Monday, July 26, 2010

999 Happy Haunts at the Haunted Mansion

Q: This may be a question that is obvious or one that has been asked before... or perhaps just assumed, in any case. I know that the Haunted Mansion's Ghost Host states that the Mansion houses 999 Happy Haunts, and I was wondering if there are actually 999 ghosts in the Haunted Mansion or does that number include the tombstones and any other sort of reference that is not directly a ghost.
Janet, Windermere, Florida

A [Dave Smith]: One could probably not count all 999 ghosts in the Haunted Mansion, but the rest are there around you, invisible as ghosts are wont to be.

Picture and art by Marcio Disney at:


ºoº The Haunted Mansion is the only attraction featured in different lands at each of the four Disney theme parks worldwide:
   Disneyland -- New Orleans Square
Magic Kingdom -- Liberty Square
Tokyo Disneyland -- Fantasyland
Disneyland Paris (where it is known as Phantom Manor) -- Frontierland

ºoº The singing busts in the graveyard scene warble the attraction’s theme song, "Grim Grinning Ghosts." Though sometimes mistaken for Walt Disney, the face on the bust on the left actually belongs to Thurl Ravenscroft, the song's soloist. Ravenscroft is best-known as the voice of Tony the Tiger, the mascot of Kellogg's Frosted Flakes cereal. In addition to Ravenscroft, the Singing Busts include Jay Meyer, Verne Row, Bob Ebright, and Chuck Schroeder

ºoº Grim Grinning Ghosts, with lyrics by X Atencio (who also wrote the Ghost Host’s script) and music by Buddy Baker, was recorded by the Mello Men, a singing group made up of Bill Lee, Max Smith, Bob Stevens, and Thurl Ravenscroft. The group also provided the vocals in many of the Disney films and theme park attractions.

ºoº Legendary voice artist Paul Frees -- known to many as Boris Badenov from "The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show"-- is the attraction's narrator, or "Ghost Host." He also provided the voices for most of the rogues in Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean attraction.

Everyday, Disney fans send dozens of questions for Disney Chief Archivist Dave Smith. Here are Dave's answers to your questions. Check back every day for a new post with a new question.

Dave Smith (born October 13, 1940) was the Walt Disney Archives founder and chief archivist which is located in the Frank G. Wells Building at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California. He joined the company June 22, 1970. Forty years later, on July 2010, he retired.

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