
which happened to have been very near the Mansion back in the day):

The next sketch we've seen before, posted online by in 2015 (and I'm using that one since it's better copy). Now we learn that the D23 sketch was part of a full storyboard set. It proves that the story which unfolds was intended for the older building design. In other words, Ken has not yet moved on to the "Shipley-Lydecker" house, which of course became the basis for the Mansion that was actually built.

Incidentally, for some reason there hasn't been much interest in trying to track down a possible inspiration for the design of this version. For what it's worth, I suspect that the haunted house in the "Lonesome Ghosts" Mickey Mouse short may have made at least a partial contribution, as there are one or two architectural elements in common:

That house in turn may owe a small debt to the Charles A. Orleans mansion in New Orleans. An 1898 photo:

Ah yes, the window gag, another one preserved in Bloodmere. Thanks to the old layout sketch, we already knew that this too was a carry-over from the Captain.

You will recall that a Dick Irvine sketch of the gag survives...

...but now we have it from Ken's own hand:

Inside, a hand tries to grab your host. As we have seen, this gag is also mentioned in summaries of the Gore Legend, so we knew it was scripted in at some point, but we do not find it in the old layout sketch. (Note that in the Surrell summary, this is explicitly the second guide, not the first.)

And like we said, the gag carried over to Bloodmere ("Hairy the Arm"). 

This note is secondarily added in the manuscript and is puzzling, since the only thing that has happened indoors so far is the grabby hand gag. There is no sketch associated with #4, either. The vitally important presentation of the Captain and Bride portraits is still to come, so why is the group now leaving the first room and going into the hall? It's hard to avoid such an interpretation, since the next sketch is actually labeled "HALLWAY." To add to the confusion, after the Portrait Gallery, a second reference is made to the "halls" and "exhibits". My guess is that the red notes in the upper part of the manuscript were less concerned with sequencing than with simply getting down on paper effects Ken wanted to be sure to include.


(The text reads, "panel closes," not "panels close.")

You have to wonder if some of this rubbed off on Marc Davis:

Just like the "Hairy the Arm" gag, for that matter:


(Text: "paintings," not "paints.") In the usual summaries, the butler/maid shows us a portrait of either the Captain alone or the couple. The guide then tells the sad, sad story (between attacks from grabby hands). In the new storyboard set, portraits of both the Bride and the Captain are displayed. They are two separate paintings, and they are changing portraits.

In one very early script, the guide mentions that the Captain has an "evil eye," and as the
portrait changes we see what the guide means. Does this sketch assume that story element?

It's not possible to say which of these concepts, if any, are reflected in the old layout sketch:

The text says,"Halls, look thrus to exhibits." That is, the halls would have "look-through's" by which guests view the exhibits, probably referring to the "department store window" format of the tableaux, lighting up and then going dark. In the old layout sketch, there's a good, empty spot for this guy immediately to the left after leaving the Portrait Gallery.

We now have a context for this well-known Anderson concept sketch:



In the text, "pistol" is singular, leading me to suppose that Anderson may have imagined the pirate holding a pistol in one hand and a cutlass in the other, but in all the known artwork he has two pistols.

As we saw in our original discussion of the old layout sketch, many of the ghostly
apparitions planned for this tableau were condensed by Ken into a single concept sketch:

(You know, I'd always wondered exactly what those things in his hands were. Now I know.)

Edit: In a D23 website post for Oct 28, 2020, Amy Opoka of Walt Disney Archives published many of the storyboard sketches seen here along with an early Anderson script. (See the next post.) One of the sketches, however, was not among those on display at the 2019 Burbank exhibit. It confirms our hunch about the above painting, that it is really a montage of the various effects Anderson planned for this tableau:

This is a departure from the order seen in the old layout, where this scene is placed much later in the show. That probably reflects a variant in the storyline. In at least one known version, the ghost of Priscilla torments the Captain in his bedroom (and he shoots right through her!). In such a case, it obviously makes sense to put this scene somewhere after her murder, as in the old layout.

Note that in the earliest known script, there is only one ghost in the house: Priscilla's. The depiction in the old layout could be a bedroom scene in which Gore shoots at her ghost, not long after murdering her. These storyboards must therefore reflect a later version, with numerous ghosts added to the plot.

This was going to be a very ambitious tableau, with lots of ghosts who have nothing to do with the Bride haunting the Captain. It would appear that other pirates killed by the Captain now want their revenge. As we will see, there are reasons to think that at least some of them are seeking to recover hidden treasure he presumably stole from them (or do they simply wish to expose it and thereby expose him to the living as the pirate he was?).

It's just possible that Anderson was here taking a page from the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose. We know he took a lot of notes during his visit there in March of '57, and for the most part he only seemed interested in the logistics of moving groups of people through a house rather than in ghost story ideas. However, part of the Winchester legend is that Sarah Winchester was terrified of the avenging spirits of those who had been killed by Winchester rifles and sought to appease them. Similarly, one supposes, the spirits of the victims of the Captain's piratical cruelties might be the apparitions depicted in this tableau.

For his second tableau, after the Portrait Gallery, Anderson couldn't decide whether to put the ghost of Priscilla or the Captain in a rocking chair. We have artwork for Priscilla . . .

. . . but both the old layout and the storyboards go with the Captain, showing him studying a manuscript (and of course with the storyboards it's the third room, not second). Note how the text simply says, "Figure in rocker."

