The Hatbox Ghost might be a remarkable achievement of the Disney Imagineers,

but they didn't quite get there in one fell swoop. Lots of sketches and maquettes and mock-ups were required before the final animatronic was installed in the ride.

 

Here, in this gallery, you will gaze upon the thrilling steps that eventually led

to the creation of dear old Hattie.

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1 — “Monster Ghosts”

Hattie started in this sketch by Marc Davis, titled

“Monster Ghosts”. He does not yet possess his hatbox,

and seems much more muscular (and much dumber)

than what he'll end up being, but he is already

hunchbacked and, aside from the cape,

wears the same costume as the

final Hattie. It is notable that he does

not yet have a skull for a face.

2 - “A Monster Maquette”

As he often did to get a better picture of what his

creation would look like “on-ride”, Davis had his Monster Ghost

turned into a maquette. By then, Hattie has gotten thinner,

and his face is more corpse-like (but still no hatbox and no cane).

3 - “The Hatbox Ghost”

In those two, later Marc Davis sketches, the character has evolved into

what we'll later know him to be. His arms are much less apelike,

and he has gained his hatbox. The caption even tells us of his

“Head-disappearing-and-reappearing-in-the-Hatbox” gimmick.

4 - “Kicked Upstairs”

At some point, it was decided that Hattie would be kicked upstairs,

in the Attic, and paired with the Bride. A new maquette based on the new

version of the character was made (though for some unknown reason, not painted)

and thus put there in the Haunted Mansion mockup built by the Imagineers.

He also gained his bass fiddle in the process, through a ridiculous

coincidence (the Imagineers had put a small toy violin in the maquette

to fill up an empty space, and since it looked good, kept it in merchandise

if not in the ride itself).

5 - “Collin Campbell”

This maquette was used by artist Collin Campbell when he made the

artwork for the illustrated book The Story and Song from the Haunted Mansion.

This book kept being sold even after the real figure was discarded

from the ride, and much of the character's celebrity can be

attributed to it.

6 - “Mockup”

Imagineer Yale Gracey (responsible for building the special

effects in the Mansion) built a slightly smaller version of the Hatbox Ghost

to test the effect in studios, which you can see here on this publicity

photograph.

7 - “And he haunted happily ever after…”

And thus, the Hatbox Ghost was installed in the Attic.