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Go deeper by reading our sinister selections of haunting prose

Over the years, the Haunted Mansion has been the subject of numerous articles, stories, and reports in a variety of publications and periodicals. DoomBuggies is pleased to offer you the opportunity to peruse some of these rare gems - in some cases republished just as they were printed, and in some cases, presented as text files of the original articles. If you have some sort of Haunted Mansion article that you'd be willing to add to the DoomBuggies library, let us know.

Vacationland - Summer 1969

Vacationland, which was a magazine published from the late '50s through the '70s, was a special publication for SoCal travel agents, and it regularly featured light articles about the latest happenings and goings-on at Disneyland and in surounding Southern California attractions. This issue has a page celebrating the long-awaited opening of the Haunted Mansion, calling it the "most asked for" attraction ever to open at the park. "Demonized doors, elastic rooms, floating furniture and a perpetual levitation system are being installed," it reads. Click here to see the article.

Disney News - Fall 1969

Disney News, which billed itself as the "Official Magazine for Magic Kingdom Club Families, ran the Haunted Mansion on its Fall '69 cover in honor of the Mansion's imminent opening. Inside the magazine, Cuban WED Enterprises sculptor Rolando Santana was profiled, and sneak previews of his exquisite carvings for the Haunted Mansion were unveiled. The brief article notes that WED helped fulfill one of Santana's long-time dreams: "to bring his family from an adopted home in Puerto Rico to the United States, and to continue his career as a sculptor." Click here to read the article.

Inside Disneyland - Vol. 4, No. 9

Inside Disneyland was a one-sheet folded informational mailer sent out to Disneyland cast members for informational purposes. This issue was a pictorial dedicated to the just-opened Haunted Mansion. Interestingly, this timely periodical places the "official" opening date of the Haunted Mansion at Aug. 12, though today, Disneyland typically considers the 9th of August as the actual date that the Mansion opened (likely due to a soft opening between the 8th, the last day of cast previews, and the 12th, the date released to the press as the "grand opening.") Click here to see the mailer.

Walt Disney Comics Digest - October 1969

Published shortly after the Haunted Mansion was opened to the public, this miniature "Gold Key" book was pubished with a short story about the new attraction. In the story, Mickey Mouse, trying to convince some spooks to join the 999 happy haunts, describes the Haunted Mansion as a place where "the ghosts have a party every day. There are haunts in the cellar and spooks in the attic and a private graveyard filled with the spirits of kings and queens, bandits and misers. There are phantom brides and forsaken bridegrooms and headless horsemen and banshees and warlocks and things that go bump in the night. There are cobwebs and mold and dust. It's a fun place for spooks. Boy, if I were a ghost... I'd make tracks for that haunted house!" Click here to read the story.

Backstage - Winter 1969

Backstage Magazine was a house organ made available to Disneyland cast members, which was published by "the University of Disneyland." This issue, published soon after the opening of the Haunted Mansion, celebrated the new attraction in a light-hearted manner with a wonderful comic by art director Bill Barry, a fun look at the dark side of Disney's cartoons, and an expose of the "Wierd (sic) World of WED Imagineering," which lampooned the secrecy of the various projects underway at WED Enterprises. Donated to DoomBuggies by then-managing editor Joe Burns, this magazine offers a priceless look at the mindset of the cast members back in the earliest days of the Haunted Mansion. Click here to read the whole 20 page magazine.

Digging up a great script

The "Story and Song" album was recorded on May 23, 1969, and one of the original "Storyteller Scripts" has been discovered! This script, unearthed from the archives of the Walt Disney Music Company, was used during the recording of "The Story and Song from the Haunted Mansion." While the script reads nearly the same as the actors' lines on the record (save for an extra line for the "Raven" at the end which was edited out of the project), it is interesting to note that Pete Renoudet maintains a similar inflection to Paul Frees' performance throughout the record's introduction to the "Ghost Host." Since Frees' "Ghost Host" was probably recorded in February of '69, Renoudet must have had an opportunity to hear the attraction soundtrack before recording his version for this record. Click here to view the script.

Magic from the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland - 1970

"Magic from the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland" (which was later printed with an alternate cover - "Disneyland's Mystifying Magic Book" - in order to de-emphasize the Mansion for marketing purposes, and to get Merlin on the cover) is a fun booklet sold exclusively at Disneyland for a buck in the early '70s. The tricks it contains are garden variety pocket tricks and automatic magic, but the trappings of the Haunted Mansion (and lots of original art) make it a great piece of Mansion memorabilia. Click here to read the book in its entirety.

