Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Haunted Mansion - Pirates of the Caribbean Connection (Parte the Firste)

Greetings candles, light your pumpkins and get ready for a convoluted trip through the psyche of a fan.
In a previous post I mentioned that the Haunted Mansion (HM) and the Pirates of the Caribbean (POTC) are often related to one another by fans, despite having no actual connection in Disney scripting.  Many resources (again see the previous post for some of those resources) will point to possible scripts that were scrapped but left echos in the portraits or bits, bobs and props around the mansion.  I also talked about how the rides are spiritually linked in the minds of fans all over.  In this installment I'd like to provide an excellent example of how fans link these two rides.
Starting in autumn 2005 and continuing for many months into 2006, the publishing house Slave Labor Graphics (SLG) published a comic book anthology series entitled "Haunted Mansion".  Each issue featured a number of shorts "Inspired by the classic Disney attraction" written and illustrated by various talented artists in the comics field.  The series lasted for 7 issues before being cancelled, sadly.  A 6 part story (one installment per issue) formed the arc of the first 6 issues, with the 7th launching a new direction that, unfortunately, never materialized.  Dan Vado and an ever-changing guest artist produced the installment tale entitled "The Mystery of the Manse" in which Mr. Vado attempts to create a single, concise origin story for the HM, it's Ghost Host, various famous residents (such as Madame Leota and the Bride) and ties it all into the POTC via Lafitte's Landing (this is the New Orleans HM and POTC, I should point out).
Cover of Haunted Mansion #1 from SLG
A little peek into the interior
This scan of the first page of the first installment of the Mystery of the Manse introduces the Ghost Host, who will narrate the tale
The story starts by identifying the Ghost Host as the body hanging in the attic and confirming that this is Master Gracey himself.  Yes, we have proof that such is NOT the case per Disney WOG (Long Forgotten is a great resource for this info, so do please check it out), but this is about what the fans believe, not what a post Walt WED group wants us to believe.
The story starts with the Ghost Host identifying himself as Master William Gracey, first mate on the Pomona sailing under Captain Randall Pace.  The Pomona is caught in a storm, Gracey discovers that their cargo is actually firearms and that Captain Pace has become a gunrunner without bothering to tell the crew.  A mast breaks free and Pace is caught up in the rigging.  Gracey beheads him and stuffs his head into a convenient hatbox.  Gracey then assumes a new identity as Captain Blood and becomes a pirate.  In this first installment Dan Vado manages to bring in the POTC, Ghost Host-Gracey connection and the elusive Hatbox Ghost in just a few short pages.  This is not Disney canon and is not even one of the original abandoned scripts (although elements are there), so what would inspire Dan to go this route?
Without being able to speak to Mr. Vado personally, I must employ conjecture.  Mr. Vado, as the owner of SLG, really put his heart into that story, I can tell by reading it (and re-reading it).  He taps into what fans of the HM and POTC rides feel inside, that spiritual connection these two greatest of dark rides share.  For true fans of both not only are they connected in spirit, the SHOULD be connected in theme and story.  Where else would the pirates go to retire once they have shuffled off their mortal coils?  Why just over from Lafitte's Landing to the Gracey Manor, of course!
When we continue the story, in an upcoming post, you will see how Mr. Vado further plumbs the depths of both the POTC and HM lore, putting together a story FOR THE FANS...which is how it should be (WED monkeys take note).

Until next time, keep your pumpkins lit.

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