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We got Table A1 at Lilac City Comicon 2019

Booth set up for Lilac City Comicon
Booth set up for Lilac City Comicon

Lilac City Comicon 2019 released its floor plan for their June 1 and 2 extravaganzas in Spokane. Penguinate.com got table A1! We’re like a steak sauce! Or maybe we just make the grade. Either way, we’re super excited to have an amazing table. But we’re not the only ones who are excited…

Our penguins haven’t been able to keep themselves quiet since they heard about our next adventure. Penny Penguin has been wanting to fly for a long time now. Since she is our most traveled penguin, she’s taken on the fathering role of making sure all the younger penguins know what’s going to happen. They’ve packed their bags – mostly, fish – and create a commotion every time we go to the door to leave the house. (They have no sense of time, so they think every day is THE day.) For every penguin that gets adopted, we will send $1 to the Global Penguin Society.

marching penguins
marching penguins

I am personally excited because Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion is turning 50 this year and I will be presenting “Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion: 50 Years of Creativity.” This panel will highlight principles of creativity using the Haunted Mansion as our guide. Be prepared for stories about the Haunted Mansion and we’ll have a swinging wake!

This will also be the first time I get to present my new book to the world. “The Haunted Mansion Is Creativity” is a tour of the Haunted Mansion and a look at its history. I use those events and the structure of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion to illustrate principles of creativity. If you want to be creative and love the Haunted Mansion, this is the book for you.

Of course, I will bring my other books. You can see a list here and preorder for Lilac City Comicon, so you don’t have to worry about books or penguins being sold out. Ask us about our motivational posters, photos of Disneyland, and Russian lobby cards (mini-movie posters from Russia).

Good news, if you’ve made it this far, then you’re in the know. We’re going to have a secret giveaway… But for now, it’s a secret… Stay tuned to this blog for more information. (You can sign up in the corner for notifications.)

We’re looking forward to a great con! Come by and say “Hi!”

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The Secrets of Creativity: Play (and the Haunted Mansion)

Disneyland's Haunted Mansion

When Walt Disney assigned Yale Gracey and Rolly Crump to the Haunted Mansion, he gave them time and space to play. Gracey and Crump were assigned to come up with ideas and effects for the Disneyland attraction. They would come into the studio and work on whatever they felt like. As Marty Sklar put it in the forward to Jason Surrell’s “The Haunted Mansion: Imagineering a Disney Classic,” “Yale and Rolly Crump, especially, were free to experiment, to try out their wildest haunting ideas… to ‘play ghost’ if you will.”

They came up with so many different, convincing effects that they received a call from Personnel asking them to leave the lights on for the janitor when they left for the night. Gracey and Crump complied, but rigged an infrared sensor in the middle of the room. When triggered, the lights turned off, the black light came on, and the effects activated. They arrived the next morning into find a broom in the middle of the room. Later that day, they were told they would have to clean the room themselves; the janitor would not go back in the room.

Gracey and Crump kept a playful attitude, worked with humor and were open to new ideas while they designed, researched and tested the effects for the Haunted Mansion. Their play made the Haunted Mansion the classic attraction it is today.

Playing can help you become more creative. When you play, mistakes become a part of the story and you can’t fail. You free your mind to explore possibilities and new ideas while limiting your inhibitions. R2-D2 builder Tony Dyson believed that play was an important part of the creative mode.

For more on creativity, preorder “The Haunted Mansion Is Creativity.” Get “Disneyland Is Creativity.” Order “Penguinate! Essays and Short Stories.” For more on the Disney Company, order “Penguinate! The Disney Company.”

Join us at Lilac City Comicon 2019 and Ogden UnCon 2019 to experience our panel “The Haunted Mansion: 50 Years of Creativity.” Make sure you tell them penguinate.com sent you!

To read more about play and other secrets to creativity, join our Patreon.

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Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion, Storytelling and Ken Anderson

Disneyland's Haunted Mansion

Walt Disney turned to Ken Anderson to work on the Haunted Mansion in the late 1950s. There had been other concepts before, usually one or two drawings and not much else. Anderson got to work and began coming up with stories for the mansion, which he referred to as the “ghost house.” Anderson came up with the design based on a building in Baltimore, and he came up with several different stories, especially suited for a walk-through.

There was Captain Gore, who killed his bride when she found out that he was an infamously blood-thirsty pirate; she haunted him until he hanged himself. There was the Blood family, whose ancestral home where they all died was transplanted at Disneyland. Anderson worked on various effects and storylines within those concepts, including one with the Headless Horseman and naïve guides, but none of them worked for Walt. The Haunted Mansion resisted cohesive story-telling.

Instead, it needed to be more like the Pirates of the Caribbean, which wasn’t developed at the time Anderson was working on the Haunted Mansion. Walt told his imagineers to think of Pirates like a cocktail party. People wouldn’t be able to hear all of the conversations going on. This was a good thing because it meant that they would have to come back to see it again. That approach worked for the Haunted Mansion, too.

While the façade of the Haunted Mansion was completed in 1963, the attraction wouldn’t open until August 9, 1969. The years it spent in development and the amount of time the mansion stood empty only worked in favor of Disneyland where it opened to large crowds and earned the hearts of millions of guests.

Celebrate 50 years of the Haunted Mansion with us and preorder “The Haunted Mansion Is Creativity.” A wholly unauthorized look at the history of the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland and what it can help us learn about becoming more creative.