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  • Disneyland History: The Haunted Mansion seance room

    Following up on my thread regarding exploring the real life Caribbean locations used for the attraction, Pirates of the Caribbean, I thought I'd take a closer look at just one section of the Haunted Mansion in some of the Disneyland parks - Madame Leota, and the seance room.

    The word comes from the French word for 'seat', 'session', from Old French seoir, 'to sit.' In English, the word came to be used specifically for a meeting of people to receive spiritualistic messages (a sense first recorded in English in 1845). In French, it is much more general: one can say In this part of the mansion you'll note three things in particular - Madame Leota, a disembodied head projected inside a crystal ball, the musical instruments that spirits play at her command, and a newer effect, the spirit writing and face.

    Madame Leota: Madame Leota's face is that of the late imagineer Leota (Toombs) Thomas, and the voice that of Eleanor Audley, who also provided the voices of other well-known Disney movie characters like Maleficent and Cinderella's stepmother.

    Leota Toombs Thomas, (Leota's Face), and Eleanor Audley, (Leota's Voice)

    Most people know that Leota's head used to be static, that is, stayed in one place, and had an internal projection device. The head was projected internally in 1995, and as of October, 2001, Leota's head has external projection, and moves about the room.



    Madam Leota says the following while in the room:
    Serpents and spiders, tail of a rat
    call in the spirits wherever they're at.
    Rap on a table, it's time to respond,
    send us a message from somewhere beyond.
    Goblins and ghoulies from last Halloween
    awaken the spirits with your tambourine.
    Creepies and crawlies, toads in a pond
    let there be music from regions beyond.
    Wizards and witches wherever you dwell
    give us a hint by ringing a bell...


    http://www.hauntedportraits.com/grap...978216-002.gif

    http://www.hauntedportraits.com/grap...978216-003.gif


    The Musical Instruments: By the mid-1850's, mediums had advanced far beyond just rapping on tables. One of the most famous and successful mediums, Scotsman D. D. Home, had "spirits" play an accordion during seances. Tambourines, drums, even trombones were used to convince an audience that the spirits were present.Scientific AmericanFurther reading:

    "The Haunted Mansion: From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies," by Imagineer Jason Surrell.

    Goldsmith, Barbara, Other Powers: The Age of Suffrage, Spiritualism, and the Scandalous Victoria Woodhull. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998.

    Doombuggies.com and grimgrinning.com are also excellent websites for further information.

  • #2
    Re: Disneyland History: The Haunted Mansion seance room

    Great post!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Disneyland History: The Haunted Mansion seance room

      Madam Leota says the following while in the room:

      Serpents and spiders, tail of a rat
      call in the spirits wherever they're at.
      Rap on a table, it's time to respond,
      send us a message from somewhere beyond.
      Goblins and ghoulies from last Halloween
      awaken the spirits with your tambourine.
      Creepies and crawlies, toads in a pond
      let there be music from regions beyond.
      Wizards and witches wherever you dwell
      give us a hint by ringing a bell...

      that gave me goosebumps!!!


      Originally Posted by Disney Wrassler
      Tassie, I found a quote for ya :lol:!

      "Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia."

      Charles M. Schulz
      Originally Posted by MWalton
      :lol: Did the pages take that long to reach around to your part of the world?!? :lol:

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Disneyland History: The Haunted Mansion seance room

        Great post!

        And for all you trivia fans, let it be known that there used to be a deep purple, shroud-like ghost in the Seance room. It was removed sometime between 1989 and 2005 (sorry, that's the best I can do).

        "My mental facilities are twice what yours are, pea brain!"

        The conversation continues at Long-Forgotten, the blog.



        ......... .....May April March!.....................

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Disneyland History: The Haunted Mansion seance room

          Good Information!! Very Interesting!!
          If you believe, dreams really do come true!!!

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Disneyland History: The Haunted Mansion seance room

            That is some great info! Thanks
            Foolish Mortal
            sigpic

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Disneyland History: The Haunted Mansion seance room

              If you know someone who can get you in, the Magic Castle in Hollywood has a spectacular Houdini seance dinner. The tricks are easy to figure out, but well worth the price.

              More info:

              http://www.magiccastle.com/visiting/seance.cfm

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Disneyland History: The Haunted Mansion seance room

                Originally posted by Frogberto View Post
                This particular room bears the artists marks of two men in particular (who had, it was reported, opposing viewpoints on the mansion as a whole)
                Just nitpicking here, but the fued on the experience guests would have in the Mansion was between Marc Davis and Claude Coats.

