Sunday, March 26, 2006

I would have kept it too...

This week we are going to take a look at an incarnation of the mansion, which, while not horrible, was no where near as popular as one you could find in any Disney theme park. I am, of course, talking about the Walt Disney Pictures 2003 edition of our Haunted Home.

I can personally say that out of the entire movie, perhaps my favorite parts would be the lavish sets, the illustrious score and some of the most amazing character makeup's created by Rick Baker. However, one thing that brought down the movie for me, as well as many people was the storyline. Most of the storyline had some visible plot but it was really lacking and after various script re-writes and deleted scenes, the story began to develop plot holes.

In the first revised draft script for the movie written 7/19/02, David Barenbaum told a version of the story where the Hitch-hikers and Leota were more involved and it was a "buddy picture." In the end of the story, after the curse was lifted and many of the characters were set free and could ascend to heaven, Edward Gracey gave the deed to the mansion and grounds to the Ever's Family. So far, this is how the movie that we all saw ended. In the alternate script however, the Ever's Family did not go on a long car ride with Leota and the Singing Busts out of Louisiana, but kept the mansion! The end of the movie involved a comical scene where Leota and Jim were in the mansions kitchen, preparing a birthday cake for Michael Evers.

What is more interesting though, is that even though this was in the first revised draft of the script, the set decorators prepared to show us that the Ever's did keep the mansion. The large "G" that adorned the top of the gates was replaced with an "E." Why it is that we never saw this is beyond me. But I can honestly say, if I was given the deed to that mansion, I would have kept it too!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

A Ghostly Ordeal for our pal Emile

Upon entering the Disneyland Haunted Mansion foyer, you might notice that, while ornate, it lacks some form of visual entertainment like that of its successors with changing portraits or mirrors where brides appear and disappear. However, it would be an insult to just chalk it up as "plain." The foyer hosts quite a few interesting pieces. For instance, the large mirrors, the beautiful wainscoting, the candle sconces and the massive, spiderweb covered chandelier.

This week, we look at the man who made these fixtures possible and we also link the Disneyland Haunted Mansion to Town Square, much of Disneyland and Walt Disney World, and also again to the movie, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Emile Kuri was mostly known for being a set decorator for Walt Disney Studios for nearly 40 years. He had eight Oscar nominations and won two Academy Awards, one of which was for his set decoration on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Kuri was soon named the head of the studio decorating department and oversaw not only movie set decorations, but also the numerous decorations within the parks themselves. His work was so popular that he was chosen by Walt Disney himself to decorate his private apartment above the fire station in Town Square.

Emile's work could also be seen in the various shops on Main Street, in the Carousel of Progress theatre and Pirates of the Caribbean to name a few.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Exhumed and Relocated

Originally I had planned this blog to be a bi-weekly updated one. Then I understood that most people don't want to wait that long, especially if its something they are interested in. So, with that said, I am now going to update each Sunday. So without further delay...

In the beginning days of the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland, there was a cemetery that featured stones, some of the same that currently appear at Disney World. However, this cemetery was smaller and had fewer stones. Throughout the years, with the growing popularity of the mansion, the cemetery was altered and even relocated a few times to accommodate the growing queue line near the side of the house. Some Imagineers got to keep their tombstones as little mementoes. Others however either got destroyed due to the constant weathering of materials, taken home by workers or who knows what else. However, we know that one survived.

Most of you know that Imagineers such as Marc Davis, X. Atencio, Claude Coates and others had, and still have tombstones at the Haunted Mansion. But did you know that Rolly Crump, co-designer of effects and creator of the Museum of the Weird had one? Like many of the names on the tombstones, they are somehow altered plays on the Imagineers names. In this case, his was altered to Rolo Rumkin. This name as you know is also a name for one of the singing busts.

The tombstone itself is now located inside of the Graveyard at the Disneyland mansion. Right after the singing busts, the doombuggies turn towards the king and queen on the teeter-totter and also the duke and duchess at the table having tea. On the right hand side of the track, hidden in the shadows, is the Rolo Rumkin tombstone. One way to notice it is the fact that it is shaped like no other tombstone in the graveyard. Below are pictures of the tombstone blueprint, the approximate location within the scene, and also a picture of the tombstone, again graciously provided by that master photographer, bpgstudios.

The tombstone reads:

Rolo Rumkin

Lived and Died,

A friendly bumpkin

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Far from Main Street?

Far from Main Street? Need a place to hitch your invisible horse? Look no farther than the Disney World attic. Back behind a popup is a well hidden horse hitch, the same as those used on main street. Take a gander.

Both pictures are of the same horse. Due to flash levels and the distance from the horse to where the doombuggy was, it appears they are different colors. The second, much better photo of the hitch was graciously provided by bpgstudios.
To find the horse hitch, once you enter to Disney World attic, look to the right. It is behind the first popup. Due to attraction lighting levels, it may be a little hard to see.

Noble Beginnings

Greetings Mansion Fans!

I am the Ghost Relations Dept. For many years I have spent countless hours studying the mansion's various aspects. I feel that it is now better that I share my knowledge with mansion fans worldwide than to keep it all bottled up.

For those who read any of the (hopefully) interesting comments on this blog, please understand that the information provided here is far from complete. It would take many years to cover it all.

Lastly, when visiting the Haunted Mansion's worldwide, please show respect for other guests, the attraction itself, and most importantly, the many castmembers who help provide the magic every day.

If you might have some interesting facts or interesting tidbits, or just want to say Hi and tell me what you think, feel free to e-mail or send me an instant message, both of which can be found in my profile.

Thank You,

-Ghost Relations Dept.