The Stretching Room
From the foyer, a pair of sliding doors open to one of two similar octagonal rooms, which are actually large slow-moving elevators with fake woofing walls that do not reach the ceiling. The invisible spirit teasingly welcomes the guests (referring to them as "foolish mortals") and introduces himself as their "Ghost Host" who will take them on a tour of the Haunted Mansion. The room contains four paintings, one on every other wall, each depicting a person from the chest up. The portraits are flanked by eight leering, candle-holding gargoyles. At this point a cast member will often instruct guests to, "...kindly drag your bodies away from the walls to the dead center of the room". A sliding wall panel closes in front of the doorway where the guests entered, trapping them inside the room. As the Ghost Host delivers his spiel, the room begins to "stretch" vertically. As the floor and fake walls descend, the real white walls and portrait frames (locate behind the fake walls) elongate, revealing the grim fates of the previous residents depicted in the paintings, symbolized in humorously macabre situations: a beautiful young girl holding a parasol is shown to be balancing on a fraying tightrope above the jaws of an alligator; a middle-aged bearded man holding a document is shown to be standing atop a barrel of dynamite in his boxer shorts with a candle lighting the fuse; a smiling elderly woman holding a rose is shown to be sitting on the tombstone of her late husband George, who is depicted as a stone bust with an axe in his head; and a confident-looking middle-aged man in a bowler hat is shown to be sitting on the shoulders of a frightened-looking man, who sits on the shoulders of a third man who is waist-deep in quicksand, an expression of terror on his face. As the Ghost Host challenges guests 'to find a way out' of this seemingly windowless and doorless chamber, he concludes,
"Of course, there's always MY way..."
With a sudden thunderclap, the lights go out and the ceiling disappears. A ghastly vision manifests above: the skeletal corpse of the Ghost Host dangling from a taut rope inside an octagonal cupola with four curtainless windows (rather than the hexagonal cupola with six curtained windows seen on the exterior), illuminated by flashes of lightning. Seconds later, the room plunges into darkness, and a bloodcurdling scream is heard — falling from the ceiling to the floor, ending with the sound of the corpse hitting the floor. As the chamber is re-lit, a wall opens, exposing a Portrait Gallery.
The following characters are depicted in the portraits of the Stretching Room:
- A balding man with a brown mustache and beard, dressed in a black tailcoat, a white shirt, a red sash, and a black bowtie. When the portrait stretches, it is revealed that he is not wearing pants (only red and white striped boxer shorts), and he is standing atop a lit keg of dynamite. In an early attraction script, which gave the names of the characters in the stretching portraits, he was an ambassador named Alexander Nitrokoff, who came to the Mansion one night "with a bang".
- An old woman holding a rose and smiling. When the portrait stretches, it is revealed that she is seated on top of the tombstone of her late husband, George, who is depicted as a marble bust with his head split by an ax. The woman is later named as Constance Hatchaway.
- A brown-haired man with his arms crossed, dressed in a brown suit and wearing a brown derby hat. When the portrait stretches, it is revealed that he is sitting on the shoulders of another man, who is sitting on the shoulders of yet another man who is waist-deep in quicksand.
- A pretty young brunette holding a pink parasol. When the portrait stretches, it is revealed that she is balancing on a fraying tightrope above the gaping jaws of an alligator.
- Wikipedia contributors. "Haunted Mansion." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 5 Apr. 2017. Web. 15 Apr. 2017.