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SYMHC Classics: Building Disneyland's Haunted Mansion, Pt. 1

2017-10-07 | 🔗

This classic episode dives into one of the most iconic Disney park attractions -- the Haunted Mansion. Its development process that was anything but smooth. Budget and scheduling issues and creative differences dogged the project for two decades.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Here's. The thing saving money with Geico was almost better than playing pick up basketball, because there's always that guy joint your game. ever passes the rock he constantly Rex theories and who completely happy when put his hands up and say no foul, no foul with Geico. It's easy to switch save on car insurance, no need make ankle sprain, because you're, absolutely exhausted so which in save with Geiger it's almost better than sports It is about time for a classic episode and it is the start of our seas. It of hollowing programming. There was We lost in the Disney family, imagining your excellency oh, who had a hand in many of the projects in the Disney parks and really impacted the magic that lives there. In many ways, recently, died so to honour him and remember him. We are going to air are to episodes about the development and building of Disneyland hunted mansion caddies will appear.
This Saturday and next Saturday, and one quick note when we recorded this episode, a lot of Holly's research. from the original edition of the book about the mansions history by Jason, thorough and that we had error in it initially ever Green House in Bali, The more was cited as the architectural inspiration for does reliance on advancing, but is actually the Shipley Lighting or house also in Baltimore that sparked the design. So keep that in mind them now take a little trip to Disneyland with us.
well continued stuff. You missed in history class from house to House works TAT come out, I'm freezing emails, and today we are talking about, subject, admittedly very near and dear to my heart and one that I think it might starting people initially to think about. It is a history item, but it really has quite a fastening history on its own, and that is Disneyland mention where there is a view at home, which is everyone maybe not divide beyond ago. Maybe so. Why are people who are not here yet room with us? They bridges everyone. but you and me, and our producer, nor a holly, has on a haunted mansion teacher. I tell you: I have a monumental shirt. How am I gonna mentioned ring? I really love honey, mention my house. His lot of Honnami Agency May,
then it is one of those things that when you read about the history of how this project came to fruition, it's a little bit enlightening and its sort of creates. For me, I know kind of a window through which viewing like some of the trials and tribulations the happen in lake anyone's modern day to day work life in kind of a different way, and it gives a perspective of lake know. Everybody has these issues you know like. If you have a project to stick forever. If you have like a thing that you want to do, but I d get excited and then it gets put away and they never comes to fruition. Those things happen all the time to buddy, and I think you know we don't, because the Disney company has become so huge. We dont think about I ever having in the context of Disney, but in fact it was happening all the time you will- and I also of this story because of like that, the historic visual effects,
yeah techniques that were used here and how many of them still hold up. are any today. So for yonder listeners. It's probably really easy to think about Disneyland their Walt Disney world as places that are better for ever, but they really haven't Does the land has only been around since the nineteen fifties and Disneyworld open in the early nineteenth seventies, but the ideas for those parks go back a bit further. One of the iconic attractions at all Disney Parks dimension and as Emmy doesn't file, will tell you eat attraction in the parks. Has it own story, but the hot advances. History is particularly heaved and legends, partly because of the supernatural beaming, which leads to all kinds of ghost stories and hard. yeah, and, as I was saying earlier, the story of Disneyland in the development of the mansion is also a really good one to look at because a showcases, how
You know. Even great success has a lot of failure along the way I think you know Walt Disney has become. legend, legendary as a visionary that a lot of the struggles that his projects went a lot of the struggles that he went through, trying to get things done. They get lost over or they get overlooked completely, but here a bumpy rides and regardless of whether new view him and the disease company in a positive or negative late, and that's like almost could be of protest on its own because their people, it's very polarizing. For some people, but the sheer number of achievements that he may mission is life is really impressive, but when you Look at how it all happened. A lot of the stories of that great success They have nothing to do with luck or you know blind good, there really like the result of hard work and perseverance and really pushing through which I think is important to remember, because again it's become such a huge company. We think of it is just being a powerful entity and we forget that it
there were baby steps in the big in war for many people alive today, Disney has always been a juggernaut yeah. The entirety of their existence idea was not always juggernaut. No, not at all, and even the project of the haunted mansion had many stops and starts with them without Walt so we're gonna first started off by talking about a quick overview of kind of the birth of Disneyland right, in nineteen fifty one Disney had an idea for a park to give families. Something to do to get together in southern California is first plan was to make a park in Burbank across the street from the Disney studios, even in the first series of concept sketches that Walt asked Director Harper got to do. It was always a haunted, house in all of them and it first started as part of a group that also had a church and a graveyard
