The Blog Lagoon’s 31 Days of Halloween – Day 14: “Welcome, foolish mortals…to the Haunted Mansion.”

Graphic artist, Shagg, painted this to celebrate the Haunted Mansion's 40th Anniversary.

Graphic artist, Shag, painted this to celebrate the Haunted Mansion's 40th Anniversary.

I’ve had a minor obsession with Disney World’s Haunted Mansion for most of my life. Whatever you may think of the house of Mouse, you have to admit that Disney, as a corporate entity, was a very different beast before the 90s. Before Mickey got wise to the tween marketing perfected by Nickelodeon, Disney was a bastion of wholesome, gee-whiz, entertainment. It’s hard for me to recognize today that Miley Cyrus and The Haunted Mansion both stand beneath the same banner, but there you have it. Sunday-night family viewings of The Wonderful World of Walt Disney are a thing of the past, for better or worse, having long been eclipsed by Hannah Montana concert movies (in 3D no less).

But the Haunted Mansion still stands proudly in the Liberty Square wing of Orlando’s Magic Kingdom, and with the exception of a few tweaks, is still the amazing dark-ride experience it was when it first opened in 1971. (Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion, in California is now 40 years old, this year! It’s essentially the same ride, but I’ve never been to Disneyland so I won’t refer to it.) There’s just something about the “imagineered” reality of Disney’s park rides that make them timeless. (Well, most of them anyway. Space Mountain is beginning to show its age.)

Say what you will about the old-school charms of the Haunted Mansion– the ride is a terrifying rite of passage for a kid. I have very vivid memories of my first experience. When my family finally got near the end of the line and stepped into the front door of the actual structure, I was so creeped out by the flickering candle lights and sinister-looking cast members, that I reached for my dad’s hand without looking and ended up taking a stranger’s hand instead. By the time we were ushered into what’s known as the “stretching gallery” I remember being completely unnerved by the “ghost host’s” voice, alerting me to the fact that “this room has no windows, and no doors” before offering me “this chilly challenge: to find a way out!” I coulda’ died right there and taken my place as a 7 year-old spirit among the “999 happy haunts” that reside there.

If you’ve never been to Disney World — or worse, you HAVE been there, but skipped this ride — Well, you best be adding it to your bucket list, Morgan Freeman.

Thurl Ravenscroft as one of the Mansion's haunted singing busts.

Thurl Ravenscroft as one of the Mansion's haunted singing busts.

Since I can’t stick you on a plane and send you there, I’ll do the best I can and offer you a Haunted Mansion audio walk-through. The file I’m sharing is over 20 minutes long and comprised of all the audio loops you’d hear from the moment you step into the mansion, through your doom buggie ride-through, to the ride’s exit music at the end. The loops are designed to give you a unique experience with each ride, with your ears catching different parts of the loops than you did the time before. The ride itself is nowhere near 20 minutes long, but the file I’m sharing contains the entire loops, blended end-to-end. Oh, but that’s not all. In the same file you’ll find the ride’s theme song, “Grim, Grinning Ghosts” and both sides of a Haunted Mansion record released in 1969 that features the attraction in a short story with song, narrated by Thurl Ravenscroft, whose voice you may recognize as Tony the Tiger and countless Disney voices. The record’s story stars a post-Opie, pre-Richie, Ron Howard as a teenager on a spooky date. Additionally, this file contains a rare audio track of Ravenscroft singing “The Ballad of the Headless Horseman” (aka “Spooks’ Midnight Jamboree”) which is about as awesome a Halloween song as you’re ever gonna’ hear.

DOWNLOAD THE HAUNTED MANSION HAUNTED AUDIO HERE (megaupload).

Many of the sound effects from the Haunted Mansion appeared on my favorite Halloween record of all time: Disney’s Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House. This kind of sound-effects record was inexplicably popular when I was a kid – but this particular one is the one to beat. (Believe me, I’ve listened to ’em all.) Side two offers several sound effects collections from the Disney vaults, but side one is better, with Laura Olsher narrating very short scenarios that use the sound effects to paint a spooky audio picture. You’ll recognize these sounds because you’ve heard them EVERYwhere. I’ve included the cover art and jpegs of the “halloween party tips” that came inside the sleeve. This album is often confused with a second sound effects release by Disney with the exact same title. But it’s not the same and not nearly as cool as the original. It’s an interesting listen though, for no reason other than to compare and contrast the content. The lesser second release is, to it’s credit, far more grim-sounding and not very Disney-like at all. I’ve included it as well.1973cover

DOWNLOAD THRILLING, CHILLING SOUNDS OF THE HAUNTED HOUSE HERE (megaupload)

Finally, if you really want to geek out on Disney Haunted Mansion stuff, this share features video clips of the singing busts, and Madame Leyola that are projected as effects on the ride. Also in this file is a rare 8mm souvineer reel that you could buy at Disney World back in the days before the video revolution. It gives you a nice concise look at a ride through of the Magic Kindom’s mansion.

DOWNLOAD HAUNTED MANSION VIDEO HERE (megaupload)

If you like the Haunted Mansion as much as I do, or if I’ve piqued your curiousity, you should definetly swing by Doombuggies.com. It’s probably the most comprehensive, lovingly put-together theme park ride tribute/reference source you’ll ever see.

"...hurry baaaaack...hurry baaaack."

"...hurry baaaaack...hurry baaaack."

~ by Number5ive on October 14, 2009.

One Response to “The Blog Lagoon’s 31 Days of Halloween – Day 14: “Welcome, foolish mortals…to the Haunted Mansion.””

  1. If your readers are looking for a good, kinda scary, halloween soundtrack, this one is downloadable and free. You can listen before downloading. You can use it. You can share it. But you can’t sell it.

    http://www.dmperkins.com/2009/10/a-good-halloween-soundtrack/

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