Through sight and sound and faceless terror Through endless corridors by trial and error Ahead a blazing light does burn And one door leads to the point of return.
These are the opening words at the Haunted Mansion at Magic Kingdom and Disneyland, right?
No, these are the words the Ghost Host (Paul Frees) speaks:
When hinges creak in doorless chambers And strange and frighening sounds echo through the halls Whenever candlelights flicker and the air is deathly still That is the time when ghosts are present Practicing their terror in ghoulish delight.
What about the other words? They seem so similar.
Dark Shadows fans will immediately recognize the verse as part of the infamous Dream Curse, one of the story arcs in the popular ABC daytime horror/fantasy soap opera. It's not considered one of the best storylines in the series, as it's a pretty cheesy plot (and I really like the show). The dreams are kind of funny rather than terrifying and they begin on Volume 7 of the Dark Shadows Collection DVD series.
The first time viewers heard these words were on April 24, 1968. The Haunted Mansion opened on August 9, 1969. Could the Disney Imagineers been influenced by a hit TV show that a lot of people were watching over a year before the attraction opened?
If you're a fan of the beloved 1963 Hayley Mills / Burl ives movie -- and happen to be in the Morristown, Tennessee area this weekend (it's an hour's drive north of Knoxville) -- you might get to experience the world's first musical stage adaptation of Walt Disney's Summer Magic: Flittering from Film to Footlights.
The original 1963 Summer Magic was a warm family comedy/drama highlighted by songs by Disney Legends Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman. The show's creators, Jerry Maloy and Jim Hollifield, adapted it into a full musical by expanding the original score of seven tunes (including the worldwide favorite, "Ugly Bug Ball") to 24 songs, including selections from the Sherman classics, The Happiest Millionaire and The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band.
But here's the thing: after this weekend it may disappear forever! Disney Theatrical Group has granted permission to produce Summer Magic as a nonprofit, limited staging in cooperation with the Newport Theatre Guild and the Morristown Theatre Guild. So these may be the only performances.
Special events are also part of the excitement. This Friday, June 22 at 7 p.m. the Summer Magic performance will be preceded by a special panel hosted by Stacia Martin. Friday's special guests will be Disney Legend Richard M. Sherman and film star Eddie Hodges, sharing behind-the-scenes memories. Richard's lovely wife, Elizabeth, Disney Legend Mary Costa (voice of Princess Aurora), Disney author/artist Russell Schroeder and Disney author/vice president Howard E. Green are also scheduled to attend on Friday evening.
Saturday, June 23 at 7 p.m., Richard Sherman will kick off the evening with a lively Q&A session, followed by the live show.
Starring in all three weekend performances, (including a Sunday 2:30 p.m. matinee) will be Kathy Garver (Cissy of TV's Family Affair) on stage in the role of Mother Carey!
Walt Disney's Summer Magic: Flittering from Film to Footlights will appear at the Morristown campus of Walters State Community College. For ticket information, call 423-586-9260 or visit morristowntheatreguild.com.
Last Saturday, Tinker Bell and Terence joined folks from Epcot and DisneyToon Studios for the unveiling of a winning "fairy house" created by 15-year old Zoe P., of Frazier Park, Calif. She and her sister submitted drawings and the winner was able to create an actual one with the assistance of Walt Disney World Horticulture Cast Members. Her whole family were invited to enjoy the festivities.
That's Epcot VP Dan Cockerell on the far right with Bradley Raymond and Helen Kalafatic, Director and Producer of the upcoming DVD feature, Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue, which will be released this Fall. One of the iconic set pieces of the film, an oatmeal box that serves as the fairy house 9-year-old Lizzie builds -- and Tinker Bell enters -- has been added to the Pixie Hollow play and activity area at the current International Epcot Flower and Garden Festival.
Producer Sean Lurie (pictured) and Director Klay Hall were in Florida yesterday at a nice little grand opening ceremony for the new Pixie Hollow garden at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. The fairies themselves made a special appearance, with Epcot VP Dan Cockerell, but will return to Magic Kingdom where they "live," while topiaries of each as well as nice settings and activities will be part of the Epcot feature.
Tink's doing a sort of Joey Heatherton pose here. Lurie and Hall were promoting the second of four Disney Fairies animated features; the upcoming one is called Tinker Bell and The Search for Curly's Gold (just kidding, it's Tinker Bell and The Lost Treasure).