Wonderful World of Disney - Vol. 1, No. 4

Wonderful World of Disney was a magazine created by Walt Disney Productions to be given away with a purchase at a Gulf station. This issue, printed in 1970, featured a cover story on "America's Haunted Houses" in its "Places to Go" section, as the magazine was ostensibly a travel magazine for children. Written in similar fashion to a school primer, this article takes an intriguing and serious look at hauntings and supernatural activity, ending with a plug for Disneyland's new Haunted Mansion attraction. Click here to read the article.

Famous Monsters - February 1971

Famous Monsters, the revered imprint of Warren Publications known to Baby Boomer "monster kids" throughout the nation, ran a feature on Disneyland's Haunted Mansion in early 1971. The very brief article did publish some great photos (interestingly, they featured pictures of Yale Gracey working on the "Hatbox Ghost," although it was well known by '71 that the Hatbox Ghost didn't even appear in the Haunted Mansion. ) A brief quote from Gracey himself notes that the element of comedy in the attraction "is like the wink of an eye at the end of a ghost story." Click here to read the article.

Disney News - Fall 1974

Disney News, which was the "Official Magazine for Magic Kingdom Club Families" before it later morphed into a general audience magazine, published an article about the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Haunted Mansions in its Fall 1974 issue, which would have been in homes for the Halloween season. The lead paragraph describes how ghosts in America seem to prefer the eastern and southern states, with Disneyland's facade capturing "the spirit of the Old South," and Disney World's "resembling the nightmare architecture of Edgar Allen Poe." Click here to read the article.

Vacationland - Fall 1976

Vacationland, which was a magazine published from the late '50s through the '70s, was a special publication for SoCal travel agents, and it regularly featured light articles about the latest happenings and goings-on at Disneyland and in surounding Southern California attractions. This issue has a spread reminding travelers about the Haunted Mansion, playing up a non-existent frightful experience: "The fact is, Disneyland's Haunted Mansion is as creepy as it looks, chock-full of unholy spirits, unexplained noises and unearthly screams... (with) nightmarish sights and apparitions too spooky to describe." Click here to see the article.

Holosphere - January 1981

Holosphere, a scientific journal dedicated to the study of laser technology and holography, published an article in its January 1981 issue about the three-dimensional ghosts in the Walt Disney World Haunted Mansion, and the magic behind the process of making the ghosts appear "real." The author is amazed that even back in 1981 when holography was in its "infancy," people insisted that the ballroom ghosts were holograms, or lasers - a science that, at the time, was not able to produce such lavish special effects. Click here to read the article.

Disneyland Line - October 27, 1983

The Disneyland Line, which was an internal newsletter delivered to Disneyland cast members, contained this brief but informative article in the Halloween 1983 issue. Besides the typical quick history of the attraction, the article contains photos of cast members from the era, as well as insights from the Mansion's hosts and hostesses: "I was standing like a statue in the expanding room and a guy came in by himself. He saw me and took off, jumping over the chain and running out the gate..." Click here to read the article.

Disneyland: Inside Story (1987)

At the time of Walt's death, a various scripts had been written with a definite dark tone for the proposed ride. Many of them were quite different from the eventual theme adopted for the Mansion, which consists of "silly spooks" and "grim grinning ghosts." These divergent storylines were a source of great controversy among the Imagineers. WED legend Marc Davis, who created the iconic pixie Tinker Bell for Disney's version of Peter Pan, was one of the proponents of taking the show from creepy to kooky, while Imagineer Claude Coats, who had been instrumental in creating the grand sets for Pirates of the Caribbean, wanted to create a darker, more ominous mood. In Disneyland: Inside Story, author Randy Bright quotes Marc Davis as he recalls the confusion: "Walt had not been gone that long. I think there were a lot of great ideas, but when you have too many people of equal clout, nobody's about to say, 'Hey, wait a minute! Let's do it this way,' which Walt would have done in a moment." Randy Bright's book goes on to reveal more information about the debate between "fright" and "light." Click here to read an excerpt.

Disneyland Line - October 1993

This article about the Haunted Mansion's history by Walt Disney Imagineering's late David Mumford appeared in The Disneyland Line, which is the park's internal organ. This particular issue was published in October 1993, and this article was printed in celebration of Halloween. It contains a fairly comprehensive history of the Mansion's development, and the cover art is a detail from a conceptual image by Sam McKim. Click here to read the article.

