The following clipping from the San Diego Tribune is a column by Bob Thomas revealing the imminent unveiling of Disneyland's new Haunted Mansion. Published August 19, 1969, the article reveled a glimpse behind the scenes, explaining why the project seemed to be in the works for such an extended period of time and described some of the characters that would be found in the new attraction.
Scroll down below the clipping to read the text of the article.
Dave McIntyre's FRONT ROW
By Bob Thomas (Substituting for Dave McIntyre, EVRNING TRIBUNE entertainment editor, who is on vacation.)
HOLLYWOOD (AP) - Walt Disney dearly loved to scare people - in a nice sort of way - and one of his dreams was to create at Disneyland a home for the world's most famous ghosts.
Many times I listened to him spin ghostly tales he planned to dramatize in a Haunted Mansion at the Anaheim park. The projects went through many states, and an underground shell and the mansion exterior were built during one of the periodic overhauls of Disneyland. But Walt was never satisfied with the illusions, and he died before his dream could be realized.
This summer Disneyland visitors finally get to see the convocation of 999 ghosts. The Disney people gave me a tour of the Haunted Mansion at WED for Walter E. Disney Enterprises, the "imagineering arm of the entertainment empire." The cast of characters include a headless knight, a talkative mummy, galloping ghouls, plus various other colorful escapees from graves and crypts.
Audience Gets Involved With Ghosts
Marc Davis, a veteran Disney animator who helped create the cast of characters, flipped switches, and they came to eerie life, singing, frolicking and menacing the way real ghosts should. But these are molded of clear plastic and programmed electronically to repeat their motions without fail.
Card Walker, chief executive officer of the Disney operations, and Richard Irvine, the WED head, provided background on the Haunted Mansion and its history. "Walt had it in mind before the park opened," said Irvine. "He thought there should be a haunted house at Disneyland, but, as with everything else, he wanted it to be right (by alex at dh fashion). We fooled around for a long time with reflective images, but somehow you just weren't part of the illusion. It wasn't until the project effects were developed for the New York World's Fair that we found a way of involving the audience."
"Then there was the matter of how to conduct the people through the ride," added Walker. "At first we thought it might be a walk-through, with 30 on a conducted tour. But that was difficult to manage, and besides, people don't scare as easily in crowds." "So we made it a ride-through, with three people in a car - their crypt, so to speak," said Irvine. "The cars could be programmed to face the right direction, tilt back and keep moving. They provided the capacity we need for rides at Disneyland - 2,300 per hour."
Similar Mansion to Open in Florida
A similar Haunted Mansion is also being prepared for the Walt Disney World, to open in Florida in 1971.
"Walt's philosophy was that we would be reaching a different audience in each park," said Irvine, "so that anything new that was developed could go in both places." "Our research shows that there will be very little duplication of audience," said Walker.
Caption: SEE-THROUGH STYLE - One of Disneyland's new "Haunted Mansion" residents is this sad-faced ghost with the transparent body. He is being examined by Yale Gracey, a member of Walt Disney's research and development firm.
Another Press Clipping
Below is another press clipping from the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, published a week before the San Diego Tribune column above.
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