Backstory is a tough thing for me to choose a side on. On the one hand, I love the disconnected pieces and individual stories each ghost must have; but on the other hand, well, I like trying to find things that connect them all together. (Hence why I started my still unfinished story. [Update on that: I lost my only copy of the manuscript. I was doing it by hand because it was easier, and now....sigh. I have to start over. HBG, are you indexing the other two threads, or would you possibly know where in what thread my little homespun Leota verses might be? The rest I can rewrite but I want those back.]) I think subtleties are best when it comes to incorporating master theming in the ride. Case in point, the Constance/George portraits. It wasn't until one of us went "Hey wait, isn't that...?" that we all realized the connection. Not that the change should be made, but I'd love to see the ballroom redone to be a wedding reception. Granted, that changes the entire ride, but if it could be done in a sly way...the cake to a wedding cake with the Birthday Girl* blowing the miniature groom off of the top of the cake....a banner of some sort that says "just married"....a pile of presents in the corner....The transition would be extremely easy, but again, something that would be better off undone.
*I have a friend who got a copy of a 1975 operating guide for the Mansion and who let me have a look at it. In it there is an explanation of each scene and descriptions of the characters, effects, etc. There were a few things that I found interesting:
--The endless hallway is described as being more of an impending doom thing than the house transforming itself. It says something along the lines of the hallway "beckons guests towards their doom" or something similar.
--Leota is spelled Liotta. Yes, like Ray Liotta.
--The Birthday Girl ghost is called the Ghostess in the OG. Really! I'd put up scans if the person let me, but alas, I don't think he will.
So yeah. Interesting little tidbits there.