Saturday, February 19, 2011

Enhancements Ideas - Part 1

Ah, there you are...

Let us get right down to business. I have been think about a few thing that could be added to the mansion that would be less destructive then the current "additions" have been. For ever gravestone unearthed, and every cherished performance re-dubbed, there is an idea that could have been implemented that, few if any, mansion fans could see any negative consequences in.

I myself like the new graveyard vocalists; I think they show character that furthers their existence. For instance, let's take the Duke and Duchess. During the 2007 refurbishment at Walt Disney World, the two ghosts received new vocal performances. They have been met with mixed feelings by Mansion fans. Some hate them, others love them. I have to say, they are nearly identical to the original Betty Wand and Bill Lee performances, with one exception;

The addition of the line "Scream! Oh Sugar" (Or Sugar, some say it is, Until the source tracks are presented to me, I'm saying the former) replaces Betty Wand's "Oh that's my day" or something line. I still to this day, after listening to them countless times, have yet to figure out what she mumbles at the end of the song. The new line is much easier to hear, to understand, and it fits. It's as though she has spilled the wine at the end of the song, and then so, says "Oh Sugar". But this is getting a bit off topic. The fact is, the new vocals are not accepted by some of the fans. It's because the original performances where a memorable part of the scene. They had character, and even with some improvement, they can't stand to see them leave even one of the three mansions that they are used at.

But, on-topic; one performance that is less them memorable to most: The Ballroom Guests. A generic restaurant atmosphere recording of tinkering china plates, cups, and muffled chatter. The scene is amazing as a whole, but take a simple element and isolate it out, and you find something that could be improved on. I wonder what the origins of the recording are. Could it be some generic sound library track that WED pulled out for use in the mansion? Or did they record it specifically for the mansion? Maybe a banquet at "Pickwick Center" near the studio was recorded for the mansion? Anyhow, the fact is, the sound effects used in the ballroom could use an update that would enhance the scene for the better. Here's what I have in mind:

Look at the cast of characters we have in the ballroom scene. What would they talk about around that table?

You know that old Walt Disney quote about Pirates of the Carribean? The one where "It's like a cocktail party; the guests can listen in on each conversation"? Well, the ballroom is indeed a party. What do you think those conversations would consist of?

The idea of adding a few otherworldly minutes of conversation to the scene would add so much (more) life to it. I have always like the Swingtips cover of Grim, Grinning Ghosts. The musical interlude takes listeners on a quick tour through the mansion's rooms; in the ballroom, we get the following dialouge:

"Might I have this dance?" - (Obviously the Dancers)

"(Giggles) I'm a' gettin' down (Laughter)" - (Dancers again)

"...And the guy who said to me, "You can't go up there without a safety-harness", I showed him!" (I'd assume the chandelier characters, but it could be any of the ghosts)

"...How dare you look at me!" (Duelist 1)

"...And we shall duel to the death!" (Duelist 2)

"...Sure, the wicked rises..." (Could be any of the ghosts)

The ghost talking about how they died, or having a conversation could really add some life to the scene. After replaying through the first part of 2003's Haunted Mansion game for Gamecube, the idea got expanded apoun. A great number of ghosts from the ride appear in various rooms, and they can talk to you. The Emperor from the ballroom says something like this:

"...What? What do you mean I'm in danger? I think you underestimate the loyalty of my subjects! How could I possibly be in any sort of danger?"

Thus, we get the idea he was assassinated. The grandmother character from the ballroom says something like this:

"Why aren't you wearing the sweater I knit you deary?"

The idea of giving the characters real voices instead of just one atmospheric sound would give the scene so much life. I know I have said that at least a hundred times in this post, but it would. The characters themselfs wouldn't need to be synced with the audio; they already seem to just make noise without moving their mouths, though nobody can understand it at all. With the new pin-point audio system technology, they could have tracks that would direct to the materialization spot for each of the ghosts.

If anyone would really miss the generic sounds of today, I'd be surprised. They have nothing that screams "Ghost Sounds" in them. You could probably record a more lively track in your local McDonald's then the one used in the ride. I'd love to hear what you all think of this idea.

I'll see you all a little later...



  1. Betty Wand's last line is "Oh yes they do!", meaning the ghosts do come out to socialize.

    The original ballroom guests track was meant to be just ambient party sounds, with the clinking of dishes added to the track. It was meant to be more like a murmur of a crowd as you would hear them at a distance from up on the balcony. Riders weren't meant to understand the conversations. You'll notice that one line stands out, and the volume is dropped to make it less understandable: "Oh, that's the funniest story I ever heard." This is done intentionally, as the characters are not close enough that you would be able to hear the individual conversations as you would through the graveyard scene where the ghosts are just a few feet away from you. Just another bit of the care and thought that went into the original design of the Mansion.

  2. He right, it is "Oh yes the do!"