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Haunted Mansion to Return with New Enhancements and Magic :(

Animaniac93-98

Well-Known Member
So are you saying Marc Davis created the concept art for all of the changing portraits that George shared?


EDIT: I’ve never noticed Hatchet Man? Has he always been there?

Yes. Basically they're all discarded concepts for changing portraits. Marc did dozens, but only 5 ended up at Disneyland due to space and some simply being better than others.

Then for WDW's Mansion, the Portrait Hallway was redesigned with solid, windowless walls that allowed for 11 pictures to be hung (5 on either side of the hall, 1 above the doorway at the end). Due to the speed of the Buggies (you ride through this scene instead of walk), it was decided to replace the changing effect with one where the eyes would follow you, similar to the busts (which WDW got more of too, to fill shelf space in the new Library scene).

This hallway scene was changed in 2007 to be more like Disneyland's with windows showing a thunderstorm on one side and changing portraits on the other. Most of the Sinister 11 were moved to elsewhere in the ride with their eye effect removed.

Tokyo's Mansion is largely a copy of the 1971 WDW original with only minor revisions, including the decision to hang those same portraits at odd angles. Nightmare Before Christmas characters replace them for that ride's Holiday version.
 

raven24

Well-Known Member
I know those ones are there. I was referring to the ones I had never seen before. Whoever posted those few before George on a Bench posted all of them.

So since reading your post, I went back to take a closer look and the art style really isn’t all that different. I looked at them very quickly on my phone and didn’t even enlarge them. So my educated guess on why I’m not in love with the other portraits is because naturally, the best of them were chosen (or created) for the Disneyland Mansion and because of familiarity. I was mostly “offended” by this one that caught most of my attention....

View attachment 557828


So are you saying Marc Davis created the concept art for all of the changing portraits that George shared?


EDIT: I’ve never noticed Hatchet Man? Has he always been there?
Yeah, this portrait ain't it. I'm glad it's not in Disneyland's Mansion.
 

Ne'er-Do-Well Cad

Well-Known Member
Improved lighting doesn't necessarily mean increased brightness - much of the DL Mansion has been too brightly lit for some time now, and it sounds like they've refocused a lot of lighting to highlight the elements meant to be seen and let the darkness return to the parks that should be unseen.

That said, being SO dark that you can't see things is itself a problem - but perhaps this person had just come in from being out in the bright sun and didn't have enough time for their eyes to adjust to the darkness. That happens on a lot of dark rides. It's especially likely if they took the Servant's Entrance rather than the Stretch Room, which gives you more time to adjust.

Well said; completely agree. Seems like I misinterpreted the original comment. If this new measure of darkness conceals the backstage stuff while making the show elements more visible, then of course that's fantastic news. Can't wait to see it in person (especially the loading area, where lighting has been so problematic in the past).
 

Sharon&Susan

Well-Known Member
So are you saying Marc Davis created the concept art for all of the changing portraits that George shared?
Yep, here's the concept art version of that one in particular:
1621139456893.png
 

AL2000HS

Well-Known Member
Thank you - Like, what they DID deliver is totally solid, but we just needed more of it to complete the scene.

Though, jury's still out for me on that Cat statue. It seems so random and doesn't really contribute much to either the lore of the house or the look of the scene. The placement made me think this was sort of a "last warning" before we got on the ride, suggesting we should beware the Cat who might pop up somewhere along the way . . . but it doesn't, so there's really no "there" there.

They were already redoing the Pet Cemetery, that seems like that would have been the perfect place to leave a nod to the One-Eyed Black Cat and call it a day.
When I first saw pictures I thought it was a new staring bust but turns out I was wrong. I think that would have been a better fit.
 

BayouShack

Well-Known Member
I don’t know. The art style of those WDW portraits remind me the original DL Stretching Room portraits. Because of all the wear and tear from all that stretching, those paintings were painted every few years, using the previous set as a guideline, and each gradual change adds up to a pretty big difference.
BF76C209-E789-440F-B471-DC880E3327E6.jpeg

11AD2EB7-B2A3-4616-94D2-5D90B8934834.jpeg
 

mickEblu

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I don’t know. The art style of those WDW portraits remind me the original DL Stretching Room portraits. Because of all the wear and tear from all that stretching, those paintings were painted every few years, using the previous set as a guideline, and each gradual change adds up to a pretty big difference.View attachment 557840
View attachment 557841

I’m a huge fan of Marc Davis but I’ll be honest I’ve always been a bigger fan of what those stretching room portraits evolved into. I suspect part of it is just that those are the ones I grew up with but I like how they are little more toned down and not so much like caricatures. I think they are more fitting of the first half of the Mansion which has a scarier tone.

And at the end of the day it’s still his genius work/ concept art.
 
