October 24, 2017

HALLOWEEN TAPE REVIEW #24: A Spooky Night in Disney's Haunted Mansion

Title: A Spooky Night in Disney's Haunted Mansion
Manufacturer: Walt Disney Records
Year: 1998
Total Runtime: 25 Min
Repeats on both sides: No
Stories: One long story
Music: "Grim Grinning Ghosts" can be heard during the story
Narration: Yes
Distinct Audio: N/A
Review:  A Spooky Night in Disney's Haunted Mansion is an adaptation of the Haunted Mansion ride as seen through the eyes of two original characters, Mike and Karen (played by Ron Howard and Robie Lester). Originally released in 1969 on LP as The Story and Song from The Haunted Mansion, Disney made the odd decision to reissue this remastered version exclusively on cassette in 1998, though the format was already passe. The CD didn't come out for another eleven years.

No matter which version, this album is a dream come true for Haunted Mansion fans, especially those disappointed that Disney's Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House (1964) has no connection to the ride. Paul Frees' original narration from the dark ride has been split into two parts on the album: the Narrator performed by the legendary Thurl Ravenscroft, and the Ghost Host voiced by Pete Reneday. I miss Frees, but I can't pretend that Reneday's Ghost Host isn't more genuinely chilling than the original. He's got a cold, morose quality that caused me to switch off the album when I was a kid hearing it for the first time. (Only to return to the self-torture soon after.)

I listened to an abridged version of the story (on a Donald Duck record called Trick or Treat) for many years before I grew the courage to experience the attraction. My intimate knowledge of the record only enhanced my first ride. It was like visiting an exotic land after studying it for a lifetime.

I can't objectively talk about A Spooky Night in Disney's Haunted Mansion. To me it is a warm, swirling stew of childhood, history, and horror.

Rating: 5 of 5


Anonymous said...

Great childhood memories - Thank You!

Unknown said...

Gotta love that Thurl! Ravencroft was THE MAN!