Happy 45th, Haunted Mansion

The hinges are creakin' at a few frightful celebrations.

If you're a devoted Disneyland fan, you likely have a favorite treat, a favorite time of day, and a favorite ride or attraction.

And if that attraction happens to be the Haunted Mansion, we'll guess these things about you, if we may:

A) You know the entire "Welcome, Foolish Mortals" spiel by heart (and can do a convincing Paul Frees impression, too).

B) You've got a "changing portrait" you especially like in that first gallery. (Medusa all the way, right? No? Okay, the ghost ship?)

C) You always correctly guess which hitchhiking ghost will land in your Doom Buggy near the ride's close.

Oh, and D)? You know the New Orleans Square landmark, with its grand columns and mossy details, debuted on Aug. 9, 1969. (True, just after the moon landing but just before Woodstock in that very busy summer of '69.)

Which means this: The Mansion's turning 45, and a few fans around town are breaking out the dead wreaths and grim top hats to mark the macabre occasion.

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ScareLA, LA's mondo Halloween convention, has a couple of tributes scheduled during the Aug. 9-10 weekend. "When Hinges Creak" will include "a fantastic assortment of images, historical insight, and many more ghoulish delights." Disney innovator Bob Gurr will be there to talk '60s-era rides and animatronics and such. That's at 11 a.m. And later that day, and on Sunday? "Chilling Tales of the Haunted Mansion -- LIVE!"

That's a presentation by the Captured Aural Phantasy Theater, which will also do a spine-tingling presentation feting the phantom-packed attraction on Wednesday, Aug. 13, in North Hollywood. "The original (unused) script" is one treat of the night, and the Ghost Hunters of Urban Los Angeles are the (ghost) hosts.

As for the dates when the Haunted Mansion dresses up in its "Nightmare Before Christmas" finery? Sept. 12 is the opening date of Disneyland's Halloween Time, and the frightful manse stays in its Skellington fashion right through the winter holidays.

It's been quite the big run for the 45-year-old gem, the most famous of all theme park spooky houses. Surely Madame Leota, though, saw the adulation coming? The lady inside the crystal ball knows all.

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