The Haunted Mansion Pop-Up Book

Published in 1994, this pop-up book for children is a pleasant diversion for adults as well. With clear influences from both Collin Campbell's illustrations for the 1969 "Story and Song" album and the current attraction, Russell Spina Jr.'s illustrations are beautifully done (though the paper engineering is not all that complex.) The book features Madame Leota's head in the form of a hologram (although even in 1994, foil holograms as gimmicks were a bit old hat.) View the book in its entirety by clicking here.

Disney Magazine - Winter 1994

On the occasion of the Disneyland Haunted Mansion's 25th anniversary, Disney Magazine turned to WDI's then-resident-Mansion-expert David Mumford to craft a quick history and overview of the attraction. The article kicks off with a brief report from the "re-DEAD-ication" ceremony that had been held at Disneyland on August 9, 1994, including show writer X Atencio, WDI Senior VP John Hench, audio-animatronic programmer Bill Justice, and WED artist Sam McKim. Click here to read the article.

Enter if You Dare: Tales from the Haunted Mansion

This book, written by Nicholas Stephens in 1995 for the teenage horror novel market made popular by the "Goosebumps" books published at the time, is a collection of creepy stories that are only nominally inspired by the attraction, but still make a fun, breezy read. Readers will meet such characters as Sarah Janeway who sees the face of a disfigured man every time she looks in the mirror, Sally Little - who was extremely late for her own wedding, and Brandon Morrell who's invited to play the clarinet for a graveyard band. Fun illustrations by Sergio Martinez accompany the text. Click here to find a copy.

Haunted Attraction Magazine - Summer 1997

Here's an article reprinted courtesy of Haunted Attraction Magazine, a publication dedicated primarily to the semi-professional house-haunter and the commercial dark-ride operator. The article is titled "Spotlight: The Haunted Mansion" and is written by Haunted Mansion website pioneer Steve Ziolkowski. Click here to read the article, which provides a quick history of the design of the Mansion, with some professional insights.

Persistence of Vision - No. 9

This magazine, apparently discontinued in the late '90s, billed itself as an "unofficial historical journal celebrating the creative legacy of Walt Disney." Issue #9 contained two articles on the Haunted Mansion. First is the cover story - Tish Eastman's thorough dissection of Buddy Baker's music from the Mansion and the recording sessions that he directed to create it. The article, which makes this issue a collectible worth hunting down, details each musical cue point in the attraction and describes in detail the accompanying soundtrack. Eastman also provides extensive detail on the recording sessions and musicians that took part in the process. The second article about the Mansion, by Paul Smith, is a colorful tour of Walt Disney World's Mansion, with some comparisons with Disneyland's original attraction. Click here to read Smith's article.

Disney Magazine, Winter 1998

This Cast Member Gets Into the Spirit at the Haunted Mansion: When she was in junior high, Tina Michael immersed herself in Edgar Allen Poe stories. Halloween is her favorite holiday. Ten years ago Michael found her dream job as a servant at Master Gracey's Haunted Mansion. At this spooky Walt Disney World attraction, she greets visitors in her maid's uniform of long black skirt, frilly apron, and hat-with-a-bat. Castmember Tina Michael is now an active member of the DoomBuggies.com community. Read the Disney Magazine interview with her here.

Disneyland Line - August 6, 1999

This issue of the cast members' internal newsletter from Disneyland contained a cover story about the Haunted Mansion's 30th anniversary, which was primarily a list of trivia and interesting facts. The article leads off with a quote from one of Ken Anderson's early treatments for the proposed Ghost House: "This is the lakeside estate of the unfortunate Blood family... our house had an unfortunate history of unlucky owners who died sudden and violent deaths, which resulted in their unhappy ghosts remining behind..." Click here to read the article.

Haunted Attraction Magazine - Fall 2000

Haunted Attraction is a trade magazine for the haunted house industry which appears a few times in this collection, and it features Disney's various haunted attractions as subject matter from time to time. This particular issue, no. 22, features an article by DoomBuggies.com owner Jeff Baham, which is a fairly straitlaced summation of the Walt Disney World version of the Haunted Mansion. Click here to read the article.

The Spook - October 2001

The Spook was an early entrant into the world of digital publishing. The magazine, which was only available as a free .pdf download, began its life as a publication focused on dark fiction and horror with original stories by authors such as Poppy Z. Brite and Ray Bradbury, but moved toward a more general audience with a name change to "Metropole" in 2003. The magazine has since ceased publication, but by special permission of author Dominick Cancilla, you can read his article published in The Spook about the myths of the Haunted Mansion called "Crouching Rumors, Hidden Mansion." Click here to download the .pdf.

