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The Ghost Host is the unseen, sardonic narrator of The Haunted Mansion , an attraction located at Disneyland , Walt Disney World 's Magic Kingdom , and Tokyo Disneyland .

  • 1.1 Background
  • 1.2 Development
  • 2.1 The Haunted Mansion
  • 2.2 Happy Hallowishes
  • 3.1.1 2003 film
  • 3.1.2 2023 Film
  • 3.2.1 Muppets Haunted Mansion
  • 3.3.1 The Ghost Gallery
  • 3.3.2 The Haunted Mansion (comic book)
  • 3.3.3 Disney Kingdoms
  • 3.4.1 The Haunted Mansion (video-game)
  • 3.4.2 Kinect: Disneyland Adventures
  • 3.4.3 Disney Crossy Road
  • 6 External Links

History [ ]

Background [ ].

The Ghost Host was a hideous man of an unknown true name who likely lived at some point between the late-18th century and early-20th century. He had heterochromia, pale hair, gnarled teeth, and coarse features. He had some connection to the estate , which would become known as the Haunted Mansion, often being presumed to have been an owner or head-of-staff within the estate.

He died within the mansion by suicide, hanging himself from the rafters of the mansion's cupola. Following his demise, the man became the "Ghost Host" of the Haunted Mansion who became a disembodied spirit within the manor. As the Ghost Host, he operated the Haunted Mansion and hosted tours of mortal guests.

Development [ ]

The Ghost Host's position as the tour guide of the ride was originally intended for cast members. In the unused Captain Gore version of the mansion by Ken Anderson , this would have been a butler known as Beauregard. Later scripts would have had the cast-members play a Lonesome Ghost taking mortals on a tour of the estate. Later scripts had the ghost host be introduced as, "The Most Dangerous Ghost in the Mansion" who would have been seen as a silhouette in portraits.

For the version of the Ghost Host we currently have, his character was previously planned to be incarnated via animated marble-busts and by the raven in the attraction. These would be abandoned for having him be completely disembodied although part of the design for the bust would be featured in the Ghost Host's portrait. At Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom , the Ghost Host is voiced by Paul Frees using a deep transatlantic accent although earlier recordings had him impersonating Bela Lugosi and Peter Lorre.

Corey Burton provided the voice for Disneyland's seasonal Haunted Mansion Holiday and for most of his other later appearances; Kevin Michael Richardson also voiced the Ghost Host on occasion, notably in the Happy Hallowishes show. At Tokyo Disneyland , he is voiced by Teichiro Hori. On the record album The Story and Song from The Haunted Mansion , he was voiced by Pete Renaday , who was also an early choice for the role.

Despite common fan beliefs and adaptations, the Ghost Host was not intended to be Master Gracey ; nor is Gracey/the Ghost Host to be conflated with the Aging Man in the portrait in the foyer of the Walt Disney World version of the ride. The Ghost Host was instead intended to be the " Hatchet Man " depicted in a portrait in the Corridor of Doors, with Master Gracey a random name on a tombstone and the Aging Man portrait untitled.

In recent years, Walt Disney Imagineering has become fiercer and fiercer in stressing that Master Gracey is not the Ghost Host as far as the ride's canon is concerned, though they have let the association between Master Gracey and the Aging Man stand.

Appearances [ ]

The haunted mansion [ ].

The Ghost Host is a disembodied voice and is never seen. In the Stretching Room, the Ghost Host torments guests by challenging them to find a way out of the room, which has "no windows and no doors." He then suggests, "Of course, there's always my way." The room immediately falls dark and lightning strikes above, revealing his corpse hanging from the ceiling, implying that he resorted to suicide.

After this, the Ghost Host provides the narration for the portrait corridor, the loading zone, the library, corridor of doors, and balcony of the Great Hall before leaving to tend to some of the mansion's undead residents who are assembling for a "Swinging Wake". The Host is absent for the rest of the ride until the Exit Crypt where he tells the mortal guests to "Beware of Hitchhiking Ghosts " before informing them that the hitchhikers have been selected to help fill the mansion's guest quota and that they will haunt the guests until they return.

Portraits of the Ghost Host can be seen in the Walt Disney World , Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland versions of the ride, both known as, "The Hatchet Man". In Disneyland, it appears in the Corridor of Doors and shows him brandishing an ax and holding a noose. In Walt Disney World, it shows him holding his ax while behind him, his shadow wields it as a weapon. An additional portrait appears in the load-area with it having once appeared as one of the " Sinister 11 " portraits. In Tokyo Disneyland, it still is a Sinister 11 portrait seen staring at guests in a corridor scene. Some versions of the portrait showed blood on his ax, implying he used it for murder.

