Just a reminder foolish mortals; I will be down in Orlando, and of course, Walt Disney World from the night of Friday the 13th into Tuesday the 17th. Of course, a trip report will come afterward. Be sure to follow me on twitter and keep up with what I'm doing while I'm there. Now, onto today's post:
This post won't be terribly long, but it's something that some of you may have never noticed in all your trips through the Mansion. In the graveyard finale, we all know there is a Caretaker and his frightened, malnourished dog. The dog is a static figure that shivers and shakes via a hidden motor under "terrain" beneath it. The dog also has a sound effect of whimpering, which was most likely preformed by the legendary Jim MacDonald.
What you might not have noticed is that the dog makes another appearance before the ride comes to a close. The Raven, which was the spotlight of the last post, makes several appearances; Gus, the small, bearded prisoner makes an appearance in the Headsman/Opera scene before showing up again in the crypt as one of the three Hitchhiking ghosts; and the dog too, has another appearance, only this time, he's... well, he's dead... let's take a look, shall we?
The dog already looks sickly when we first see him. He's cowering in fear, whimpering and shivering. He looks as though he might not have eaten for weeks, and is pretty much skin and bones. So would it surprise you to know that the dog drops dead before we even get through the graveyard? The dog is seen as a ghost in the Mumbling Mummy scene, watching the two human ghosts with the same terrified expression on his face.
This official publicity image of the scene clearly shows the Dog is lit with the same blue lighting as the ghostly characters he shares the scene with:
So, I think it's safe to say that the Caretaker's frightened pooch is literally scared to death during the graveyard scene. I guess the Haunted Mansion can now go into that heart-warming category of "The Dog Dies at the End" stories, alongside "Old Yeller", "Marley and Me", and other timeless classics that end in tearful good-byes.
In closing, I'd just like to point out something else that relates to today's topic before I end this post; A weird set decoration that has been added to Walt Disney World's Caretaker and Pooch scene. Please tell me that isn't what I think it is:
Please tell me that isn't a pile of dog droppings... Really? Oh brother...
It looks like the frightened pooch might have voided his bowels before kicking the bucket. Be sure to point this detail out to your children or younger siblings, who will undoubtedly be able to appreciate this brief instance of bathroom humor; it was probably added with them in mind.
* It appears that I was mistaken about the doggy doo-doo; the brownish-red objects in front of the dog are apparently dog biscuits. I was informed that they are left there by Mansion cast members for the dog, similar to the former tradition of leaving a fresh cut rose on Master Gracey's tombstone. - Updated January 19th, 2011. *