Haunted Attraction - No. 27 (Fall 2001)

This in-depth article explores the genesis of Phantom Manor, stretching back to the mid-eighties, when Tony Baxter and his team from WDI received the assignment of designing the Disney's first European amusement park (at the time called Euro Disneyland.) Instead of simply copying the American attractions as had been done for the Tokyo park, Disney wanted to rethink the concepts that were to be translated into the new park. Technological advances and the different sensibilities of time and cultures were key causes for this. Read David Goebel's informative history of the Manor to learn more. Click here to read the article.

1313 Magazine - No. 1

The following article, titled Disney's Haunted Mansion: The Ultimate Dark Ride, was written by Jeff "Chef Mayhem" Baham and was published in the premiere issue of 1313 Magazine as an informal introduction to Disney's Haunted Mansion. Intended to give a general overview of the attraction, it also demonstrates Baham's passion for dark rides in general, and sets the Mansion in context as it relates to the broader world of themed entertainment. Click here to read the article.

Makeup Artist - No. 45 (Fall 2003)

This in-depth article about the Haunted Mansion film's make-up design is a rare treat - a detailed look at the work of veteran make-up artists Bill Corso, for whom the job was a "dream come true" as a early Haunted Mansion attraction fan, and famed special effects make-up artist Rick Baker, who created the innovative zombies for the film. An example of the detail: "Rick did a really cool thing," said production supervisor Bill Sturgeon. "He pushed the necks forward a little bit so they look really small - basically, just a spinal column - and then he used dark fabric and other things to hide the actual neck. It's just smoke and mirrors." Click here to read the article.

Architectural Digest - November 2003

Here's an article from the November 2003 issue of Architectural Digest that explores the lush production design of Oscar-winner John Myhre and the incredible details provided by set decorator Rosemark Brandenburg. "We decided to play it straight," said Myhre. "After all, Eddie Murphy is the star - the house is the straight man." Click here to read the article, which contains stunning photos of the sets at Barwick Studios in Los Angeles.

Tomart's Disneyana Update - Fall 2003 (No. 53)

This issue of Tomart's Disneyana Update featured a cover article on Haunted Mansion collectibles which was rather short, but it does briefly describe the progression in Haunted Mansion memorabilia, starting with the 1999 Walt Disney Art Classics convention held at Walt Disney World, and ending just before the 2003 Happy Haunts Event, also at Walt Disney World. According to author Penny Cunningham, "You can't take (these) ghostly items with you... but it sure is fun to collect them while you're here!" Click here to read the article.

Ghostly Biographies?

Many characters from the Haunted Mansion have been given new backgrounds and histories courtesy of SLG Publishing's "Haunted Mansion" comic. Licensed by Disney, the artists at SLG have come up with many new stories that serve as potential biographies and explanations for the familiar characters (such as the attic Bride, as illustrated on cover #1 by artist and Haunted-Mansion-fan Roman Dirge). While wildly entertaining and worthwhile reading, the stories are best viewed as an "alternate reality" rather than an authorized history of the actual characters in the attraction. Click here to find and purchase the comic book.

Scary Monsters - No. 61

Scary Monsters, which rightfully bills itself as "a REAL monster magazine like you remember from the '60s," runs a regular column by Professor Anton Griffith of The Midnight Shadow Show. In this issue, the Professor looks at the history of the Haunted Mansion Bride, putting her into the context of the attraction's history as well as the infamous "Story and Song from the Haunted Mansion" record album. The Professor details the 2006 changes to the attic as well, which he calls "a bold and slightly edgy departure for a Disney theme park." Click here to read the article.

Rue Morgue - October 2006

Rue Morgue, a compendium of "Horror in Culture and Entertainment," featured the Haunted Mansion as its "Classic Cut" selection in October 2006. Though this article by Paul Corupe starts with the dubious claim that the Haunted Mansion "was far beyond what even Walt could have envisioned," it goes on to successfully recreate the history of the ride and the thrill of riding it in a nutshell, summing it up by calling it "the most fully realized, technologically impressive dark ride ever created. Read the article here.

LA Weekly - March 7-13, 2008 (Vol. 30, No. 16)

This issue of LA Weekly featured an article in the "A Considerable Town" column by Gendy Alimurung about the DoomBuggies Tenth Anniversary Swinging Wake party, which Alimurung attended at the request of LA Weekly. She seemed to enjoy herself, and really captured the essence of the evening in this article, even if she did get a couple facts wrong regarding the various features of the Disneyland Haunted Mansion in comparison with the Walt Disney World version. Still - it's a great portrait of Mansion fandom. Click here to read the article.


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