Happy Hallowishes [ ]

The Ghost Host narrated the Happy Hallowishes show in the Magic Kingdom of Walt Disney World.

Other Appearances [ ]

2003 film [ ].

The Ghost Host's role in the 2003 failed live-action reboot of the Haunted Mansion franchise is largely reduced to cameos; he delivers his opening line of “ Welcome, foolish mortals! ” in the beginning sequence (with Corey Burton voicing the role), and can briefly be glimpsed during the graveyard sequence, crouching behind a tombstone like a Pop-Up Ghost, played by legendary special-effects artist Rick Baker in a costume and make-up of his own design, based on the Marc Davis's original painting of the Ghost Host.

Additionally, the film borrows elements from the fan legends conflating Master Gracey/the Aging Man with the Ghost Host, as the film's Master Edward Gracey is seen to have hanged himself from the rafters of the cupola, in place of the Ghost Host. It also features a ghostly butler guiding the guests through the house with a sinister purpose, in the form of Ramsley , whose appearance has something in common with the Ghost Host.

2023 Film [ ]

In the 2023 film, the role of the Ghost Host is filled by The Hatbox Ghost , who takes on multiple aspects of the character, including his deep voice and variations of his lines from the attraction. Additionally, a ghost similar in appearance to the Ghost Host appears in a minor role as one of the Hatbox Ghost's minions.

Television [ ]

Muppets haunted mansion [ ].

Will Arnett played the Ghost Host in the special. This version of the Ghost Host was once a stage magician named The Great MacGuffin, who had a red herring assistant named Pee Wee. Around 1921, the Great MacGuffin disappeared on Halloween night in a Haunted Mansion in the Hollywood Hills and become the host to a Halloween Fear Challenge to survive the night and face ones fears. The Ghost Host reveals this identity to Gonzo and Pepe after they manage to make their escape at sunrise.

Printed materials [ ]

The ghost gallery [ ].

The Ghost Host is the most prominent character in the Ghost Gallery storyline which was created by Disney World Haunted Mansion Cast Members in order to give the ride more backstory. Although non-canon and having several inconsistencies, the storyline inspired many story elements that would later be incorporated into comics, the 2003 film, merchandise, and even the ride itself. Most notably, this was the first recorded example of Master Gracey and the Ghost Host being incorrectly combined into the same character.

In this version of the story, the Ghost Host was once a mortal man named Master George Gracey Jr. who was born in 1890 to George Gracey Sr. (based on George Hightower ) and Mary Gracey (who was based on elderly Constance Hatchaway ). Throughout his youth, George Jr. was sent to high-end boarding schools by his distant mother and as such he never really knew his father. George Jr. finally moved back into the mansion after his father was murdered by his mother and his mother fled the country, leaving George Jr. as the Lord and Master of the Mansion.

Obsessed with death, George used his wealth and power to obtain occult artifacts and relics from ancient religions while also often traveling to circuses in order to meet mediums and clairvoyants. It was at one of these circuses where George met a tightrope walker named Lillian O'Malley (the Ghost Gallery's version of the Tightrope Walker) who he fell in love with and became engaged to. However, behind Lillian's back, George was having an affair with his personal clairvoyant Madame Leota , who he had impregnated with a daughter that Leota had named Little Leota.

In 1937 , Lillian had tragically died during a tightrope performance when her tightrope snapped and sent her falling into the jaws of a hungry alligator, which only added to George's madness and obsession with the supernatural. By 1941 , George had wasted away the majority of the Gracey fortune in his pursuit of the occult, prompting him to marry an incredibly wealthy 16-year-old orphan named Emily Cavenaugh (the Ghost Gallery's version of the Attic Bride ). However once again on the night of their wedding, tragedy struck when Emily was found dead inside of large chest in the attic, having apparently suffocated to death leading George to shut himself off from the outside world with no-one but his mistress Madame Leota and his illegitimate daughter Little Leota who would die a couple of years later.

By 1943 , George had learned that Madame Leota was responsible for the deaths of both of his brides, which lead Leota to become enraged and try to trap George's soul in her crystal ball so he could be hers forever. Faced with no other options, George hung himself before Leota could bind his soul, resulting in her own soul become trapped in the crystal ball. Following this, George's ghost became the Ghost Host of the Haunted Mansion.

