Heroes of the Haunted Mansion: Rolly Crump

At about the 7-minute mark: Rolly and his Museum of the Weird.

Walt Disney assigned Rolly Crump to work with Yale Gracey on the Haunted Mansion in 1959. Rolly maintains that he learned a lot from Yale during their time together. They were given a room on the second floor of the animation building, and they had a year to develop illusions specifically for the Haunted Mansion.

Rolly came to Walt’s attention when Ward Kimball told Walt about Rolly’s propeller sculptures. IN 1964, Rolly would apply his knowledge of kinetic sculptures to the “Tower of the Four Winds” for the 1964-65 World’s Fair.

Rolly’s Haunted Mansion concepts were considered too weird by his fellow imagineers. Walt, however, thought they could be used in a spillover area where guests could interact with a chair that talked, the melting candleman, or a coffin-styled grandfather clock. Rolly also came up with a concept for a haunted gypsy cart. Walt called it the “Museum of the Weird.” The concept failed to materialize after Walt’s death.

Rolly and Yale were giving time and freedom to do what they wanted with their day. The created the illusions that are part of one of the most beloved attractions at Disneyland. Even though the Museum of the Weird never materialized, Rolly’s willingness to try new things made him a great imagineer. You can follow his example and try new things, too!

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.”

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The ABCs of Creativity: Open

If you want to be more creative, you have to be open. You have to open yourself up to new experiences, new ideas and remain open minded. People are naturally closed. They want to confirm their beliefs and be comfortable, which is counter to creativity. Creativity challenges. Creativity is uncomfortable. Creativity is scary because it leads to change, and no one can really predict where the innovation will take people.

Open to New Experiences

New experiences are the basis of new ideas. Having the same experiences day and day out only leads you to becoming an expert in whatever your experiencing or becoming extremely dull depending on the experience. At some point, you need to step out of your everyday activities and work on something different. It can be as simple as putting together a puzzle or as complicated as taking a zip line in a foreign country where safety rules might be more like suggestions. Even something small like changing the route you take to work is good for your brain.

Open to New Ideas

If you continue to cart around the same ideas day after day, your mind will become stale like a cart full of bread. Your thought processes will mold, and you’ll be faced with the prospect of not being able to feed your mind. New ideas are worth entertaining, they’re worth looking at, and they’re worth evaluating. You may have to discard ideas that don’t work. You may have to discard ideas that you can’t accomplish. You may have to discard ideas because you’re not ready for them, but where you need to discard them to is a journal. Capture all of your ideas by writing them down, and then have new ones.

Open Minded

New experiences and new ideas won’t matter, however, if you go in having already made your judgement about them. You have to have an open mind to the experience and to the idea in order for it to be able to grow. If you shut it down to soon, it’ll shrivel up, dry out and leave no lasting mark on you. That’s not good for creativity. Open yourself up to the experience, to the new idea and let your creative self flourish.

For more on creativity, order “Disneyland Is Creativity.” Get “Penguinate! Essays and Short Stories.” Preorder “The Haunted Mansion Is Creativity.”