The Haunted Mansion has always been a source of delight for the gothier Disney fans. The bleak, dark — well, as dark as Disney can get without clutching their pearls — Mansion full of ghosts and specters is not only a park favorite. It’s also one of the better refuge rides for the hot summer sun.
The seasons are changing and the weather with it. Autumn will be upon us, which means that the Haunted Mansion’s all dolled up for Halloween- the annual “The Nightmare Before Christmas” theming, specifically.
And this time around, guests have spotted a tribute, albeit small, to Rolly Crump this year. One of Crump’s illustrations, known as the Candle Man, is now inside the mansion as a tiny, but fully-realized, statue!
It’s too bad Crump’s aesthetic isn’t spread more evenly throughout the mansion. Clearly a lover of the macabre, Crump became notorious for his terrifying illustrations. Enough that the Disney janitors apparently refused to clean his office.
Walt Disney himself said he had nightmares after viewing Crump’s mansion mock-up. Having a truly terrifying attraction as the Haunted Mansion didn’t seem to be in the cards. While many a carnival has haunted houses, apparently the idea of an attraction with the full intention to scare was abhorrent to many who viewed Disneyland as a park specifically for childhood magic. Not fright. So the Imagineers settled on a happy medium between mild unease and funny. Loving Crump’s work, though, Disney wanted to have a “Museum of the Weird” attraction at the end of the ride. Guests would walk through it on their way out. Unfortunately Walt’s death prevented this from ever happening.
A Nod To Crump’s Legacy
The presence of the Candle Man in the ride this year is clearly a tribute to Crump, who died this year at the age of 93. He was one of the original Imagineers of the park. It is a shame the Candle Man isn’t given a more prescient place to stand out in the attraction. [Editor’s note: We HIGHLY suggest watching “The Imagineering Story” on Disney+ for a more in-depth look at some of these incredible early designs.]
He looks a little like a 3-D printed souvenir. But we suppose that’s the point of an easter egg. To be spotted by a discerning eye. It’s a sweet nod to Crump’s contributions. But how cool would it be for the statue to be life-sized and tucked into one of the attic corners? Lit by his own candles in glorious detail and a reminder to enthusiasts of the park’s history of what might have been? That would be a true tribute.