The on December, succeeds of nineteen. Fifty two Walt Disney incorporated was founded by Disney to build the power the name changed almost immediately to w e enterprises, something say wed, W e stands for Walter Elias Disney. but today we actually know that entity as the as Walt Disney imaginary. So it went through a few name changes, but it originally started in nineteen fifty two to build Disneyland. A new company was actually staffed up with a lot of the artist and the visionaries from Waltz movie Studio, even though they have not worked on a theme park before in that higher to bring in the industry. People and animators may seem odd when you think about it, but whilst whole idea was there, they were going to be telling stories in three dimensions instead of two and since story was I was gonna, be the focus professional storytellers to him seemed like the exact right people for these jobs. These ideas
plea became way too big for the eleven acre plot of land that he initially had in mind. Sir, the focus shifted to LOS Angeles in nineteen, fifty three Walt hired the Stanford Research Institute to survey LOS Angeles and the surrounding area for a hundred. site. There would be suitable What he and the W e B team had in mind and that's how they found Disneyland home. It was a hundred and sixty Acre Orange Grove and Anaheim. This location met all of waltz requirements. It had to be freeway, accessible, Jason to or within LOS Angeles and affordable yeah and you know nowadays the Disney company is huge. That is so huge that it's really hard for most people and even me to think about it ever having shallow pockets, but it I'm that it was a very different story. You know what was really struggling to figure out how he was going to finance this huge vision of his and to build a theme park and it actually led to the agenda
of the television Series Walt Disney Disneyland that show came out of the need for funding, and the wall struck a deal with a b c, a nineteen, fifty four that he would for post for them this hour, long weekly series, which was about Disneyland and also about sort of you know, exploration of concepts in society and technology and storytelling, and in exchange for him hosting Miss ABC, was funding the construction of the theme park project and, just as I know, ABC eventually became part of the Disney Company decades down the road. So the partnership stir in the fifties but went on for a long time and now can now do their own thing there. Altogether this episode of stuff, you miss in history, glasses, brought. You buy Norton three sixty with lifelong, let's just say your shopping online with yours
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ass history, that's norton dot com, slash history for twenty five percent off, so once the funding and location where secure and construction started and went on in a really breakneck pace, baby ground on July. Twenty first nineteen, fifty four and just a year later, on July, fifteenth nineteen, fifty five Disneyland open to the public it costs them stated seventeen million dollars to build, which may not tells us a lot, but I think now, a days if a similar approach were built. It would be in the billions and billions. Yet I was seventeen million nineteen, fifty five dollars. So as a lot of money, opening day any account you read of it, it sounds in saying there was so much The patient, leading up to the opening of the part because Disney are at this point, had a successful animation studio he
already made a name for himself in terms of entertainment, and so many people were so excited at this lot of an entire park devoted to this concept of you know, storytelling in that they were even using counterfeit tickets to get in the park was overcrowded way past. Probably what was a smart capacity the temperature was a problem. They were in the middle of a heat wave in California and it was a hundred and ten degrees Fahrenheit and on top of it being super hot. There was up first strike going on. So not all of the water fountains had been hooked up, so people couldn't get a quick drink of water to help deal with the heat, and there was fresh asphalt. That had been poured as late as the night before the park open in it hadn't all cured properly because of the heat conditions. And so There are stories of people shoes sinking into the asphalts, because it had this weird rubbery texture to it, but it
dickie, but even though it was a bumpy opening day and with super over rounded and a few weeks after it, things were still a little bit crazy, but the problems got ironed out and things picked up and pretty quickly, the part became really really popular. But if you look at a map from there first days. You'll see that New Orleans Square, which is the area where the high mansion lives, is not bear that spot. gimme. The map is Blank So, even though want had been interested in a haunted house from the absolute earliest meetings with Harper Gough, it wasn't of the initial launch and it wasn't me before Waltz mine turned back to the haunted house had been part of the Disney Regional yeah. What's the park did get passes initial bumps, it really became apparent that it was going to have to expand quickly to meet demand and so Walt went right back to that haunted house idea in nineteen fifty seven, while
the studio animator named Kin Anderson in charge of the project because can had worked on Mister, wild ride and snow white scary adventures, which are both kind of so called dark rides because they have a lot of low light trickery and affects me was the natural choice to helm the haunting of what would soon become the New Orleans Square action of the park, and while he was working on research for this project, Waltz went public the news of the expansion. He talked about all of the things they were going to add to this new New Orleans Square area, and he Hold a BBC interviewer in ninety fifty eight that he was building a retirement home for ghosts who may have been displaced from their origin. HANS during the war. So he was kind of trying to contextual eyes the concept to being as he was in. Britain at the time- and they know you know all the bombings in everything. There are lots of go sit on place ago. I'm building them a place to go. Just
