Today we explore the history and Real Origins of the Haunted Mansion! be sure to watch part one here; https://youtu.be/0oxLPdwbDC4
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Last week we left off wondering where did Walt’s attention go to?
Well, it was the 1960’s and the New York’s World’s Fair was about to begin. As we know, Walt was really interested in creating pavilions for the fair, so he put many of his projects on hold so that Imagineers could focus on creating new attractions for the World’s Fair. The came up with “Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln”, it’s a small world, Carrousel of Progress and Ford’s Magic Skyway for which they came up with the new omnimover system that would be really important for the development of the Haunted Mansion later on.
With the project put on hold again, the mansion sat empty for the next few years.
Of course, with the mansion empty, guests started to ask questions. The only clue as to what guests might find inside was a sign stating that Disneyland’s Ghost Relations Department was currently accepting applications from ghosts wishing to enjoy “active retirement in a country club atmosphere” described as “happy haunting grounds.” And that wasn’t enough to satisfy guests’ curiosity. So naturally, the rumors started.
Some people said the ride DID open for some time, but that it was so scary that a man had actually had a heart attack so they had to close it down.
Another rumor stated that one guest allegedly fell out of the attraction and into a snake pit so of course this also resulting in the closing of the attraction.
The last rumor said that the closed attraction was actually Walt’s home inside the park.
Of course, none of this was true but guests continued wondering about the empty mansion for the next few years.
When Imagineers finished working on the World’s Fair pavilions they were completely invigorated and excited to continue working on the Haunted Mansion.
One of this Imagineers was Rolly Crump.
Rolly had been working on the Mansion for some time and he was developing illusions for the animatronics with Yale Gracey. But he was also working in something else…
Here’s Sam from Expedition Theme Park to tell us more about this.
So Rolly Crump and Yale Gracy were again assigned to work in the Haunted Mansion. But Crump wasn’t very taken aback by the sketches and approaches that other artists had gone with at the time so he thought that he needed to take it to the next level. He started working in new sketches that were inspired in two films he had watched recently. One of these movies was Jean Cacteau’s Beauty and the Beast film that was made in 1946. Crump was pretty impressed with the human arms in the hallways and the human heads near the fireplace and he thought it would be cool to add architecture created out of human parts inside the mansion. That’s how he came up with “the candle man” which was a man with his hands up in the air, with his fingers on fire. He also created sketches for a gyspy wagon that came to life, man eating plants and a seance room. The sketches were turned into little sculptures and Rolly was ready to present this to Walt.
The other Imagineers weren’t sure about adding Rolly’s stuff into the presentation because they considered that it was just too weird. They even told Rolly that Walt would never go for it but Rolly didn’t mind, he said he was just having some fun and it didn’t matter if his sketches didn’t end up being part of the Mansion.
So imagineers continued working to put together this presentation for Walt.
The day of the presentation came and they were ready. The room where the presentation was made had a very long table with Claude Coats stuff on the right, Marc Davis’s presentation in front and the architect’s on the left. But where was Rolly’s stuff? Well, they put it all in the corner of the room just behind Walt.