Growing up as a SoCal kid, that meant a few things: the beach was easily accessible. Yes, at one (mercifully short) point in my life, I had a surfer’s accent. And, last but not least, Disneyland trips were mandatory. And like any good kid, that meant a trip to the Haunted Mansion. Everything about it is as you’d expect: ghosts, whimsy, and a Hidden Mickey or two. But one thing that always intrigued me was the humorous (humerus?) tombstones, one of which, at one time, contained the tomb of Cousin Victor:
He Brewed a
of Bad Elixir
Blogger John Frost of The Disney Blog remembers him too, and with good reason: “Cousin Victor” was Disney Imagineer Vic Greene, his grandfather.
I think there’s no better way to explain it than from the “Ghost Relations Dept.” archival records:
“Cousin Victor is actually a play on the name of Imagineer Vic Greene. Vic Greene oversaw many architectural projects in the parks as a land planner and also a draftsman for many key locations within the park. Vic was also the Art Director for Disneyland’s Jungle Cruise. His main contribution for The Haunted Mansion, both at Disneyland and Disney World was the overseeing of architectural elements both outside and in.”
According to John Frost, the gravestone was removed shortly after Greene’s untimely passing in 1972. His widow asked for the tombstone to be removed out of respect for the family’s mourning and sometime after that, it was removed, leaving the above record, images from the Osmonds’ TV special at Disneyland, and the scattered memories of others as the only legacy of the marker.
(Personal note here: I told John, via a friend’s Facebook blog, that I recalled it during my youth of the 70s, so it cannot have been prior to the mid-to-late seventies that it was removed. Additionally, I inquired of some of my family members of around the same age; the older ones vaguely recall it, while the younger ones do not. Based on this totally-not-scientific research, the latest it could have been there was 1978.)
John understands the reasons for the removal, and in his own words, “I totally understand and respect that.” But as he also rightly points out, it’s been over four decades, and a new generation of Vic Greene’s descendants are wandering around Anaheim and Orlando, and deserve to see their family legacy. I’ll go further and say that countless people were inspired by his works (I count friend and colleague Oni Hartstein as one of those, and I dare say both myself and Ayne, to a lesser degree) and should see credit where credit is due, even if we won’t really ever understand how “Cousin Victor” ties into the legacy of Vic Greene (though we would via his name being added to the attraction’s credits, as John points out.)
Anyone know anyone over at the Mouse House that can get the word out? The old saying may be that dead men tell no tales…but this one certainly did, and it deserves to be told again.