The Haunted Mansion (comic book) [ ]

Following the lead of the Ghost Gallery, the Ghost Host and Master Gracey are once again combined in the SLG Comics, although this time they also incorporate elements from the unused Captain Gore backstory, creating the composite character of Captain William Gracey. This version of the character was once the first mate of a merchant ship called the Pomona during the early 19th century, which was being captained by a man named Captain Randall Pace (the comics' version of the Hatbox Ghost ) who was an overly stubborn and determined man that often put the well being of himself and his crew aside to meet deadlines on time. Captain Pace's actions lead William to become so enraged that he leads a mutiny in which he murdered the captain be decapitating him with his cutlass and taking over the ship and it's crew under the alias of Captain Blood, becoming a pirate and killing any of the ship' crew that refused to join him.

Years later, William retired in New Orleans where he became haunted by the ghosts of the victims of his mutiny, who were apparently being lead by the ghost of Captain Randall Pace. In an effort to silence them, William hired a Romani clairvoyant woman named Madame Leota to perform rituals that would aid in silencing the spirits of the manor. Leota, however, was in love with William and made several efforts to romance him only to have her advances rebuffed by the former pirate who was in love with a beautiful woman named Emily DeClaire (the comics' version of the Attic Bride), a woman who Leota came to hate. Due to this hatred on William's wedding day to Emily, Leota chose to perform a séance to summon the ghost of Captain Randall Pace and order him to murder Emily before the wedding while she was looking for something old, something borrowed, and something blue in the Mansion's attic.

Following the discovery of Leota's betrayal, William barged into her Séance chamber while she was still conducting her rituals and strangled her to death for having been responsible for the death of his bride. After this murder, William decides to end his life and he goes to the manor's cupola where he commits suicide by hanging himself to death. As a ghost, William is unable to properly materialize in any location that is not the Stretching Room so he is rendered a disembodied spirit, until the Mansion finally acquired 1000 ghosts and his corpse falls to the floor properly and finally manifests as a ghostly version of Gracey.

Disney Kingdoms [ ]

The Ghost Host himself does not appear directly in Disney Kingdoms: The Haunted Mansion although his corpse is found by the protagonist Danny Crowe, hanging from the cupola. Said corpse and a shadow presumed to belong to the Ghost Host do appear in cover-art.

Video Games [ ]

The haunted mansion (video-game) [ ].

The Ghost Host's portraits can be found throughout the mansion in this video-game. He is also quoted by Atticus Thorn , the game's main villain who can turn invisible like the Host can.

Kinect: Disneyland Adventures [ ]

The Ghost Host's narration is present throughout the first level of this video-game.

Disney Crossy Road [ ]

A line of the Ghost Host's narration plays at the beginning of every Haunted Mansion stage in this mobile-app game.

Gallery [ ]

The Ghost Host's hanging corpse

  • At Phantom Manor in Disneyland Paris , the Ghost Host's role is played by a character called the Phantom , who was voiced by Vincent Price in English , but due to legal complications with the French government requiring that the audio is in mostly French , Price's voice was eventually replaced by that of Gerard Chevalier but in 2019 , the attraction featured both actors in the role.
  • Some Haunted Mansion material would hint towards "Ghost Host" being a title, rather than the proper name of the spook voiced by Paul Frees; the Hatbox Ghost , when hosting the online Haunted Holidays event, introduced himself as "your Ghost Host", as did Phyllis Diller 's witchy host character in the 1972 The Mouse Factory episode Spooks and Magic .
  • The shadow playing the piano in the Florida and Tokyo versions of the attraction is said by former Imagineer Jason Surrell to be the Ghost Host himself at the keys, though this has not been substantiated elsewhere.
  • The Idle Gentleman in the Tokyo Disneyland version of the attraction, whose head and face pop out of a portrait canvas, is oftentimes referred to as the Tokyo version of the Ghost Host, as the portrait hangs in the Corridor of Doors, similar to that of the Marc Davis painting in the American mansions.

