#74 Creak & Quake

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AmperArt 74 Creak & Quake


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Greetings, mortals.

This morbid installment of my AmperArt series could have been entitled “Crypt Doors & Tombstones” but I chose the just-as-eerie verbs over the nouns “Creak & Quake.” These words are all from the first stanza of Grim Grinning Ghosts, the theme song permeating Walt Disney’s Haunted Mansion. 

Truth be told, I’m still only 99% sure that the song starts with 

“When the crypt doors creak & the tombstones quake…” or
“When the crypt goes creak & the tombstones quake…”

Why? Because after visiting several websites to make sure I got the lyrics right (even though I’ve heard the song hundreds of times, it’s not embedded into the skull like “It’s a Small World”) there were discrepancies. The first site which sounded like an official lyrics site is what threw me off: It read “…goes creak” which was surprising, as I’ve always heard, so I thought, “When the crypt doors creak…” The original songwriters—Buddy Baker, melody, and lyrics by Xavier “X” Atencio, the Disney legend—were listed, along with dates and other information.  So I figured that was what they wrote, and everyone just adapted what they thought they heard. 

Until I visited a few more sites. Everywhere else the song goes “…doors creak…” which sounds so much better; is part of the Disney fans’ venacular; and what I chose to use in my piece of artwork. (It’s probably the correct choice.)

William Shakespeare & his poem, Venus & Adonis, influenced the title of the Haunted Mansion’s theme song:

Look, how the world’s poor people are amaz’d
At apparitions, signs, and prodigies,
Whereon with fearful eyes they long have gaz’d,
Infusing them with dreadful prophecies;

So she at these sad sighs draws up her breath,
And, sighing it again, exclaims on Death.
‘Hard-favour’d tyrant, ugly, meagre, lean,
Hateful divorce of love,’—thus chides she Death,—
Grim-grinning ghost, earth’s worm, what dost thou mean
To stifle beauty and to steal his breath,

Who when he liv’d, his breath and beauty set
Gloss on the rose, smell to the violet?

The tombstone and graveyard in this piece really do exist: The Granary Cemetery, Boston, Mass. Well, almost. The top and borders of the tombstone are authentic (except for the iconic “D” under the skull); I elongated the entire monument and replaced the somber inscription with silly lyrics. So much for reverence. I wish to give credit to an incredible photographer, whose image I came across on the Internet and used as reference for this piece. Her name is Della Huff. Her photography is spectacular. See it at http://dellahuffphoto.zenfolio.com/ I had no idea such morbid tombstones actually existed. The graveyard, though heavily distorted by my twisted mind, is among many wonderful photographs I found at https://www.flickr.com/photos/mbdezines/sets/72157607857008082/


listen up!

As much as I detest innacuracy (why can’t others do a little research like I did, even though it took longer than the artwork?) it led me to several interesting haunts:

I discovered alternate, highly entertaining versions of Grim Grinning Ghosts; a great video for the kids (and the grown-up kids); and of course it was hauntingly wonderful to hear the original soundtrack again (where I could swear they enunciate “doors”). Here are those sites:

Turn off the lights and turn up the sound:

Entertaining a capella from VoicePlay:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpw0yQpvb_c

Here’s the original soundtrack followed by a cool alternate version (which seems to have been produced by James Presley) and some of the beginning and ending narrative:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSaqSVi–Ms

The kids will enjoy this singalong video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eavo08IXduQ (I like it very much myself.)

And something really entertaining — spooky at first with organ and choir, then wildly zany with unique voices, and all sorts of other sounds…produced by James Presley:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RI_4vzqevLg


Production notes:
Original size: 10×15 inches
Program: Photoshop, Illustrator (for the dingbats)
Fonts: Willow, Eccentric, Harrington
Ampersand: Harrington (line shadow added)
Images:
Tombstone & graveyard  reference: Granary Cemetery, Boston, Massachussetts, USA

Della Huff is the photographer whose tombstone photo was used for reference and sampling by the artist. See her spectacular fine art photography at http://dellahuffphoto.zenfolio.com/  Della’s original photo that made this AmperArt piece possible:
http://www.pbase.com/dellybean/image/40946116
Graveyard background: mbdezines Image modified so extensively it does not resemble the original photograph…but the background would  not be “authentic” without this photographer’s contribution.
Artist discovered that crypts do have doors at:
http://idiotphotographer.wordpress.com/2014/05/28/the-crypt-doors-of-ricoleta/
Music and lyrics sites visited for reference:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpw0yQpvb_c
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSaqSVi–Ms
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eavo08IXduQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RI_4vzqevLg

H u r r y  b a c k . . .

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Chaz DeSimone

Design. Dancing. Disneyland. Modernism. Nudism. Black Cats or any other color.

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