In 1964, Walt Disney spoke specifically about the hallway in the Haunted Mansion where we now see the changing portraits. He said that he...
. "...wanted something nice for the hall, like werewolves,
. a Medusa, marble busts that talk, and ordinary-appearing
. pictures that will change into horrors before the visitors' eyes." *
That's a pretty accurate description of the "Great Hall" as Marc Davis envisioned it. It's not likely that Walt came up with this detailed scheme and dictated it to his artists. More likely he's describing—with obvious approval—the artwork that Marc had already shown him.
We've posted and discussed that artwork on two separate occasions, once to show how receptive Marc Davis was at one point to Rolly Crump's notions of a surreal environment for the Haunted Mansion (A Weirder Haunted Mansion) and once to show how Davis and company planned for awhile to use massive scale to intimidate guests (Does Size Matter?). So I better have a darn good reason for pulling out that same artwork a third time and placing it at center stage. As it happens, I have three. (1) Recently I acquired some fresh copies of those paintings that are better quality than what I had, one of them MUCH better quality, so even though you've seen them before, you may never have seen them this clear and sharp, especially the first one. (2) Besides the cleaner copies, I've also got a handful of trivia about them that has been sitting patiently in my files, waiting for just such a moment, and I've decided to let them come out and play. One of them might even be charitably described as "serious history," nearly, almost. After that we'll get to the real meat of the post: (3) an entirely fresh angle on the creative genius of Marc Davis that probably justifies a third go-round with this intriguing artwork.