This original drawing by Disney Legend Rolly Crump, from 2015, features a tombstone and personalized epitaph in the style of the Haunted Mansion, an attraction with which Crump’s name is often associated for the major role he played in its development.
Though the world-famous attraction wouldn’t be completed until three years after Walt Disney’s death in 1969, the initial concept for a haunted-house-style attraction pre-dates Disneyland’s opening. Crump’s work on the mansion, which was originally envisioned as a walk-through, began upon his transfer to WED Enterprises in 1959. As an animator with the studio for the seven years prior, he’d assisted in the production of such films as Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, and Sleeping Beauty. As a show designer with the company that would later become Walt Disney Imagineering, Crump was able to flex his creative muscles, and soon came up with the concept of a companion-attraction to the Haunted Mansion, which he called the Museum of the Weird. Though never materializing, many of his designs made their way into the headliner attraction. Furthermore, Crump was called upon by Disney—along with Yale Gracey—to develop the visual effects for the mansion. Coincidentally, Gracey and his contributions would inspire a tombstone inscription of his own (one of eight Imagineers to originally be recognized in this way).
Master Gracey laid to rest
No mourning please at his request
In addition to his work on the Haunted Mansion, which spanned an entire decade, Crump was a lead designer of the Adventureland Bazaar area of Disneyland, as well such classic Disney attractions as the Enchanted Tiki Room and It’s a Small World. Walt also tapped him to design the Tower of the Four Winds, which fronted the latter attraction at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair, becoming a widely-popular marquee for not only the Pepsi-Cola pavilion which housed the ride, but an iconic symbol of the fair itself. When the “Happiest Cruise That Ever Sailed” was relocated to Disneyland at the conclusion of the fair, Crump played an instrumental role in the installation process. Furthermore, since the Tower of the Four Winds was unable to make the cross-country trip, he designed the over-sized, animated clock, which fronts the California version of the attraction, to take its place. Throughout the 70s and 80s, Crump divided his time between the company and a number of independent projects. In regard to Disney, he contributed design work to both the Magic Kingdom, as well as EPCOT Center, helping to oversee the development of The Land and Wonders of Life pavilions. He returned to the company on a full-time basis in the early 90s to assist in a refurbishment of Epcot attractions, before retiring in 1996. Eight years later, he was inducted as a Disney Legend, for an impressive career that spanned parts of five decades.
The original tombstone artwork by Rolly Crump, inspired by the attraction he helped bring to life, was done shortly after the artist’s eighty-fifth birthday. The epitaph, also penned by Crump, pays tribute to the many comical versions created by Disney Imagineers and featured on the headstones which dot the surrounding landscape of the attraction’s many incarnations around the world.
Here one day
Will lye a gifted
His name we came
To Know is [X-EDITED-X]
The drawing is signed and dated by the artist in the bottom-right corner, and represents a one-of-a-kind collectible that pays tribute to the origins of one of the most popular theme park attractions of all time, as well as one of the key individuals involved in bringing it to life.
VALUE: Any original artwork in the hand of a widely-recognized Disney Legend, such as Rolly Crump, is both rare and valuable. The theme and nature of this particular drawing make it even more so, considering Crump’s is one of the names most associated with the Haunted Mansion attraction, thanks to his effects work on the mansion itself and development of the Museum of the Weird, which in addition to spawning its own comic-book series (Seekers of the Weird), inspired a number of the Haunted Mansion’s now-famous design elements. The personalized epitaph, of course, renders such a piece priceless for the original recipient, but slightly lessens its general market value. Even still, the scarcity of such a uniquely-inspire, Disney-themed drawing from an artist who’s been retired for decades can’t be overstated. $350