silly an odd and but also a european yeah, I don't know I would be without that. If I were lit written. I don't know how I feel about it. If I were the interviewer Ethan right likely, you're doing away with you know the sack about Hogwarts again what, if something happened, onwards, we would all those goes there. So wildcat detailing his plans for a park. Expansion with various me. let's including shops and restaurants. That would join the haunted house in this newly defined area of the park and can kept looking for design inspirations. So they knew from the outset that they wanted to have this kind of old South feel the area that we become New Orleans Square and so Anderson sought out Louisiana Plantation houses for design inspiration. You know they knew they wanted. This anti bellum look, but it turned out to be the house that really
would have provided the most inspiration for that honey mentioned Disneyland other ones have different architectural styles. It was Firstly, a house that is on North Charles Street in Baltimore Maryland called the Evergreen House in this house had been bequeathed to Johns Hopkins University in nineteen. Forty two and three, did provide the picture. Perfect image of Wet Anderson and Disney had in mind and Disneyland. Anyone know bears a really strong resemblance to the ever greenhouse all artists concept sketches for the house up to nineteen fifty eight was dilapidated and broken down with the sort of overgrown unkempt landscape, which is really what you would probably expect, or a haunted house But this approach really didn't go over well with wall. He couldn't reconcile having this. Calm down house in any kind of style settle within the otherwise prestige, surroundings O disneyland. So there's an
a famous quote, which I also find sewed harming. This is from Walden. He said we'll take care of the outside and let the ghosts take care of the inside so no matter how haunted the house is gonna, be he was pretty insisted that I have a perfectly groomed in exterior and there was agreement about it, but rather than dig in on this issue of the exterior, design, can Anderson just figured he move over and focus on interior for awhile, and they would kind of table that discussion. I'm sure it will come as a surprise to none of our listeners to hear that one of the major inspirations Ford behind dimension was the Winchester Mystery House. Andy and had actually toward the Winchester House in San Jose on a weekend get away, while this issue of pristine verses, ramshackle exterior been debated, and you almost immediately upon the tour. He realized that
so really what the inside of their honey mentions. The kind of look like with these ideas of rooms that don't go places in architecture that doesn't always makes sense together because, as we know, the Winchester House was built by MRS Winchester constantly under construction in an effort to confuse spirits that might be angry about the Winchester family fortune coming from. happens that I killed them tell that's an interesting house. If anybody has not been there, I highly recommend Winchester how so we have an episode on it. We do, and it is really clear. If you ve been in the hunt, imagine that there is a link they are statistically. This episode, famous than history classes Brass EU by W W, formerly wait watchers they
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we have to have a compelling story to go in the attraction, but it took a few hits and MRS on this whole story that to wind up with what guests are familiar with, today, and even the ones that we're about to talk about are not really what guests are familiar with. Today. It took a long letter. What our guests familiar with today is. We'll have never gone or we can talk about it and we're gonna get there. At the end, we wanting to deepen the that casino, become experiences Superfund. Well, it's goodbye But we will talk in a bit about how things can have ended up having to change some of the dust hearted stories are really fun, though. So can Anderson bless, him was just work in his tail off. He first put together, a story, treatment that featured in it was all centred around the sea. Captain Captain Bartholomew Gore, and it was a walk through That was led by Gorge Butler Beauregard, and this story centred on the then, who, in some versions and in some notes, has the
Gideon Goarly and there earned the nickname of Gore through his behavior. in these he brought his bride Priscilla to the mansion. But Priscilla was apparently a cure. Glass and in this version that Anderson cooked up her her curiosity, her undoing. She foolishly open this chest that she found in the attic and discuss that her beloved husband was in flat. In fact, black barked. The pirate after she makes this discovery and this revelation. She vanished so in some areas. So the story- poor priscilla- is bricked into the cellar by her husband, sort of cask of amontillado style. If you read a ground po sorcery. And in other versions the Andersson worked on. She Either locked into a sea chest or thrown down a well and hunting of the captain in this story. In this plot line led him to hang himself in the houses, rafters, and so all of this is part of what makes the hunting of the haunted house
The second version, which was also put together by CAN Anderson, featured this story. it was intended to really draw guests in by marrying the real world with the mythology, and in this version, The tour guide would explain two guests: the Disney company had moved an entire plantation mansion, which was blood, mere manner two Disneyland should create an authentic centrepiece for New Orleans Square, but trickster spirits were ever wreaking havoc on the restoration of the house also feature this tale was a deceased construction worker who haunted the site which was abandoned after his untimely death. Darwin didn't hit either compared to the drawing board and Anderson third approach, and this was really a much lighter approach to the whole thing it actually featured Walt Disney Hymns, of acting as a tour guide, Visa, prerecorded tape, segments and leading guests to a ghost wedding simpler storyline, but that way they getting corpse
