Monday, September 22, 2014

The Mystery of the Hatbox Ghost

By Keith Mahne
The Hatbox Ghost is a character that appeared originally in The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland but was removed shortly after the attraction's debut. Located formerly in the attic scene, the figure is described as "an elderly ghost in a cloak and top hat, leaning on a cane with a wavering hand and clutching a hatbox in the other." The idea behind The Hatbox Ghost was for his head to vanish from atop his shoulders and reappear alternately inside his hatbox, in time with an adjacent bride figure's beating heart. According to Imagineer Chris Merritt in an interview with, the effect was never completely successful due to the illusion's close proximity to the ride vehicles:
"The gag was based purely on lighting. The ghost's head was illuminated by black lighting. A light inside the hatbox he held would rhythmically illuminate and hide the head in the hatbox, while, in tandem, the actual head on the ghost's shoulders would be hidden by extinguishing the black lighting."
Join us today as we have a look at some old footage and history of the legendary Hatbox Ghost...

Saturday, September 20, 2014

CalArts: Where Imagineers Are Born

By Keith Mahne

Picture a place with maze-like hallways. You walk through those hallways, passing cubicles filled with art supplies and artwork. Photographs and doodles fill in the blanks to reveal the style and personality of the occupant. Sometimes the cubicles are the size of a broom closet, and sometimes as large as a walk-in. If you continue, you might come across a wood shop, or a sculpture studio, or a room filled with computers. Pass the library, and at certain times of the day you might hear a string trio playing bluegrass music. Perhaps you thought you were observing Imagineers in action while on a tour of 1401 Flower Street, Imagineering Headquarters in Glendale, California. Wrong. It happens all day, every day in Valencia, at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). Continue after the page break as we have a look at the place Imagineers are born...

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Rare Look at EPCOT Center’s First Nighttime Spectacular

By Keith Mahne

Carnival de Lumiere was the very first nighttime spectacular at Epcot. It was a presentation using rear projection screens on barges floating on the World Showcase Lagoon. Between the projection barges were fireworks barges controlled by Apple Computers. The show could be viewed only from points between Mexico and Canada. It lasted just a few months before being replaced by A New World Fantasy. Continue after the page break for some rare 1982 press shots that gives us a look at one of EPCOT Center’s shortest lived shows: Carnival de Lumière...

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Letter That Started It All

By Keith Mahne

People often wonder which piece of Disney history is the most significant. The answer always has to be Walt's October 16, 1923 handwritten letter that announces the start of the Walt Disney Company. Each year the Company celebrates October 16th as it's birthday; the day Walt Disney founded the company when he was just 21 years old. Today you'll get to see and read that handwritten letter Walt sent to Virginia Davis' parents officially starting the Walt Disney Company...

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Disney Avenue Podcast - Show #4 - Jim Korkis Interview

On this episode of the Disney Avenue Podcast, host Keith Michael Mahne has a wonderful conversation with famous author, Disney historian and the "go to" guy on Walt and all things Disney for that matter, Mr. Jim Korkis. Jim has one of the best personalities around and is full of fantastic stories and insights on Walt and the company. Be sure not to pass this one up!

After you listen to the show please make sure to check out Jim's wonderful books at and Amazon.

The Disney Avenue Podcast would like to thank Geren Piltz for his contribution to the sound quality of this show.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Walt Disney Goes To War

By Keith Mahne

Between 1942 and 1945, during World War II, everyone was behind the war effort. Walt Disney and the Studios was no exception. To help the Allied cause, Disney Studios produced a variety of wartime shorts... both education and entertainment in nature. Some taught you how to aim an anti-tank rifle... and others were a little more fun to watch. Continue after the page break as we learn how Walt Disney went to war...

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Unofficial WDW Attractions: Transportation

By Ryan Reed

We all go to Disney World with so much excitement for Tower of Terror, Pirates, Test Track and the countless other Disney attractions. But what about the other “attractions” found in Disney World? The ones that were never meant to be something we all look forward to experiencing. I want to take a quick look at some guest favorites that were meant to serve a purpose rather than something special we miss when we aren’t vacationing in the happiest place on earth. Continue after the page break for more...