Foolish Mortals are Talking

haunted mansion book

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"The Unauthorized Story of Walt Disney's Haunted Mansion"

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The Haunted Mansion has three official story records: one is "The Story and Song from the Haunted Mansion," an LP featuring a pre-Happy-Days Ronny Howard; then there is a shorter children's record titled "Walt Disney Presents the Haunted Mansion," one of Disney's many "See, Hear, Read" records narrated by Robie Lester, a popular narrator for many of Disney's childrens albums. The third Haunted Mansion story album is the B-side of "Trick or Treat," a Disneyland Record starring Donald Duck, his nephews, and Witch Hazel, with the original "Story and Song" recording edited down to fit completely on the B-side of this 12" LP. The following transcript is from the first in the list: the original 12" story LP. You can also see the storybook insert from this album here.

The Story and Song from the Haunted Mansion (transcript)

Disneyland Records STER-3947 (also available in mono)
Copyright 1969 Walt Disney Productions
Album illustrations by Collin Campbell
"Grim Grinning Ghosts (The Screaming Song)" by F. Xavier Atencio/Buddy Baker

Mike: Ronny Howard
Karen: Robie Lester
Madame Leota: Eleanor Audley
Ghost Host: Pete Renoudet
Narrator: Thurl Ravenscroft


<The Haunted Mansion theme plays slowly, ominously; single deep pipe organ notes and tolling bells resonate from somewhere nearby as a single stray cat screetches mournfully in the distance in the howling wind...>

Narrator: Have you ever seen a haunted house? You know the kind I mean. That old, dark house that's usually at the end of a dimly lit street. The owners haven't been seen for years; no one really knows why. The windows are broken and boarded, and the shutters hang loose on their hinges. The trees have grown wild; their branches brush against the sides of the weathering house, making strange noises in the night. There's a high, vine-covered fence around the property... is it there to keep somebody out? Or is it there to keep some... THING inside? It's a house that people avoid walking past at night. Strange sounds come from within the walls, and it's said that eerie lights have been seen both in the attic windows, and in the graveyard at the side of the house. Our story revolves around this mysterious mansion. One night, not long ago, two teenagers were walking home from a date. The night was cool, and lightning broke through the sky. The wind began to blow, and the lightning cracked again. Thunder rolled across the heavens and changed this pleasant evening into a night to be remembered. Karen held Mike's hand tightly as they began to walk faster down that dark street. The lightning struck again and illuminated the front of the old mansion. It began to rain. Mike and Karen ran toward the old house, through the old iron gate, and onto the porch for protection. Protection? If only they had known...

Karen: Oh Mike, look at that rain come down. We'll never get home on time.

Mike: Sure we will. It's not quite midnight. This old porch isn't going to keep us dry, though. <Door knob rattling>

Karen: What are you doing?

Mike: Trying to get the front door open. No one lives here... we can wait inside until the storm's over.

Karen: Not me. I'm not going in that old house! I'd rather stay out here and get wet. <Door swings open>

Mike: There! Come on, don't be afraid. I'll light a match. <A match is struck and lit> Well I'll be... this house is still full of furniture. It's as though someone still lives here.

Karen: There's a candelabra. Light some candles.

Ghost Host: Good evening...

Karen: W-wh-who said that?

Mike: I think it came from that marble statue...

Karen: Mike, let's get out of here! <Door slams shut>

Mike: The door closed! <Door knob rattling, trying to unlock> I can't get it open!

Ghost Host: When hinges creak, in doorless chambers, and strange and frightening sounds echo through the halls; whenever candlelights flicker where the air is deathly still; that is the time when ghosts are present, practicing their terror, with ghoulish delight. Welcome, foolish mortals, to the Haunted Mansion. I am your host... your Ghost Host. Kindly step this way... there's no turning back now! You will not be harmed, but you will not be released, until you take a tour of my home. We have so few visitors... live ones, that is! <Ghost Host gives an evil chuckle> Our tour begins here, in this ghostly gallery.

Narrator: Mike and Karen, too frightened to find another way out, obeyed their host's voice, and entered the candlelit gallery. The gallery was a large room. Its walls were covered with paintings. As Mike and Karen stepped into the room, the wall behind them slid closed. <Sound of a wall panel sliding shut>

Karen: Mike, we shouldn't have come in here. I-I-I'm s-scared...

Mike: I don't see a way out! There are no doors... not even a window!

Ghost Host: Here, in the gallery, you see rare paintings of some of our residents, as they appeared in their corruptible, mortal state. Even in this flickering gloom, your cadaverous pallor betrays an aura of foreboding. You trusting mortal eyes tell you that these walls are stretching. But logic says, "No! 'Tis mere hallucination." Then look about you. Examine everything carefully. Your logic cannot deny that this chamber has no windows, and no doors. Which offers a rather logical challenge: to find a way out! <Evil chuckle> There's always... MY way... <Thunder strikes loudly, and suddenly a scream is heard which fades in the distance, as if the screamer was falling...>

Narrator: Lightning flashed from above the room, illuminating the attic area. There seemed to be no roof. From the rafters a corpse swayed, dangling from a taut rope. <Fluttering wings> A black raven flew into the room and perched on the bookcase.

