Everybody who’s ever been to Disneyland or Walt Disney World has a favorite attraction. Mine has always been and will probably always be the Haunted Mansion.
Like the geek I am, I’ve always been interested in the origins of the Mansion, both in terms of its special effects and whatever sources were influences to its designers. I covered most of the FX in two articles I wrote for Storyboard Magazine way back in 1989 (under my real first name, Howard).
Specific influences, however, have been harder to confirm. I guessed years ago that the Hallway of Doors was based on a scene in Robert Wise’s 1960 film, The Haunting. Just this year, one of the Mansion’s designers admitted they studied The Haunting for ideas.
Now I’ve stumbled upon a couple of other possible influences, these from the ’50s, that I never would have guessed. But they make perfect sense, especially to Imagineers who had been pimply-faced comic readers a few years before.
You be the judge:
Madam Leota’s seance:
The caretaker at the graveyard:
Were these the inspirations for the Hitchhiking Ghosts and their mirror alcoves?
The Ghost Host (note the elongated angle and the portraits on each side):