Posted on Leave a comment

Heroes of the Haunted Mansion: Claude Coats

Claude Coats started out in backgrounds in animation; through this experience, he became a master at establishing moods through the use of atmosphere. In the 1950s, Coats designed the building for Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, pioneering the idea of sculpting ideas before they were built. He told imagineer Tony Baxter that Baxter should remain hands on. Drawing can trick people into believing that something can be done. Those same tricks can’t be done to a sculpture.

He worked alongside Marc Davis on the Pirates of the Caribbean, and at the completion of that attraction, he was assigned the Haunted Mansion. While both Coats and Davis wanted to be the headman on the Haunted Mansion, it was there interaction that made the Haunted Mansion a classic attraction. The tension between the two came from their differing ideas about what the Haunted Mansion should be. Coats wanted a scarier attraction. Marc Davis wanted some humor in the attraction.

Walt Disney recognized that Coats had a knack for being able to translate two dimensional images into three dimensions. Coats was also able to lay down tracks that maximized the use of a building’s interior. These talents were put to good use by the Disney Company. Find out what your talents are and find the best way to use them.

Sources: “The Haunted Mansion: Imagineering a Disney Classic” by Jason Surrell.

Walt Disney’s Imagineering Legends and the Genesis of the Disney Theme Park” by Jeff Kurtti.

For more on creativity and the Haunted Mansion, get “The Haunted Mansion Is Creativity” online or at the Candy Cane Inn in Anaheim.

For more on Disneyland and Creativity, order “Disneyland Is Creativity.” For deep thinking about the Disney Company, check out “Penguinate! The Disney Company.”

You can also find more articles about Disney, Disneyland and creativity at our archive website, www.penguinate.weebly.com, and on our blog. If you would like to get even more articles about creativity, join our Patreon and become a Penguinator.

Advertisements
Posted on Leave a comment

Heroes of the Haunted Mansion: Marc Davis

Marc Davis is one of Walt’s Nine Old Men, who worked many of the early films designing characters that included animals from Bambi and Maleficent. When Marc Davis came over to WED, he brought his sense of humor with him. He added humorous scenes to the Jungle Cruise and was one of the main designers of the Pirates of the Caribbean.

When he was brought on to the Haunted Mansion project, he had to struggle with Claude Coats and his design preferences. The two men were equals in the office. Coats wanted a scary Mansion; Davis wanted something funnier. A compromise of sorts was reached, and Coats’ influence can be seen at the beginning of the attraction with Davis’ scenes becoming stronger in the end.

“I think that’s the whole thing with creativity is if there’s something new out there, why not give it a try?” said Marc Davis (Disney Family Album). Use Marc Davis as your motivation and give something new a try.

Sources: “The Haunted Mansion: Imagineering a Disney Classic” by Jason Surrell.

“Disney Family Album #17 – Marc Davis” at https://youtu.be/pVf6DdqkpjU

For more on creativity and the Haunted Mansion, get “The Haunted Mansion Is Creativity” online or at the Candy Cane Inn in Anaheim.

For more on Disneyland and Creativity, order “Disneyland Is Creativity.” For deep thinking about the Disney Company, check out “Penguinate! The Disney Company.”

You can also find more articles about Disney, Disneyland and creativity at our archive website, www.penguinate.weebly.com, and on our blog. If you would like to get even more articles about creativity, join our Patreon and become a Penguinator.

Posted on Leave a comment

My Niece, the Haunted Mansion and Fear

Niece and Minnie at Disneyland

When my oldest niece was about five, my mom and I took her on the Haunted Mansion. We went through the Stretching Room, down the Portrait Gallery and boarded the same Doom Buggy. As we rolled up the stairs and into the mansion, I was getting into it. The Haunted Mansion isn’t scary, but it’s fun to pretend it is.

So, I was taking everything seriously. The armor, the endless hallway with the floating candelabra, the chair that seems to be staring at you. Each new “horror” made me look more fearful. As we rotated to see the body trying to get out of the coffin, my mom hit me in the shoulder.

“Lighten up. You’re scaring your niece,” she whispered at me.

I switched the way I was looking at the mansion and laughed at its humorous elements. I kept smiling through the ride, and my niece had a great time. She wasn’t afraid of no ghosts.

Fortunately, the team of Claude Coats and Marc Davis helped to provide the elements of a frightening atmosphere and comic presentations. (Of course, there are plenty of contributions from other prominent imagineers, like Rolly Crump and his human-like furniture and wallpaper and the effects pioneered by Yale Gracey with Crump.) So, you can see the Haunted Mansion the way you want to. It is the creativity that the team put into the mansion that makes it a classic attraction that everyone loves.

For more on the Haunted Mansion and creativity, preorder “The Haunted Mansion Is Creativity.” You can also get “Disneyland Is Creativity” and “Penguinate! Essays and Short Stories: Improve your Creativity for a Better Life and World.”

For more on the Disney Company, preorder “Penguinate! The Disney Company.”

Posted on 1 Comment

The ABCs of Creativity: Humor

Bertha in the Elephant Bathing Pool

Edward de Bono says that humor involves the same kind of thought process that creativity does. You’re going along one direction and suddenly the punchline moves you in another direction. The same is true of creativity. People think the thought process is in one direction when someone takes it in another. The move to a creative solution looks like a leap to people outside the process.

Humor improves the business environment by taking down a person’s self-monitoring process. People build up walls to protect themselves and their jobs. These walls are made of monitoring and judging what they do and say. Humor takes down those walls and allows people to be more themselves. When inhibitions and self-monitoring are reduced, creativity can flow.

When Marc Davis joined the Disneyland designed team, he worked on the Jungle Cruise. When the attraction opened in 1955, it was a straight attraction. The skippers would take people through the displays as if they were real. Davis added humorous scenes to the attraction and to the spiel. Davis’ humor is what makes the Jungle Cruise a continually popular, classic attraction. Without Davis’ creativity, the Jungle Cruise may have gone the way of other defunct Disneyland attractions.

The more humor you engage in, the more creative you become. Just be sure that the humor gets others to laugh with you and not at them. Joining an improv group can help guide you to greater humor and creative heights.

For more on creativity, get “Disneyland Is Creativity: 25 Tips for Becoming More Creative” and “Penguinate! Essays and Short Stories: Becoming More Creative for a Better Life and World.” Preorder “The Haunted Mansion Is Creativity.