Raven: Caw! Caw! Coward's way out! He chose the coward's way out! Caw! Caw! Caw!

Narrator: The candles Mike held went out mysteriously. Karen clutched his hand during what seemed to be an endless darkness. In a few seconds, the candles re-lit. <Wall panel sliding open> A panel opened exposing a dimly lit hall. On the left side were windows revealing a grotesque landscape, frequently illuminated by the lightning flashes. On the opposite side of the corridor were large portraits. When the lightning flashed, these paintings turned into decaying corpses.

Karen: We should never have come in here! <Fluttering wings, then Karen screams> What's that?!?

Mike: It's okay... it's just that raven.

Ghost Host: Did someone scream? Ah... we didn't mean to frighten you prematurely. Apparently, the restless spirit of an old nag has taken possession of that poor, wretched raven's mortal being. Be on your guard... it may want to better itself! <Evil chuckle> Come along, now...

Narrator: Mike and Karen walked down the long tapering corridor. There seemed to be a light at the far end, pitch blackness behind them. The hallway made a sharp turn into an eerily-lit limbo of boundless mist and decay. The furnishings and walls were covered with cobwebs. A staircase seemed to be the only passageway out. As they climbed to the second floor they were greeted by an appalling cold, and this, as you know, is the traditional manifestation of the supernatural.

Ghost Host: I hope you don't have an aversion to darkness and cold. But you see, we spirits are sensitive to light, and every consideration has been given to our comfort, here in this delightfully dreary place.

Karen: Wh-where do we go from here? How do we get out of this horrible place?

Mike: This seems to be the main corridor. Let's hope it leads to a back staircase and a way out! <Footsteps in the hall> Come on, let's keep going... <Footsteps become quicker, as ghosts begin to moan and wail...>

Karen: Look out! <Ghost wails>

Mike: Quick... in this doorway! <Footsteps running, as ghosts screech nearby and chains rattle>

Narrator: Through the dimly-lit mist of the upstairs corridor, a ghost-like figure ran screaming past Mike and Karen. Footsteps, screams, and the sound of rattling chains chased the figure down the hallway and faded into the darkness.

Ghost Host: It's nice to see the folks enjoying themselves. In my home, every room has wall to wall creeps, and hot and cold running chills... but it has taken time to give it that comfortable, unlived-in look. <Evil chuckle>

Narrator: The kids turned their backs on the corridor and looked into the room toward the sound of their host's voice. The candles Mike held again mysteriously dimmed, and went out. They stood frozen with fright. They were in the old conservatory, a room cluttered with decaying flowers and plants. Broken windows in the room allowed them to see the outside, and there below was the private graveyard. Even though the rain was falling hard, an unnatural fog choked the gravestones. The rain was coming in through the broken windows; the air was damp, and had a musty smell. <Crash of thunder, and flutter of wings> The raven flew in and perched on top of a large box situated in the middle of the room. <Choked grunts ("Let me out of here!") and squeaking wood coming from the large box>

Karen: What's that noise?

Mike: I'll light the candles... <Match strike> There. <Choked grunts and squeaking become more insistent>

Karen: It's a coffin... something's trying to get out!

Raven: You've disturbed a guest! Caw! Caw! You'll be sorry for that! Caw! Caw!

Narrator: Mike and Karen ran out of the room into the dark hallway. They passed several closed doors as they continued toward the far end. <Sounds of heavy breathing, squeaking wood, and various ominous tones fade in and grow progressively louder> From each door they passed, natural and unnatural sounds came from within. Each sounded as though it were trying to get out into the hall.

Karen: Mike... I'm so frightened...

Ghost Host: Whatever you do, don't betray your presence by screaming. Follow my voice. Be calm. You have a very active imagination... that's good... <Side one of the LP ends as ominous sounds and the Haunted Mansion theme fade to silence>


<With the wind howling, we hear the now familiar Haunted Mansion theme played mournfully with single notes on a pipe organ, with bells tolling in the distance...>

Narrator: They went into another room, dimly lit by flickering candles. There, an unusual seance was in session.

Ghost Host: We're about to participate in a seance. Madame Leota is assembling all the spirits who have been just dying to meet you... <Evil chuckle>

Narrator: Madame Leota, the medium who was chanting the plaintive incantations, was quite unique. She was truly a disembodied spirit; a mere talking head inside a misty crystal ball. As she invoked the spirits, objects floated about the room in response to her supplications.

Madame Leota: Serpents, and spiders; tail of a rat; call in the spirits, wherever they're at! <Ghostly moans> Rap on a table, it's time to respond; send us a message, from somewhere beyond! <Knocking off in the distance> Goblins and ghoulies, from last Halloween, awaken the spirits with your tambourines! <Tambourines clatter> Creepies, and crawlies; toads in a pond; let there be music from regions beyond! <A strange horn plays a repeated riff from the Mansion theme> Wizards and witches, wherever you dwell, give us a hint, by ringing a bell! <A small bell rings>

Karen: Mike, something's moving there in the corner... <Ghostly wail fades in>

Mike: It looks like... smoke... there's another one!