lots of ghosts without having to work up lots of backstory for each of them. Several just attendance at this wedding. His fourth story idea: it gets inspiration from the nineteen, forty, nine Disney animated Beecher, the adventures of Ec Abad and Mister TOAD, the second the film was an adaptation of the legend of sleepy, hollow and Anderson the story needed to have the headless. Horseman provides fertile ground for this onto mansion, storyline, a great deal of this treatment involved using folly effects to create the sound of the horseman Hoofbeats following guests along there too. I'm imagining it like Monty Python, would not be money. Erwin, Nobby scary with me very silly. Well that scary and silly years later on. So the wedding concept was also there, and this idea and the guests were famous monsters like Frank. Signs monster and Dracula the bride Mademoiselle vampire would get a case of the jitters
not sure whether she wanted to marry most your boogeyman and adjust the chaos was reaching a fever, It's a tour guide would escort the park guests outside to safety, and this this version of the story was the one that was approved to go forward, although if you are a fan of the attraction, you will note that that is not the story. You see on the right now. there's a part of me that wishes. We could go to an alternate history and see that version. Is its house really fun logistics, rigorous panic, vampire. Bride. the escape was gonna, be three one of the fire. This could have been a potentially really cool affects. Almost The moment that, while decided to expand, Disneyland and Bilbil haunted mansion, he had designed Working on ideas were the detail elements of the attraction, while CAN Anderson focused on the structural design. Here he had had lots of counts
Catch is being made through out and, as all of these different storylines were being put together. Some of them were getting sketch treatments, but as they were settling on this for storyline of the winning in nineteen fifty nine won't put together what became a really famous Chouan team, the generated many of the effects and moments that really make the honey mention a crowd favorite even today, Yale Gracie was a background artist. A model builder and Rowley Cramp, which is a nickname for rolling, had been working. The studios isn't in between her Crump have his fondness for creating kinetic, sculpture, so odd, mobiles and other kind of pieces of moving art. I love those by the way, The story girl that war by these two had just the right crossover of interests to make an ideal pairing to create the illusions that a haunted house attraction would need, and this pair of artists spent basically
all of nineteen fifty nine hold up together, they were in on one floor of a building just right. Go stories. They were testing out illusions that they were coming up with together when Crump talks about it. He routinely credit, I see as being like the idea man and then he he would start to embellish, expand on them and they would we're all of this together. So you sounded like it was It really was a very fruitful and pretty enjoyable. Pairing think that we're from the store in we're about to tell the fair became a really really well known for their fantastical exploits and for their indigenous in Jason's or else about the haunted. Mansions history. Rowley Chrome tells the story of an incident that was created by all of this experiment, combined with with printing. you, you had all his ghosts and magic strewn throughout the room. Once we got a call from personnel asking you to leave
saw because the genders didn't want to come in. If it was dark. Well, we did, but we rigged the room. we put in and infrared meme, and when it was trips, the room went to black light and all the ghost facts came on when we came in. next morning all the effects are still running and there was a broom in the center of the floor. Personnel called and said you the clean your own room, because the janitors won't go a mayor anymore, trot boy, It is so like the praying she would expect the like a teenage kid So one of the interesting things in historically significant things about the work that Gracie Quimper doing together but even though they were put together to create cutting edge, affects most of the tricks we're employing were really really old school. They both have interest in magic tricks, and they use a lot of tricks that had been part of magic shows and the ethical sleight of hand for decades
including the illusion that is known as peppers ghost, which is from the mid eighteen hundreds and that's where action That is taking place in an unseen area that the audience can't see is reflected off a pane of glass that they can see, and it creates this look and they use that and that still used alone. Imagine today link amount of a ghost tat. You see, still used alone. Imagine today, lingo out of a ghost that you see are doing the peppers goes delusion. Air the year that Rowley Cramp and Neil Gracie spent together in nineteen. Fifty nine culminated in this demo show where they displayed a presentation of a version of the whole attraction and with them I a huge hodgepodge of bricks and ideas, and even though they were king, with Anderson's worth story plan involving the ghoulish wedding. Brought in some elements from the abandoned plots as well, including the sea captain. The sea captain is
illusion- is one- has talked about a lot this illusion that the peer created in old arraign soaked ghost showing up. There was water. There was a flooding effect in the room, the captains, de bride would materialise, and the water would then received and leave only these unearthly blobs of moisture behind it, and it is one of those super famous- when spoken of moments that People who witnessed it will still in interviews kind of Wax rap Zadok about it and how it was one of those amazing things they have ever seen in their lives and with that were actually gonna cliff. Hang you a little bit of the honey. Mention is rich, so we d are taken to upset his Jan and the the moment of their were pausing. There is kind of its own cliffhanger. This whole thing I tabled for a little while yeah we'll talk about how that I came to be in our next
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