The Haunted Mansion: Haunted Hits


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The Haunted Mansion: Haunted Hits Review

by Fred Beldin

A thunderstorm forces two teens to take refuge in a sinister house that turns out to be haunted by a number of terrifying but benign spirits in this children's story album from Walt Disney Productions. Released in 1969 to coincide with the opening of Disneyland's "Haunted Mansion" attraction, the record approximates the experience of taking a ride through this elaborate haunted house, detailing many of the same spooky features that visitors to the Magic Kingdom could experience in person. Fresh from his role as Opie on The Andy Griffith Show, a young Ron Howard appears as one half of the teenaged couple. He's paired with Disneyland Records mainstay Robie Lester, a busy commercial jingle singer who had supplied narration for a number of previous Disney storytelling albums. Though visitors to the actual theme park attraction were guided by the familiar tones of voiceover artist Paul Frees as "the Ghost Host," actor Pete Renoudet performed the task for the LP. Another Disney veteran with films such as The Love Bug and The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes under his belt, Renoudet also provided voice work for other Disneyland attractions including "the Country Bear Jamboree." The Haunted Mansion is breezily ghastly and comes with a colorful 11-page booklet illustrating the various headless ghosts, rattling coffins, and waltzing spirits that fill the grooves. Nothing gets too scary, though it is possibly the first Walt Disney product to include the phrase "decaying corpses" and invoke the image of suicide by hanging. In 2003, Walt Disney Pictures released a film inspired by the theme park attraction starring Eddie Murphy, though the plot differed greatly from this out of print LP.

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