Ghost Host: Come now. We must leave this cozy little circle, for the spirits have received your sympathetic vibrations, and are beginning to materialize. <Wailing grows louder; other spirits join in>

Narrator: The Ghost Host led Mike and Karen through another doorway and onto a balcony overlooking a grand hall. <The Haunted Mansion theme fades in again, this time in an eerie organ waltz, amidst the sounds of partying, mingling spirits> A party was taking place... one of the strangest parties you've ever seen. There was a long dining table covered with decaying food and withered flowers. Cobwebs were everywhere. It seemed to be a birthday party, and when the birthday ghost blew out the candles on a cake, several other ghosts disappeared. They reappeared when the ghost inhaled again. There was an elderly lady rocking and knitting. When she rocked forward, she disappeared. When she rocked back, she too reappeared. Several ghosts were playing on the chandelier over the massive dining table. Others were waltzing while an organist played a haunting refrain.

Karen: This is crazy! I don't believe what I see! Why did we ever come in this house?!

Mike: Here's a door at the end of the balcony! Come on! <As the evil waltz fades out, a heartbeat fades in...>

Narrator: Mike and Karen entered the door and came face to face with a ghost dressed as a bride. She was strangely illuminated and her heart glowed red with each heartbeat. The room they were in was an unfinished attic. And as they turned to run out of the door, another ghostly manifestation appeared and blocked their way. He was a cloaked figure with an evil, grinning face. A hatbox hung from his hand. With each beat of his bride's heart, his head disappeared from his body, and appeared in the hatbox.

Karen: We're trapped... there's no way out!

Mike: Hold the candles... I'll try to open this window. <Window squeaks open> Come on! We're in luck! There's a balcony out here. <The wind begins to howl as Mike and Karen go outside> Watch your step... the rains made everything slippery.

Karen: The candles went out again.

Mike: Just leave them... we're outside now. Everything's going to be okay! There's some steps down at the far end! <A dog howls, as we hear footsteps on the balcony>

Karen: But they lead to the graveyard!

Mike: Come on... it's the only way! <The dog howls again, closer>

Narrator: Our adventurous pair descended the steps to the ground level and began their walk through the private burial ground, trying to find their way out of this living nightmare. They passed an old caretaker holding a lantern, too frightened to speak. <A dog, obviously not the same heard previously, is heard whimpering pitifully> His dog was cowering at his feet, whimpering. <The Haunted Mansion theme ("Grim Grinning Ghosts") orchestrated by the graveyard inhabitants, fades in>

Ghostly Chorus: .... Grim grinning ghosts, come out to socialize! Now don't close your eyes, and don't try to hide, or a silly spook may sit by your side; shrouded in a daft disguise, they pretend to terrorize; grim grinning ghosts come out to socialize! As the moon climbs high o'er a dead oak tree, spooks arrive for the midnight spree; creepy creeps with eerie eyes, start to shriek and harmonize, grim grinning ghosts come out to socialize! When you hear the knell of a requiem bell, weird glows gleam where spirits dwell; restless bones etherealize, rise as spooks of every size, ha ha ha ha HA HA HA! <Instrumental continues...>

Narrator: There was music all around them, and the sky was filled with wispy spirits. They passed a group of minstrels who paid no attention to their presence. One was playing a bagpipe, another a harp, and another a horn. There was a hunchback playing a flute, and a cadaverous drummer pounding out the tempo on a gravestone. A group of cats and a family of owls joined in with spooky harmony. <hoots and howls join the music and commotion> There was a king and a queen balancing a teeter-totter on a gravestone, and a dutchess sipping a cup of tea. They saw a hearse stuck in the mud; the coffin had slipped out, and its contents, a shrouded corpse, also was sipping a cup of tea. Behind the hearse on a hill a group of ghosts were enjoying a bicycle ride through the tombstones. A huge masked executioner was singing a duet with a decapitated knight, who held his singing head... in his extended hand. <Music fades out, as the ghost chorus finishes the song. Footsteps continue, followed by a flutter of wings...>

Mike: There's that raven again!

Raven: Caw! Caw! Beware my friends! Caw! Caw! They may try to follow you home! Caw! Caw! Caw!

Karen: Mike, a-are you sure we're going the right way?

Mike: I think so. There's only one path. It looks like there's something up ahead...

Karen: That's a crypt! That's the one by the fence! It's the way out!

Mike: Come on!! Stay close! <Footsteps speed up, echoing as Mike and Karen enter the crypt>

Ghost Host: Did you enjoy your visit? <Footsteps halt, as a bell tolls midnight> I told you you would not be harmed. Thank you for spending some time with us. Come back again... bring your friends, if they'll believe the stories you'll tell. I have to go now. It's midnight. Pleasant... dreams.... ha ha ha HA HA HA! <More evil laughter, as a cat howls and the wind picks up, fading along with a final mournful rendition of the Haunted Mansion theme>

(Click here to view the pages from the album)


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