                From page 28 of Jason Surrell's The Haunted Mansion: From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies:
                The partnership of Marc Davis and Claude Coats had enjoyed enormous success on Pirates of the Caribbeanm a testament to Walt's unerring knack for building a creative team. Walt knew that combining Marc's brilliant character designs and ingenious sight gags with Claude's strength in backgrounds, layout, and set design would produce greater results than any single artist working alone - a hallmark of Imagineereing philosophy. Before his death, Walt had seen the results firsthand on their collaboration on Pirates, and [Richard] Irvine expected their winning streak to continue.
                The blockbuster success of Pirates, however, led both Marc and Claude to believe that each had earned a bit more autonomy and should be the one to take the creative lead on The Haunted Mansion. So instead of the winning partnership that produced Pirates, the final design of The Haunted Mansion was marked by creative tension between Marc and Claude.
                Their differences in approach also lef to one of the greatest debates to ever take place at WED: should The Haunted Mansion be scary or funny? In one corner were Marc and those who felt that, ghosts being scary to begin with, the show should be lightened up. In the other corner, Claude and other equally vocal designers insisted that guests would expect some serious scares in something called The Haunted Mansion. Ultimately, Marc Davis was able to convince Dick Irvine to turn The Haunted Mansion into more of a comedy show than a horror show.
                Marc and Claude's creative differences resulted in two distinct experiences within the attraction. The first half of the show is all about environment - a testament to Claude's experience as a background artist. It is a little more ominous and scarier with nary a character in sight. The second half of the attraction, in particular the Grand Hall and the Graveyard, is less reliant on strong set design and filled to overflowing with Marc Davis's whimsical characters and sight gags.
                DoomBuggies.com also had a section based on these creative differences as well, but it appears they have since updated the site and included a large section devoted to Marc Davis, which probably repeated a lot of what the previous section included and rendered the Marc-Claude section more repetitive than useful.



                ...Anyway, great thread. Thanks for such an indepth and interesting topic!

                Oh, and:
                You must spread some reputation around before giving it to Frogberto again
                Last edited by MasterGracey; 09-09-2006, 12:55 AM.

                Photos, news, and commentary every week from Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Disneyland History: The Haunted Mansion seance room

                  Wonderful work, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would be proud!
                  "If you don't know how to draw, you don't belong in this building" - John Lasseter 2006

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Disneyland History: The Haunted Mansion seance room

                    Now that was worth the read..thanks!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Disneyland History: The Haunted Mansion seance room

                      Nice post! Something intresting I found out from reading the Book The Huanted Mansion from the magic kingdom to the movies. Is that Leota originally to say something about the raven being the former host of the mansion Until well he was turned into a raven.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Disneyland History: The Haunted Mansion seance room

                        Originally posted by BackIntoYourSystem View Post
                        Nice post! Something intresting I found out from reading the Book The Huanted Mansion from the magic kingdom to the movies. Is that Leota originally to say something about the raven being the former host of the mansion Until well he was turned into a raven.
                        That's right - I didn't include this in this post, but it was in an earlier posting of mine. Originally, the raven was supposed to be the narrator, which is why there's a raven in several key scenes in this attraction. Those plans were scrapped and the "ghost host" was introduced instead.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Disneyland History: The Haunted Mansion seance room

                          Great info Froggy! You must have got a lot of extra credit in school...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Disneyland History: The Haunted Mansion seance room

                            I think you are correct. The interview that one of the websites mentioned had with Claude Coats implied that he fought with everyone on the vision for the mansion, and he still sounds somewhat bitter about it. But all the materials I've read indicate that the major feud was between Marc Davis and Coats. Other than the interview with Coats, I can't find other evidence that he fought with anyone else over what the final product was to be.

                            Originally posted by MasterGracey View Post
                            Just nitpicking here, but the fued on the experience guests would have in the Mansion was between Marc Davis and Claude Coats.

                            From page 28 of Jason Surrell's The Haunted Mansion: From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies:
                            The partnership of Marc Davis and Claude Coats had enjoyed enormous success on Pirates of the Caribbeanm a testament to Walt's unerring knack for building a creative team. Walt knew that combining Marc's brilliant character designs and ingenious sight gags with Claude's strength in backgrounds, layout, and set design would produce greater results than any single artist working alone - a hallmark of Imagineereing philosophy. Before his death, Walt had seen the results firsthand on their collaboration on Pirates, and [Richard] Irvine expected their winning streak to continue.
                            The blockbuster success of Pirates, however, led both Marc and Claude to believe that each had earned a bit more autonomy and should be the one to take the creative lead on The Haunted Mansion. So instead of the winning partnership that produced Pirates, the final design of The Haunted Mansion was marked by creative tension between Marc and Claude.
                            Their differences in approach also lef to one of the greatest debates to ever take place at WED: should The Haunted Mansion be scary or funny? In one corner were Marc and those who felt that, ghosts being scary to begin with, the show should be lightened up. In the other corner, Claude and other equally vocal designers insisted that guests would expect some serious scares in something called The Haunted Mansion. Ultimately, Marc Davis was able to convince Dick Irvine to turn The Haunted Mansion into more of a comedy show than a horror show.
                            Marc and Claude's creative differences resulted in two distinct experiences within the attraction. The first half of the show is all about environment - a testament to Claude's experience as a background artist. It is a little more ominous and scarier with nary a character in sight. The second half of the attraction, in particular the Grand Hall and the Graveyard, is less reliant on strong set design and filled to overflowing with Marc Davis's whimsical characters and sight gags.
                            DoomBuggies.com also had a section based on these creative differences as well, but it appears they have since updated the site and included a large section devoted to Marc Davis, which probably repeated a lot of what the previous section included and rendered the Marc-Claude section more repetitive than useful.



                            ...Anyway, great thread. Thanks for such an indepth and interesting topic!

                            Oh, and:
                            You must spread some reputation around before giving it to Frogberto again

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Disneyland History: The Haunted Mansion seance room

                              Awesome information, you rock!

                              Comment

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