The Hatbox Ghost has been described as a shaky, old spook. But it could be that he's just cold.
As the story goes, in 1969, shortly after The Haunted Mansion's debut, I was exorcised from the attraction for not using my head. Although the Imagineers tried repeatedly to make me cooperate, I was prone to unbooly conduct. In fact, Disney designers focused so much attention on my upper half that they all but forgot my lower extremities. I was displayed, albeit briefly (though not "briefed"), with no pants. And if that were not humiliating enough, the only garments I was provided were transcendentally transparent.
Don't believe me? Have a look for yourself — but please, don't stare. That's my job. Well, it was, anyway.
AN UNWITTING FLASHER: With all of that ecto-plastic, is it any wonder that I'm fresh? (From the Collection of Paul Clemens at DoomBuggies.com.)
BARELY THERE: The evidence is clear.
Indeed, either I'm alfresco or I share the same tailor with one famed and gullible emperor and an unintelligible and highly volatile duck. Last year, I addressed this revealing issue in an online Disney forum, and was met with opposition from fans who could not accept such a slighting of slacks. They saw everything from breeches to leggings in the above images. The meaningful debate continued until, laughably, Photobucket deleted these very pictures for what they claimed were "content violations regarding the posting of nudity." (I kid you not!)
But I didn't stop there. I pressed the pants question to Artist Kevin Kidney, sculptor of the coveted 2009 D23 Live Auction afterlife-size Hatbox Ghost recreation, a figure whose airy attire happens to look like this:
Is it just me or is there a draft in this room? (Photo & Figure by Kevin Kidney)
Housecoat from Frederick's of Hollyweird or Lili St. Cyrightthroughit. (Photo & Figure by Kevin Kidney)
Though not in pants, Mr. Kidney's response, at least, had me in stitches. The clever craftsman waxed poetic:
Dear Spirit 'neath the attic's eaves —
Somewhere, some haberdasher grieves
That he was not allowed to craft
Some worsted wool to ease your draft.
It was instead felt quite enough
To leave you void of pleat or cuff,
A dandy as Beau Brummel teaches:
Your withered limbs in stirrupped breeches.
Surrounded in your cobwebbed aerie
By so much storage antiquary,
Your cloak and hat speak, evidentary,
Of styling from the nineteenth century.
Trousers then were snug and sleek
(The better to hear the old bones creak),
And with the cobblers in cahoots,
The tailors tucked their hems in boots.
Upon your feet — oh, fashion treason!
You wear loafers, for some reason.
This secret, silent as the grave is...
Perhaps just known to one, Marc Davis.*
In summation, Fabled Wraith,
I ask you then to keep the faith
And though your legwear's circumspect,
It gives us all gauze to reflect!
To which, I replied:
Then gauze it be, O' Craftsman Kind
And friend who's covered my behind.
What fabric used is immaterial,
When your britches are ethereal.
*Marc Davis is the artist and Imagineer responsible for The Hatbox Ghost character concept.