WED Enterprises public relations manager Frank Allnutt wrote this synopsis of the Haunted Mansion "Audio-Animatronics Adventure" in April of 1969. It details each scene as it was to appear in the finished attraction (note the inclusion of the Hatbox Ghost!), and became a major source for the script of the "Story and Song from the Haunted Mansion" record album.
The HAUNTED MANSION: An Audio-Animatronics Adventure
Disneyland - Summer 1969
Disneyland's latest census shows that 999 happy ghosts from creepy old crypts all over the world have taken post-lifetime leases in the "Haunted Mansion" in Frontierland to enjoy active retirement in this country club atmosphere -- but there is room for an even thousand!
"Volunteers" for permanent residency will be sought among mortal visitors who will dare to enter the portals of this new haunt for old haunters when it opens in late summer 1969. "Final arrangements" may be made after a tour of the mansion.
The sometimes humorous, sometimes scary residents of Disneyland's new phantom phantasy take ghoulish pleasure in scaring the daylights out of unwary visitors.
Design of the Haunted Mansion adventure began more than a decade ago at WED Enterprises, Inc, the architectural, engineering, research and development subsidiary of Walt Disney Productions.
Ghosts, demons, and other apparitions will be captured in various states of "materialization" by the WED-developed "Audio-Animatronics" system of three-dimensional animation.
COWARD'S WAY OUT
The spooking starts in a doorless Ghostly Gallery as walls begin to stretch. Thunder crashes, lights go out and lightning tears the roof away, revealing a swaying form hanging from the bare rafters. He took the "coward's way out."
Seeking a more lively escape, mortals follow the ghoulish voice of the coward's spirit -- an invisible "Ghost Host," who guides guests throughout the spooky mansion. A dastardly black raven -- a foil to the "Ghost Host" -- appears from time to time during the adventure.
Visitors walk through a Corridor of Haunted Portraits which deteriorates into a labyrinth of giant cobwebs. Here, they board continuously-moving, two-passenger, carriages of the Omnimover, a WEDway Transportation System, and embark upon a "trip" into the supernatural abode of spirits.
Rattling chains and running footsteps in an Endless Hallway betray the presence of unseen ghosts. Carriages travel deeper into the mansion, smoothly pivoting from side to side to permit easy viewing. A long-forgotten Creepy Conservatory is entered, where a restless relic attempts to free himself from a dusty coffin.
Through a Hallway of Demonized Doors, the "Ghost Host" guides visitors to a Weird Seance, which is conducted by a disembodied medium -- a mere talking head inside a misty, crystal ball.
Now-wary visitors enter the mansion's grand hall, where transparent spooks have "materialized" in various forms, and are having a wail of a good time, at a simply Bewitching Birthday Party.
At a long dining table, the "ghost of honor" blows out candles on a birthday cake, and also blows away some ghostly celebrators. Overhead, some frolicking spirits perch, precariously, on a huge chandelier which hangs directly above the party table.
Wispy "banshees" waft in through large windows, while below, at an open doorway, some Dickensesque ghosts "materialize" from a horse-drawn hearse.
Other spry haunters are waltzing, spiritedly, to a ghostly organ recital.
The "Ghost Host" takes carriage-borne visitors into The Attic, where they come face-to-face with a ghostly bride whose strangely illuminated heart glows with each loud rhythmic beat. Ghoulish demons jump out of shadows to scare passing visitors.
The evil, grinning face of a cloaked figure disappears from the body, and reappears, glowing hideously, in a hat-box.
HAPPY HAUNTING GROUND
Mortal visitors escape "outside" the mansion, only to suddenly "fall" backwards off the roof. They descend past grasping, demon trees, then find a terrified night watchman and his dog, standing, frozen with fright, at the gates of a misty cemetery. Once a grave place, the spooks now claim it as their playground and private park.
Ghosts from many different periods in history are gathered in this Happy Haunting Ground for socializing and just plain ghostly comradery. Some find ghoulish pleasure in popping-up from behind gravestones to scare passers-by.
Cadaverous midi-evil minstrels play musical instruments and sing the spooky "Haunted Mansion" theme.
A King and Queen regally balance a teeter-footer on a gravestone and a Duchess staidly sips a cup of tea while gently swaying on a swing. Across the way, a row of singing marble busts harmonize their version of the song.
Dickensesque personalities gather around a hearse that is mired in the mud. The coffin has slipped out onto the ground and a shrouded corpse sits up in the box, enjoying a cup of tea with his ghostly friends. Behind them, up on a grassy knoll, diaphanous haunts ride bicycles around gravestones.
Near some recently-vacated crypts, a hulking, masked executioner sings with his victim, a decapitated knight, who holds his singing, severed head in an extended hand. A hairy little prisoner, still fettered with his ball and chain, joins in with funny little noises, while an operatic couple sing obbligato to the theme song.
A resurrected Egyptian mummy, sitting in an open sarcophagus, and a venerable, bearded oracle of the Renaissance period complete the graveyard soiree.
Carriages move inside a huge crypt, where their mortal. occupants are joined by some uninvited, ghostly hitch-hikers.
Spooked visitors quickly disembark, and escape from the supernatural happening. They exit through the neat, well tended burying plot of the Haunted Mansion, and disperse throughout Frontierland.
April 8, 1969
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