Thursday, September 17, 2009

Phantom of the Auction

Last week was something else, wasn't it?   We began by celebrating the 40th anniversary of Disneyland's Haunted Mansion with two consecutive nights of dinners, an art signing and a "Bridal Bash."  Then the rest of the week was all about the D23 Expo (which was surprisingly very good!) at the Anaheim Convention Center.  

Our Hatbox Ghost figure was auctioned on Saturday night, and *wow* was that exciting.  Jody and I only regret we weren't able to personally congratulate the winner, but hope they will drop us a line! We'd love to see how he's finally displayed.  (Might we suggest some blue and green "party bulbs" from Home Depot...)

Before we lay the subject of hatbox ghosts to rest once and for all, we got quite a lot of requests to share some "making-of" photos.  The figure took over 2 months to complete and since we were hustling to meet the deadline, we only managed to document our progress with a handful of shots.

This portrait was taken right after Jody had finished painting the head. (Jody hand-painted the entire figure, including the base and plaque.)  The hairpiece was custom-made from strands of nylon "hair" sewn into a latex band and then "styled" with one of the all-time greatest craft materials, Modge Podge!

I had a lot of fun sculpting a pair of bony hands in oil-based plastilina, which were then cast in resin.  Here I'm grinding out the spaces between the fingers.

The hat was built of polypropylene plastic right onto his skull with brass screws.  A filmy covering of chiffon fabric was sewn over everything, leaving only the resin face, hands, and feet exposed.
The hand-sewing on this project took about a week to complete.

Jody wheeled the figure outside for a final air brush touch-up, and we made a little skirted platform for our ghost to stand on at the Expo.  As you can see, not everybody was impressed.

Lastly, just for fun...  Before securing all the body parts together, we filmed a little "screen test" of the figure with some simplistic animation.  It's actually waaaay more movement than the original 1969 figure ever had, but it was creepy fun to bring him to "life." 

video
 

16 comments:

Matt Hunter Ross said...

Really amazing work! Maybe Disney bought it and they're putting in the ride... :)

Curious - how much did it go for?

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

This truly is an amazing work of art, it really does belong in the Haunted Mansion itself. I was kind of hoping someone from Disney would buy it and use it to promote the Mansion.

Impressive work guys, I think your cat was impressed too, that's just his way of saying "this is too cool"...

Eric Scales said...

Very creepy animation test. You guys did a great job.

Donnie said...

That's Incredible!! I hope they have you guys make another to put in mansion.

nojarama said...

You can clearly see that he was made with love! Great job! And here's hoping he makes his right return to THM soon!

Steve said...

Beautiful. He sold for $9300, to answer the first poster's question.

Dan Alexander said...

Fantastic job, guys! It's obvious that you put a great deal of care into your projects. I can't wait to see more. Maybe you can do some "America Sings" or "Mickey Mouse Revue" characters next. I, too, loved that your cat participated in the process.

John Rozum said...

I sure hope that the person who won the auction, had it in mind as a gift for me when they bought it. I think this piece is amazing.

Tom Slick said...

Kev, was that stop motion animation? However you did it, that sh** looked sweet!!!

I wont get into my negative experience with 090909/D23/Disneyana weekend, but I'm glad your hatbox was a hit! I had someone call me from D23 and tell me about it...Anyhow, now get back to work on the REAL Hatbox Ghost for the attraction! hahaha(Kidding of course, but I can dream, right!?)
Congrats to both you and Jody for knocking the socks off of the HM merch! See you around soon...

Chloe said...

Three little words apply - "Simply the BEST!"
Thanks for sharing this with all of us - Todd & Doug

mini_jen said...

You kids rocked it! Kitty may not be impressed she(or he?) sees your (pl) genius daily...we are most impressed. you continue to shock and amaze!

HollyLynne said...

Amazing work . . . I've loved reading about your labor of love! I really hope the auction winner contacts you. It would be fantastic to see how your ghost is displayed! (Although, I agree with other commentors, it would also be fantastic to see him IN THE MANSION itself!)

FrenchDisneyFan said...

Lovely cat trying to get some attention! (My interpretation, of course!)

Obviously, this cat does not fear ghosts! LOL.

Carrie Vines said...

It was so nice meeting you and Jody and congratulations on this amazing piece!!

Skipper Jane said...

He is truly amazing - what craftsmanship!

Sorry I could not have seen him at the auction.

Chad said...

I absolutley love your figure. When I went through The Haunted Mansion on my day off, I would imagine the hatbox ghost standing in it's original spot, and once I saw your photos, that's how I imagined the ghost would look standing there. Absolutely fantastic. I'm very interested to know if you used a material other than chiffon. It has a shine to it which makes me think it's plastic/vinyl. I'm currently building a ghost costume myself, but have been poor at documenting with photos. lol Also, how did you animate the figue?