Legacy Content

Disneyland's Haunted Mansion Event - Part II
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X. Atencio

“Now, X” O’Day begins,  you worked on Pirates of the Caribbean and we know Walt was very involved in the Pirates of the Caribbean. How involved was Walt in the Haunted Mansion?” X. Atencio responds, “…he wasn’t around much to see the finished product. He wasn’t involved nearly as much as Pirates.” 

O’Day continues, “Now wasn’t there some kind of big controversy about whether the Haunted Mansion should be really scary or should it be a funny show?”

X. Atencio answers "Hench had worked with the Japanese type of scary things…people without heads, eyes coming out…the funny won out…Some sketches of a one-eyed black cat who was going to be the host but that didn’t work out. Then the raven was going to be the host and he was going through the ride but the mechanics didn’t quite work. So when I wrote the script I did it tongue-in-cheek, the same way with the Grim Grinning Ghosts. These are ghosts that come out to socialize not to terror. Buddy’s music really continued with that same theme.”

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Buddy Baker

Turning to Buddy Baker, O'Day asks, "Buddy, what were your thoughts going into the music?"

Buddy explains, "My first thought was to make it a little spooky but tongue-in-cheek, not to make it too scary. So after I got X’s lyric and started working on it…It was a device to tie the whole story together...To give you an example of the number of tracks we had, back in 1965 RCA came up with quadraphonic sound, that’s double stereo. And I had to do a show for RCA in quadraphonic sound, four tracks. At the Studio I had 142 tracks synchronized for this Haunted Mansion alone…They asked me at RCA, “Do you think you can handle this four track?” ..At one time there were 342 tracks…In the graveyard sequence we had the greatest singers in the recording business. But I told them just a little bit nuts, don’t sing it straight.”

"How long did it take to put the song together, the score and all that?"  Tim asks.

Buddy with a large smile replies, " You’re asking me to remember something from 30 years ago"  He pauses for a moment glancing over at the other panelists and responds,“2 to 3 months.