Tales from some Grim Grinning Ghosts

Everybody who’s ever been to Disneyland or Walt Disney World has a favorite attraction. Mine has always been and will probably always be the Haunted Mansion.

Like the geek I am, I’ve always been interested in the origins of the Mansion, both in terms of its special effects and whatever sources were influences to its designers. I covered most of the FX in two articles I wrote for Storyboard Magazine way back in 1989 (under my real first name, Howard).

Specific influences, however, have been harder to confirm. I guessed years ago that the Hallway of Doors was based on a scene in Robert Wise’s 1960 film, The Haunting. Just this year, one of the Mansion’s designers admitted they studied The Haunting for ideas.

Now I’ve stumbled upon a couple of other possible influences, these from the ’50s, that I never would have guessed. But they make perfect sense, especially to Imagineers who had been pimply-faced comic readers a few years before.

You be the judge:

Madam Leota’s seance:

The caretaker at the graveyard:

Were these the inspirations for the Hitchhiking Ghosts and their mirror alcoves?

The Ghost Host (note the elongated angle and the portraits on each side):

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2 thoughts on “Tales from some Grim Grinning Ghosts

  1. Nice post! If you are really interested in exploring the artistic, historical, and cultural roots of various aspects of the Haunted Mansion, we started a thread dedicated to exactly such topics over at MiceChat a few years ago, and it's grown to well over 10 thousand posts (no lie!). Here are a few posts dealing with specific inspirations for specific items at the HM:

    http://micechat.com/forums/disneyland-resort/56224-long-forgotten-haunted-mansion-effect-131.html#post1977523

    http://micechat.com/forums/disneyland-resort/72609-son-long-forgotten-haunted-mansion-effect-thread-2-a.html#post2000161

    http://micechat.com/forums/disneyland-resort/110176-long-forgotten-haunted-mansion-effect-episode-4-new-hope-125.html#post1055419548

    http://micechat.com/forums/disneyland-resort/110176-long-forgotten-haunted-mansion-effect-episode-4-new-hope-21.html#post3447245

    http://micechat.com/forums/disneyland-resort/110176-long-forgotten-haunted-mansion-effect-episode-4-new-hope-21.html#post3447773

    http://micechat.com/forums/disneyland-resort/110176-long-forgotten-haunted-mansion-effect-episode-4-new-hope-49.html#post3519212

    http://micechat.com/forums/disneyland-resort/110176-long-forgotten-haunted-mansion-effect-episode-4-new-hope-50.html#post3522181

    http://micechat.com/forums/disneyland-resort/110176-long-forgotten-haunted-mansion-effect-episode-4-new-hope-66.html#post1055297273

    http://micechat.com/forums/disneyland-resort/56224-long-forgotten-haunted-mansion-effect-82.html#post1776280

    http://micechat.com/forums/disneyland-resort/125031-long-forgotten-haunted-mansion-effect-part-6-prequel-time-unrelenting-28.html#post1055643378

    http://micechat.com/forums/disneyland-resort/119790-long-forgotten-haunted-mansion-effect-vs-army-darkness-thread-5-a-95.html#post1055545437

    Like

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