Handmade "Hatbox Ghost" Replica to be auctioned at the
D23 EXPO LIVE AUCTION
Saturday September 12, 2009
Anaheim Convention Center, California
Earlier this year Jody and I were invited to produce some sort of art piece to be auctioned at the upcoming D23 EXPO. After kicking around several ideas, it suddenly dawned on us what would be the coolest thing in the world to build: a near-as-humanly-possible-to-exact-scale-replica of the Haunted Mansion's most perplexing spectral resident - the Hatbox Ghost!
With the support of Disneyland and Walt Disney Imagineering, we threw ourselves body and soul into the project. Studying the few existing photos and reading everything we could find about the original figure that disappeared in 1969, we cleared a large space in our studio and started sculpting. We've produced many detailed replicas over the years, but this one was the most challenging and, I think, the most rewarding. Normally our items are designed and coordinated by us, to be manufactured by Disney's vendors, mostly in China. But this one was different.
Even though it's an edition of only one, it turned out to require nearly every skill we've got. Engineering, sculpting, woodworking, metal and plastics construction, painting and sewing. Lots and lots of sewing.
His body is plastic and wood armature on a wooden base (it rolls on casters!) designed to resemble attic flooring. His cane is reinforced steel, his hairpiece is sewn nylon fiber, and he's covered from head to toe in sheer chiffon fabric held together by miles of my own hand-stitching. The hands, head and feet are molded resin from my original sculpts (and cast by our friend Doug Hild who molds the artist maquettes for Walt Disney Feature Animation.) Even his coat buttons are special, fabric-covered wooden turnings. When all was assembled, Jody gave the entire piece a super-deluxe custom paint job.