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  1. #1

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    August 27, 2010: Frightened to Death?

    The Claim: The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland was so scary when it first opened that an early guest suffered a heart attack from fright and died. Disneyland immediately closed the attraction. Several years later, a redesigned, much tamer version reopened.

    Status: False


    Please discuss it here.
    Werner Weiss
    Curator of Yesterland, featuring discontinued Disneyland attractions

  2. #2

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    Re: August 27, 2010: Frightened to Death?

    Very good article, Mr. Weiss!
    Thank you!

  3. #3

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    Re: August 27, 2010: Frightened to Death?

    Absolutely terrific, Werner. I've got that old 1964 map, but I had never seen the old page from the 1961 guidebook. Thanks!
    Mark

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  4. #4

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    Re: August 27, 2010: Frightened to Death?

    Yes, great article!

    While lots of Disneyland mythology is cool, it's also fun to investigate and read about the "real" story.

  5. #5

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    Re: August 27, 2010: Frightened to Death?

    Two words: Hatbox Ghost

    You do need to tell the whole story about changes to the attraction around the time it opened... It is a little more complex a story than this... But it has nothing to do with a heart attack.
    Last edited by cellarhound; 08-27-2010 at 09:27 AM.
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  6. #6

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    Re: August 27, 2010: Frightened to Death?

    Although one popular online site states February 14 as the opening day for Pirates of the Caribbean, the correct date is March 18, 1967. (I'm particularly fond of that event - it happened on my birthday. :-)
    "Life without music would be a mistake." - An unknown, but very wise person

  7. #7

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    Re: August 27, 2010: Frightened to Death?

    Quote Originally Posted by WonderingAlice View Post
    Although one popular online site states February 14 as the opening day for Pirates of the Caribbean, the correct date is March 18, 1967. (I'm particularly fond of that event - it happened on my birthday. :-)
    Disneyland: Inside Story (1987) by Imagineer Randy Bright lists February 1967 as the opening of Pirates of the Caribbean.

    Disney A to Z (1996) by Dave Smith has March 18, 1967 as the date the attraction opened.

    Disneyland: The Nickel Tour (1995) by Gordon and Mumford has April 19, 1967 as the "triumphant official opening."

    On April 20, 1967, the Los Angeles Times ran an article about the opening festivities (presumably the prior day).

    When I get a chance, I'll update the article. But I'm not yet sure what date I'll use or how I'll explain it.
    Werner Weiss
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  8. #8

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    Re: August 27, 2010: Frightened to Death?

    Quote Originally Posted by Werner Weiss View Post
    Disneyland: Inside Story (1987) by Imagineer Randy Bright lists February 1967 as the opening of Pirates of the Caribbean.

    Disney A to Z (1996) by Dave Smith has March 18, 1967 as the date the attraction opened.

    Disneyland: The Nickel Tour (1995) by Gordon and Mumford has April 19, 1967 as the "triumphant official opening."

    On April 20, 1967, the Los Angeles Times ran an article about the opening festivities (presumably the prior day).

    When I get a chance, I'll update the article. But I'm not yet sure what date I'll use or how I'll explain it.

    Cool beans! If it helps further, Disneyland celebrated the official 40th anniversary of PoC on March 18, 2007.
    "Life without music would be a mistake." - An unknown, but very wise person

  9. #9

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    Re: August 27, 2010: Frightened to Death?

    Thanks for the article, Werner. I love reading these and all the articles you write up.

    Quote Originally Posted by WonderingAlice View Post
    Cool beans! If it helps further, Disneyland celebrated the official 40th anniversary of PoC on March 18, 2007.
    Nice to know. Just two months before my first trip to DL and first ride on POTC.

  10. #10

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    Re: August 27, 2010: Frightened to Death?

    Interesting that the 1968 souvenir map displays the show building beyond the berm. Kind of spoils the effect.
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  11. #11

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    Re: August 27, 2010: Frightened to Death?

    The book "The American Amusement Park" has a really interesting picture, taken before the building of the show building, but after the entrance/shell of the "mansion" where you can see the open tunnel under the tracks & through the berm; there's just a bare concrete expanse (already backstage & not a part of the parking lot or any public area at this point) where the show building will be, and it looks like the tunnel area is being used for storage.

    Alas, it was a book I had out of the library, and I think the image must be copyrighted in any case.

  12. #12

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    Re: August 27, 2010: Frightened to Death?

    Great article, as always!

    Maybe we can start to kill some of these silly urban legends by having them in Yesterland and connected with MiceAge.

  13. #13

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    Re: August 27, 2010: Frightened to Death?

    Nice article, but I've got one quibble. It's not quite accurate to describe the 1962 building as an "empty shell." The stretchroom elevators were in there. They were installed when the building first went up. You can see them on 1962 blueprints.

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  14. #14

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    Re: August 27, 2010: Frightened to Death?

    Quote Originally Posted by pineapplewhipaddict View Post
    Great article, as always!

    Maybe we can start to kill some of these silly urban legends
    Dreamer!
    "My mental facilities are twice what yours are, pea brain!"

    The conversation continues at Long-Forgotten, the blog.

  15. #15

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    Re: August 27, 2010: Frightened to Death?

    Quote Originally Posted by HBG2 View Post
    Nice article, but I've got one quibble. It's not quite accurate to describe the 1962 building as an "empty shell." The stretchroom elevators were in there. They were installed when the building first went up. You can see them on 1962 blueprints.

    I agree that "empty shell" is not an accurate was to describe the seemingly complete Haunted Mansion building.

    When the Haunted Mansion was originally started in 1962, plans called for two identical walk-through attractions.

    It makes sense to me that the structure was built with the infrastructure for two large elevators so that there would never be a need to dismantle the building to install elevators. Of course, there are two elevators today, but they go to the same place, not to two separate paths.

    I just don't know the details of what was (and wasn't) in the building during the years that it stood unused. My guess would be that it was only infrastructure, not the finished foyer and stretching rooms.

    Does anyone know more about this?
    Werner Weiss
    Curator of Yesterland, featuring discontinued Disneyland attractions

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