Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Secrets of WDI Imagineer Yale Gracey's Haunted Mansion Visual Effects

I've got something great for you to start the week! As you know WED Imagineer Yale Gracey was the one who created the stunning visual effects of the Haunted Mansion, and more, at Disneyland. Now, what you'll see below is one of the items who are put in auction in the fantastic Rolly Crump auction happening on April 28 at Van Eaton Galleries, and it's "a set of three working prints on trimmed artist's board featuring the early effects and illusions planned for use in the "Haunted Mansion" at Disneyland", with an estimate of $500 - 700.

Here is the auction description: "These boards come with a copy of a letter sent from Yale Gracey to fellow Imagineer Wathel Rogers regarding the prints, as well as a copy of a 3-page list of 89 effects planned for the Haunted Mansion. The boards feature information and illustrations on how to perform a variety of these early effects including "Clawing Hand", "Bats", "Rocket Skull", "Ghostly Footprints", "Turning Mask", projection of film onto a statue head, and more. These documents come in a folder that Rolly Crump titled "Yale's Work", and this set represents an incredible look at early development for the "Haunted Mansion". The boards measure 11"x8.5" and the set is in very good condition with minor wear from use."

What is even better is that most of these secret visual effects designed by Yale Gracey are amazingly simple, that's even the beauty of them. So simple in fact that you probably can recreate some of them at home if you wish! Make sure to click on each page to see them in big size!

Now, you probably don't know it but a book was precious for Yale Gracey which is titled "The Boy Mechanic", published early last century, and Yale Gracey said that he spent countless hours to study the book to find tricks to do visual effects for Disneyland ( although the book don’t talk only about magic or special effects ). Yale Gracey even said that if he had knew the book before it would have avoid him to spend so much time to invent some of the Haunted Mansion effects. Here is the cover of the book which is also on sale in the Rolly Crump auction with an estimate of $100 - 200.

Now, it happen that the book is now in public domain and the FULL book is downloadable in PDF on the Gutenberg project website HERE in different formats, choose the “PDF” download, 18 megas only. The book include explanations of all kind of things, including magic tricks and others effects so its download is highly recommended, specially knowing that he inspired the magic of Yale Gracey in attractions you all love.

Pictures: copyright Yale Gracey, Disney

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