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mickEblu

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
To be fair, it's not that different from the idea of the old widow stretching portrait if a bit more direct (probably the reason why it was cut from Disneyland). Marc Davis really seemed to like the lady killing her spouse concept:
View attachment 557839

View attachment 557842

I meant “disturb” is in there’s just something about that guys face that really bugs me. Haha.
 

BayouShack

Well-Known Member
I’m a huge fan of Marc Davis but I’ll be honest I’ve always been a bigger fan of what those stretching room portraits evolved into. I suspect part of it is just that those are the ones I grew up with but I like how they are little more toned down and so much like caricatures. I think they are more fitting of the first half of the Mansion which has a scarier tone.
I don’t disagree with that! I can’t even imagine the original paintings in the stretching room, they feel wrong.

Anyone want to make a GIF fading between the original and current versions of each portrait ala the pre-lightning changing portrait gallery? 😅
 

Sharon&Susan

Well-Known Member
On a side topic about the stretching room portraits, it's very interesting how we know very little we know about the initial concepts for them unlike the changing portraits. All that I know of are some initial sketches of the Parasol Lady from the usually comprehensive Marc Davis in his Own Words, which along with the final tightrope alligator version also shows the lady balancing on something in a bucket (?), a different lady being scared of a mouse (Lame!), and her balancing on the top of a pole on a building, presumably the Mansion (interesting, but doesn't really read as being an immediate threat as the final portrait).

I really doubt that Davis hit it out of the park immediately with the other 3, but I could be wrong.
 

yensidtlaw1969

Well-Known Member
In the Parks
No
When I first saw pictures I thought it was a new staring bust but turns out I was wrong. I think that would have been a better fit.
That's part of what seems odd to me - if they wanted this stretch of the Load Area to sort of echo the Changing Portrait Hall that came before, then there's logic to the idea of hanging Paintings on the wall and having Sculptures at the end of it. But . . . one Changing Portrait isn't enough to fill the whole wall, even if she's a classic, and after the fantastic payoff of the Staring Busts at the end of the previous hall the Cat statue isn't nearly as interesting, meaningful, or effective in capping the new "scene".

One blinking red LED light in the eye isn't enough to make it compelling - and actually, I'd probably argue that does more to zap it of intrique than add it. It's too cheap a trick for The Haunted Mansion, since it's neither convincing nor clever. The glowing red eyes in the raven at least have the animation of the figure carrying it further along, and the cheapness of something like a Popup Ghost is outweighed by the fact that it is at least geniunely startling (and a nice throwback to the roots of the Dark Ride form). The Cat figure just kinda feels like exactly what it is.

I'd mind it a little less if they had added an appearance or two of a One-Eyed Black Cat to the actual ride itself - that OC Register article sort of made me think they were gonna do that. There's some Edgar Allan Poe references that could be made that would cozy right up with the environs of the Mansion. Imagine if a gleaming, red eye appeared to be materializing out of the mists in Madame Leota's Seance Circle where the Green Ectoplasm used to glow . . . and if you passed by a hole in the wall between the Ballroom and the Attic and caught a glipse of something lurking within letting out a low growl . . . and, are those . . . teeth? Maybe we SHOULD have heeded the "warning" about the Cat before we got in our Doombuggies . . .

This is X. Atencio's concept art for the One Eyed Black Cat that he did back in the day. Any sort of effect suggesting the presence of this spirit would have been fine with me, since by then you'd actually be realizing it instead of making a sort of limp nod to the fact that, like, the idea existed once?

One Eyed Black Cat Atencio.jpeg
 
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SuddenStorm

Well-Known Member
This discussion is reminding me of how different themed design was back in the '60s. I mean, the Haunted Mansion is pure art- the influences, the effects used. It's many iterations in development.

Modern themed design doesn't come close. So it makes sense that a modern addition- like Constance, or the weird cat statue would seem out of place alongside the work done in the '60s.
 

yensidtlaw1969

Well-Known Member
In the Parks
No
This discussion is reminding me of how different themed design was back in the '60s. I mean, the Haunted Mansion is pure art- the influences, the effects used. It's many iterations in development.

Modern themed design doesn't come close. So it makes sense that a modern addition- like Constance, or the weird cat statue would seem out of place alongside the work done in the '60s.
It's funny, too, because the artform was so nascent then - you would think that all the years of experience and understanding that have come since would inform what can be done, taking things to the next level. Instead, it's almost as if the Mansion's development dragged for so long and then was so rushed that all anyone could hope to do was just operate on pure creative instinct. They did all their overthinking upfront, and then threw it out the window.

It's funny that the best thing about this refurb seems to be that the new generation simply returned something that they had also been responsible for taking away. Everything else they actively contributed seems both overthought and underbaked.

I won't pretend there isn't some good and even great work being done today, but you're right. The Haunted Mansion is a masterpiece that is rarely equalled. If ever.
 

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