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.


Friday, June 30, 2023

Crump and Davis: Lost Artwork and Long-Forgotten Collaborations

There's a dandy piece of unpublished Marc Davis HM artwork that I've had locked in my files forever because I have not been at liberty to show it. However, I got a second copy of it recently with permission from the owner to post it, so AT LAST y'all will see a wonderful changing portrait concept from the master himself.

It's been around since the end of 1964 at least. You can see it in the background of the "Tencenniel" program aired in January of 1965 in anticipation of DL's tenth anniversary.

It's the "Great White Hunter" character. Apparently, Marc wanted to do a lot with this guy. He would have been a prominent denizen of the "Ghost Club Room," where a retired sportsman like the GWH could relax and enjoy his afterlife. We've all seen this artwork a gazillion times...

For the gags that Marc had in mind involving the tiger rug, see the sketches HERE. Anyway, what I want to draw your attention to today is the picture over the mantelpiece.

Before it was going to be a tiger, it was a rhino. Here's another unpublished sketch:

This might have been a concept sketch for a TALKING portrait rather than a changing portrait. Who knows where Marc wanted to take this gag. It's fun, knowing he created a character and had a number of different ideas about how to use him and how much. It turns out that the one well-known concept sketch of the tiger rug chomping on his butt was only the tip of the iceberg.

Notice the picture frame in both of the above sketches. It's composed of slain animals in a sort of Gaston-ish decoration. It reminds me of this concept sketch from the dearly departed Rolly Crump.

This is Museum of the Weird stuff, of course, but I have to wonder if Marc was inspired by Rolly or Rolly was inspired by Marc here, or if the resemblance is purely coincidental. (Note too Marc's water buffalo horns and Rolly's giant wings.) The "living doorframe" concept became a maquette at one point, by the way. See it behind the Coffin Clock maquette?

Rolly and Marc worked together on the Tiki Room, as we all know (scroll down to Point 5), and we've talked before about the strange chemistry between two very dissimilar artists who nevertheless seemed to borrow ideas from each other. I like to think that it was Marc who got ideas for his macabre, pitiless (or PETA-less) picture frame in part from Rolly's surrealistic doorframe.

I like to think so, because it means we can turn around and find an example of Rolly borrowing from Marc, in ANOTHER unpublished artwork. Well, technically not "unpublished," but unnoticed and unexplored. It's a full-sized, grayish-blue tombstone maquette over in Rolly's corner of the workshop and so probably a design of his. You can see it in at least three photos:

Walt and Julie Reihm

Walt, Julie, and Harriet Burns

Walt, Julie, and John Hench

Two of the photos are not too horrible, and they are at slightly different angles, which means you can create a "magic eye" 3-D version if you twiddle and fiddle with the photos until they line up, plus some other adjustments. It's not exactly View-Master quality, folks, but it works.

Is the skull wearing a conical hat? Or no, and is that a handle on the right? (The 3-D helps here. It looks to me like the lighter-colored bar is out a bit from the background.) In other words, perhaps it's not a hat but rather a hatchet. More of a tomahawk design, actually. Is Rolly borrowing an idea from a Marc Davis concept artwork directly across the room? It's fun to think so, even if the evidence is not clear enough to be sure.

In One Year and Out the Other

Brandon Hardy has solved a minor mystery. The so-called "Rolly Chair" that was added to the Séance Circle during the "Enhauntsments" of 2021 turns out to be an off-the-shelf item: A Deangelis Rattan wicker chair. See HERE. But around here if you oust one mystery, another moves in. Why has the chair been removed? At least as of now, it isn't there. Didn't come back after the HMH overlay this last winter. No one knows why. Maybe the owner of the chair's design went harrumph and the Disney lawyers up and panicked?

No such speculations can help us with the Bat Cage mystery, however. It showed up next to the Endless Hallway after the most recent HMH overlay, but just as mysteriously it disappeared after only a brief tenure. You might say it was removed in just the bat of an eye.

Jeff Baham