Haunted Mansion Signed Print (2014)

This Dove McHargue art print, inspired by Walt Disney World’s Haunted Mansion, has been hand-signed by Disney Legend X. Atencio, the script and songwriter for the legendary attraction.

Francis Xavier Atencio first joined the Walt Disney Studio in 1938 as an animator. A product of LA’s Chouinard Art Institute, he worked on the feature Fantasia, as well as many short films, including the Oscar-winning Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom and the Oscar-nominated Noah’s Ark. He also worked on the animation sequences of live-action films, such as The Shaggy Dog, The Parent TrapBabes in Toyland, and Mary Poppins. In 1965, Atencio relocated to WED Enterprises to assist in the implementation of the Primeval World diorama, which had been featured in the Ford Magic Skyway attraction at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair, into the Disneyland Railroad circuit. Shortly after, he was tapped by Walt to write the lyrics for the new Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, and the outcome, “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me),” was of course met with great success. Just a few years later, Atencio penned the theme to yet another enduring Disney classic, the Haunted Mansion. The Disneyland version of the attraction opened its creaking doors on August 9, 1969, while the Florida iteration was in place and ready to scare on Walt Disney World’s opening day: October 1, 1971. Like “Yo Ho,” the song, “Grim Grinning Ghosts” has since gone down as one of the most memorable in Disney theme-park history, continuing to be sung and quoted by fans around the world.

“Grim Grinning Ghosts”


When hinges creak in doorless chambers
And strange and frightening sounds echo through the halls
Whenever candlelights flicker where the air is deathly still
That is the time when ghosts are present
Practicing their terror with ghoulish delight


When the crypt doors creak, and the tombstones quake
Spooks come out for a swinging wake
Happy haunts materialize
And begin to vocalize
Grim Grinning Ghosts come out to socialize


Now don’t close your eyes and don’t try to hide
Or a silly spook may sit by your side
Shrouded in a daft disguise
They pretend to terrorize
Grim Grinning Ghosts come out to socialize


As the moon climbs high o’er the dead oak tree
Spooks arrive for the midnight spree
Creepy creeps with eerie eyes
Start to shriek and harmonize
Grim Grinning Ghosts come out to socialize


When you hear the knell of a requiem bell
Weird glows gleam where spirits dwell
Restless bones etherialize
Rise as spooks of every size


If you would like to join our jamboree
There’s a simple rule that’s compulsory
Mortals pay a token fee
Rest in peace, the haunting’s free
So hurry back we would like your companyG


Hurry back…hurry back…
Be sure to bring your death certificate
If you decide to join us
Make final arrangements now
We’ve been…dying…to have you

Atencio would additionally write the themes for both the Country Bear Jamboree and If You Had Wings attractions. Besides Atencio’s songwriting contributions, he also worked as a writer on Disneyland’s Adventures Thru Inner Space, and contributed heavily to the scripts of both Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion, so much so that he was honored with one of the eight original tombstone tributes in the attraction’s “graveyard.” He went on to contribute to the design and development of Disney’s third gate, EPCOT Center, assisting with the creation of several of the park’s “pavilions” in the early 80s. After an amazing career that lasted nearly half-a-century, he retired in 1984 and was awarded Disney Legend status twelve years later.

The print, which features the gothic-style mansion unique to the Florida iteration of the beloved attraction, was signed in silver ink by X. Atencio in 2014. The artist, Dove McHargue, has worked in the comics industry for many years and both practices and teaches art in Savannah, Georgia.

Atencio’s significant contributions to one of the most popular theme-park attractions of all time, make this piece a highly-collectible tribute to one of the talented individuals who brought the Haunted Mansion to life, as well as the 999 “happy haunts” that now call it home.


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