Wednesday, January 4, 2012

When Birds Attack

Happy New Year Foolish Mortals!

   2011 was an very busy year for S&FS and the Mansion. So much so that I forgot to mention that our 2 year anniversary was on the 7th of November! Feels like S&FS has been around much longer, but maybe that's because we've done so much in those 2 years. Let's hope 2012 will be another great year for the Mansion. I also want to mention that I'm headed back to Orlando, and will be there from the 13th to the 17th, so expect a trip report in the future. So, follow me on Twitter if you aren't already, because I'll be posting updates while I'm at the park.

   Also, I mixed a new "Re-Haunting" ride through together for New Years. If you haven't already gotten a copy and heard my much-improved ride-through, what are you waiting for? Check it out! As with all my audio offerings, it's for home and personal use only. It's about as good as it will get until Randy Thorton finally releases an Official source mix. Anyway...

   Today, we are going to look at the many birds in the mansion; because there are a few more then just Ravens and owls in the mansion. We start with the obvious; the Raven:

   Any mansion fan with any worth to calling themselfs one would undoubtedly know that the raven, as seen above, is seen in nearly every scene of the attraction at some point. The bird makes five different appearances during the course of the ride:

   Blueprints for Disneyland also show that another raven was to be seen in the Foyer; (read this GDR Blog post for more information about it) but why he isn't there is explainable: The Raven almost ended up as the narrator of the attraction, and the foyer has narration. You see, early scripts by X. Atencio involved having a possessed Raven (or at one point, a one-eyed black cat) as the narrator. Thankfully, we ended up with Paul Free's as the Ghost Host instead of a talking animal. For those of you who have heard "The Story & Song of the Haunted Mansion" Story-Teller LP, you'll recall that the Raven provides terribly chessey lines such as "Caw-Caw! Beware my friends! Caw-Caw!" To think that the mansion would have been as big a success as it is had they used this idea is really hard to imagine. The raven though, remains in the attraction; following you all the way through the ride.

   Because this bird is so iconic in the mansion, he was one of the characters who managed to make the jump over to Phantom Manor; here, he appears six times:

   While the Mansion bird only makes noise during his fourth appearance as of today, (though via a 1976 live recording, we can infer that the final Raven also had sound at some point, the same loop as the one before it that is still used today) the Manor bird make noise in every scene he is featured in. Despite being very hard to catch on camera in the ballroom, he is extremely audible; the same goes for the Seance and Music room locations. Once we get to Phantom Canyon though, were plenty of noise is already being made, the raven lowers his squawking just a tad.

   That about covers the raven. But while he may be the star bird in the attraction, he isn't the only one. (At least at the mansions) The next most notable birds are the two owls in the graveyard; in a tree directly above the three cats, which is next to the Phantom Five band:

   They give off a "hoot-hoot" sound effect while their heads bob up and down. There isn't much more to say about these guys; they are physically and audibly there. The next few don't get both traits; just one or the other. Because the audio is easier for the average guest to notice then something hidden in the dark, I'd say the next best-noticed bird is the un-seen owl in the Walt Disney World stretching room; as sound effect added in 2007 allows guests entering the gallery to hear an owl flying off into the distance somewhere. 

  I guess the mansion's rafters must have some holes in them, and some un-invited critters are now roaming about the mansion. The owl sound is accompanied by the more prominent bat sounds, who really steal the spotlight. You can read more about the owl, and hear a sample at the Ghost Relations Dept. Blog

   The next few are also 2007 editions to Walt Disney World's Mansion. While these aren't live birds, they sure are notable editions, and one of them is life-sized! Take a look at the new "birds" added as decorations to the Liberty Square Mansion:
(Photos from S&FS collection, taken by Alexandre Grancoin-Vinet)
   Look at that majestic Eagle! That life sized bird statue now is used to to decorate the archway on the far left side of the music room, off to the side of the steps the Doombuggies travel up. This huge bird doesn't have proper lighting, and I would have never of know he existed had it not been for these wonderful photos sent to me! I bet nearly none of the people reading this know about it, and if you do, your one of a select few. Talk about a random piece of art in the mansion! The other bird is the peacock statue in the portrait hallway scene, on a table that is situated under a mirror. It's quite a piece itself, though not as impressive as the Eagle. Perhaps it's a tombstone of sorts for the bird whose's feathers have been present in the Ballroom for quite some time:

   It's a legal offense in America to kill an Eagle, so let's hope that one isn't a death monument. In fact, because we're dealing with the Liberty Square Mansion, the Eagle fits into the ride nicely, adding an American touch to it. Surprisingly, there isn't a "Bird" in the Disneyland pet cemetery; so those cages in the attic must be for Freddie the bat.

  UPDATED: There is a Duck and a Parrot, however, in the Walt Disney World pet cemetery; thought I can only tell you about the Duck at the moment:
   Behind beloved Waddle's tomb. you can see the Parrot's tomb. I'll need to located more images before I can tell you about the Parrot. So, expect this post to once again updated later on.

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


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