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Heroes of the Haunted Mansion: Yale Gracey

Yale Gracey joined the Disney Company in 1939 as a layout artist. He worked on “Pinocchio,” “Fantasia” and “the Three Caballeros.” In 1959, Walt Disney set Gracey up with Rolly Crump and gave them a large room on the second floor of the animation building. They were instructed to come up with effects for the Haunted Mansion.

As the son of an American Consul, Gracey grew up in various places and had to learn to entertain himself. He filled his days with “Popular Mechanics’ and the book set called “Boy Mechanic.” He also practiced magic.

Gracey had no formal training in special effects, but his curiosity often led to him building miniatures to see if he could get an effect to work. According to Bob Gurr (Kurtti, p. 72), Gracey was given the time and space to tinker without deadlines, and Walt was fine with whatever new thing Gracey invented.

Gracey projected the face of the Magic Mirror on everything in the room one day. It led to the development of the Madame Leota effect (Kurtti, p. 73). Gracey also put the Pepper’s Ghost effect to use in the Haunted Mansion to create the Ballroom scene. Gracey died under mysterious circumstances in 1983.

Gracey tried to do new things. He tinkered, and he followed his curiosity. You can do the same thing. Follow your curiosity and create something new.

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.

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Check out my Interview at the Sweep Spot!

Haunted Mansion Is Creativity cover

I was interviewed by Ken Pellman and Lynn Barron from The Sweep Spot for “The Haunted Mansion Is Creativity!” My newest book uses the history and structure of the Haunted Mansion, just in time for its 50th anniversary, to illustrate creativity principles.

Ken and Lynn are former cast members from Disneyland. The Sweep Spot is a podcast that talks about all things Disney, including current events. The two hosts have written “Cleaning the Kingdom” and will be releasing their second book “Cleaning the Kingdom: Night, Day Past and Present” on July 17. Visit their website and check out their books, t-shirts and Patreon.

During Podcast 263, I am at about the 30-minute mark for stories about the Haunted Mansion, Journey Into Imagination and creativity. After my interview is Alastair Dallas, author of “Inventing Disneyland.” Check out the podcast and get some books!

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Second Chance Books in Independence, OR, Hosts Local Author

Professor Penguin studies for greater knowledge.

On Saturday, June 22, 2019 from 10 am to 2 pm, Shad Engkilterra will be signing copies of his books in front of Second Chance Books on Main Street in Independence from 10 am to 2 pm. Shad has written nine books for all ages; come by and check out the books that are right for you.

For children of all ages, “There Are No Penguins in Alaska” offers the opportunity to color while learning about the animals that people find in Alaska. The humor at the end will keep you smiling.

For those from 8 to 11 and for fans of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, the Adventures on the Amur series is two great adventure stories that take place in Far East Russia. Explore a little history and enjoy Steve and Irina’s adventures as they search for the Lost Treasure of Nikolai Nikolaevich or learn firsthand about the Curse of the Golden Kopeck.

For those in high school or older, “The Pirate Union” finds out what would happen if bureaucracy regulated pirate activities. This comedy with a 1990’s sensibility promises magic, puns, and fun as the crew of the Jolly Rogue tries to find out what the nefarious P.U. is up to.

Want to know what it was like growing up poor in the 1980s? “My Life in the Projects” is the mostly true story of how I survived living in government housing as a child.

For nonfiction fans, “Disneyland Is Creativity” and “the Haunted Mansion Is Creativity” offer looks at Disneyland and the Haunted Mansion with an eye toward creativity principles. Take a tour of the Happiest place on Earth and let Walt’s dream bring you greater joy and inspiration through greater creativity, or go through the Haunted Mansion as your Ghost Host leads you on a tour of the beloved attraction while materializing habits to become more creative.

If you need a bathroom reader or are looking for activities to improve your creativity and life, “Penguinate! Essays and Short Stories” and “Penguinate! The Disney Company” are the books for you. These collections of short stories and essays provide suggestions for activities to do after each section. Penguinating is the power of positive creativity.