We still don't know exactly what it is he is reading. I still think it's a treasure map.

There is no sketch to go with this, so we don't know what is supposed to happen here. The old layout does mention a "face at window." If my theory is right, pirate-ghosts want to see where his treasure is hidden.

Here is a hint that Ken may have been planning a multi-story interior, but again, we have no sketch to shed light on this cryptic instruction.

Apparently we get a look out of a window at this point. The graveyard scene is reminiscent of the one Ken will use for his Headless Horseman cyclorama in the later floor plans, which also features ghostly forms with skeletons visible within them.

One of the ghosts is singled out. If our analysis below is correct, there may be one particular ghost-pirate enemy of the Captain's (among those depicted in #8?) who still wants to find his hidden treasure.

It's "treasure," not "creature." Unfortunately, there's no sketch, and nothing corresponds to this in any known Anderson artwork or Haunted House plans, written or drawn. (This is the line Anderson seems to have squeezed in between the wrong lines.)

Apparently a ghost is also searching the room. Note that in Ken's catch-all, "pirate in bed" concept sketch, one of the ghost-pirate enemies terrorizing the Captain is a "footprint" ghost.

If our reading of the evidence is correct, then it seems Anderson has once again come up with an idea with real legs. The whole Jean Lafitte backstory for New Orleans Square, most impressively elaborated by Eddie Sotto but going back in some ways to the origin of Disneyland itself, involves smuggling, piracy, and hidden treasure as essential story elements, but also ghosts. When we see ghosts and skeletons at Pirate's Lair on Tom Sawyer Island looking for and hanging onto lost loot, or ghostly treasure appearing and disappearing, are we seeing later developments from Ken's ideas here about pirate-ghosts still searching for lost treasure?

Okay, NOW we're getting somewhere! It's great to finally have Anderson artwork depicting this famous scene from his original backstory, even if it's only quick sketch work. Note that in the layout she is already the Captain's "wife," whereas here she "refuses to marry him." She doesn't seem to be wearing a wedding gown, and there's nothing to indicate this is happening on their wedding day.

"Oh crap."

The text says, "on boom," not "on broom" (referring to the method of suspending the figure). This probably corresponds to the "ghost of wife" on the old layout, following the bedroom scene in that version. In other words, this crude storyboard sketch...

. . . is the equivalent of this . . .

. . . which is the equivalent of this:

Note the diagram at the bottom. To carry off this Pepper's Ghost effect, the ghostly bride would
indeed have to be "on a boom" or something like it, in order to hold her up and out of sight.

The text says, "Look through one room into (reduced scale) farther room." Is the reference to a forced-perspective illusion? The old layout sketch has a long, tapering room with a window and a graveyard scene at the end (not a "farther room," as here).



(Text: "look into mirror," not "looks into mirror.")
Forgottenistas, you're on your own with some of these.

This would seem to correspond to the big cyclorama in the layout sketch, where there is a "Bayou and Ghost Ship," not to mention the even more ambitious cyclorama in the Headless Horseman scene of the later blueprints.



This looks a lot like the "Salon" in the later blueprints, where the Headless
Horseman is seen, or does this go with the graveyard scene in #13?

We are reminded that the Haunted Clock is another Anderson idea that everyone liked. There are Crump, Atencio, and Davis versions of it.

Ken hasn't yet put a ghost inside the clock. That'll come later:

Another sketch previously published by D23. Here the room is octagonal, like the eventual attraction, not like the one in the old layout sketch.

There were several errors in the Archives display at this point. First of all, the sketch attached to caption #27 is clearly out of position and should go before this one. Secondly, the phrase "put under bed" in the caption of #27 is a secondary addition to the text and actually goes with this sketch in the manuscript, and it reads "pot under bed," referring to the chamber pot, which you can see in the drawing...

. . . but you can see it more clearly in Anderson's finished sketch of the scene:

Did Anderson want the chamber pot there merely as a bit of
bathroom humor, or did it have a part to play in the script?


Like I said, the sketch marked #27 does not match the caption and it would fit more logically before the previous sketch. It looks like the Captain is being tempted or coerced into suicide.

As for the caption, since the Captain has just offed himself, you have to wonder who the pirate digging up the yard is. His ghost? Another pirate? More specifically, a pirate-ghost enemy of the Captain's, such as those we met in his bedroom and perhaps have already seen peering into windows (#10) and searching for treasure inside the house (#14, #16)? Alas, nothing known to me in the Anderson material currently available helps to explain this caption.

Both the layout and these storyboards presuppose the same method of murdering Priscilla: locking her in a trunk, as opposed to bricking her up or throwing her out the window or down a well. Note that the layout sketch puts the trunk in the cellar (not attic). The caption here doesn't say where it is, but in view of the next caption, a cellar setting is clearly in mind.

Matches the layout perfectly:

But sketch #29 does not. In fact, it doesn't look like a cellar at all! In light of the clear mix ups we have already seen, and recognizing that none of the material is actually numbered, we are probably justified in moving sketches around as needed so as to create a more convincing match at certain difficult points in the storyboarding.

It does look a lot like this sketch, and they do seem to reflect the first room better than the last.

Sooner or later we'll be off to Bloodmere Manor, so . . . hurrry baaack.