External Links [ ]

  • The Ghost Host on The Haunted Mansion Wiki .
  • 1 Once Upon a Studio
  • Contributors
  • Voice Actors
  • View history

Paul Frees (R.I.P

Black and white photo of Paul Frees

Solomon Hershel Frees (1920-1986) better known as Paul Frees was an American voice actor.  He carried out the task of voicing the original Ghost Host in the first two incarnations of the Haunted Mansion .  Paul Frees is also known for doing a lot of other voice work for Disney, such as Professor Ludwig von Drake, several Pirates of the Caribbean (the Auctioneer, the voice of the Ghostly Grotto, etc), and the unseen narrator of Adventure Thru Inner Space (which incidentally used the exact same ride system and vehicles as the Haunted Mansion).

Tributes [ ]

  • The Mister Frees crypt in Walt Disney World is a tribute to Paul.
  • 1 Alistair Crump
  • 2 Madame Leota
  • 3 Constance Hatchaway

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Disney Legend Paul Frees

Legends Award Category: Film, Parks & Resorts, Television Year Inducted: 2006

During his lengthy career, the voice of actor Paul Frees was not so much ubiquitous as inescapable, said film historian Hal Erickson. It was literally impossible during the 1960s and most of the 1970s to turn on the TV on any given night and not hear the ineluctable Mr. Frees.

Born Solomon Hersh Frees in Chicago on June 22, 1920, he began his acting career in 1942, and remained active for over forty years. During this time, he was involved in more than 250 films, cartoons, and television appearances; like many voice actors, his appearances were often uncredited.

Gifted with an amazing ear and versatile voice from an early age, Paul’s early radio career was cut short when he was drafted during World War II. He was wounded in action at Normandy on D-Day and returned to the United States for a year of recuperation. He attended the Chouinard Art Institute under the G.I. Bill, but his first wife’s failing health forced him to drop out and return to radio work.

He was the star of The Player , a syndicated anthology series in which he played all the roles. He appeared frequently on such Hollywood radio series as Escape , Suspense , Gunsmoke , Crime Classics , and The Green Lama . Paul began working in films in 1948, sometimes as an on-screen actor, but most often utilizing his chameleonic voice acting ability. In 1956, when Chill Wills was unavailable to provide the talking mule’s voice for Francis in Haunted House , Paul replaced him, recreating Wills’ drawl; when Tony Curtis’ Josephine in Some Like It Hot required a more melodious falsetto, Paul supplied it.

Paul was often called upon in the 1950s and 1960s to loop the dialogue of other actors, often to correct for foreign accents, lack of English proficiency, or poor line readings by non-professionals. These dubs extended from a few lines to entire roles.

Whenever Japanese film star Toshiro Mifune appeared in an English-language film like Grand Prix or Midway , he would insist that his heavily accented voice be looped by Frees; Mifune claimed that, “Paul sounds more like me than I do.”

He was a regular presence in Jay Ward cartoons, providing the voices of Boris Badenov and Inspector Fenwick in Dudley Do-Right , among many others. He spent major parts of his career working with at least nine of the major animation production companies of the 20th century: The Walt Disney Studios, Walter Lantz Studio, UPA, Hanna-Barbera, Filmation, MGM, DePatie-Freleng, Jay Ward, and Rankin-Bass Productions. Paul began working for Disney dubbing voices for television and features, including narration for the Man in Space series, From Aesop to Hans Christian Andersen , the Boys of the Western Sea serial, The Nine Lives of Elfego Baca , Tonka , Tales of Texas John Slaughter , The Absent-Minded Professor , Moochie of Pop Warner Football , The Ballad of Hector, the Stowaway Dog , and The Monkey’s Uncle . For The Ugly Dachshund , he looped the voice of Eddie entirely, since actor Richard Wessel had passed away after the completion of principal photography.

Most famously, Paul’s comedic Germanic accent and free-wheeling improvisational ability brought personality and popularity to Donald Duck’s nutty Uncle, Professor Ludwig Von Drake, who was introduced on An Adventure in Color and subsequently became a frequent host of Disney’s Sunday night television institution, as well as a star of Disneyland Records.

For the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair, Paul was the sonorous narrator of the Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln pre-show at the Illinois Pavilion. For Disneyland, he provided the dramatic you are there narration for Adventure Thru Inner Space . Some of his most memorable voice performances are still playing today at Disney Parks: Paul is the Ghost Host in the Haunted Mansion , and many of the various Pirates of the Caribbean .

Paul Frees passed away on November 2, 1986, in Tiburon, California. When asked if he ever had reason to resent the relative anonymity of his art form, he replied, “Sometimes, yes. But it’s nothing I can’t overcome when I look at the bank balance.”

Corey Burton

Corey Burton

  • After recreating the late Paul Frees ' "Ghost Host" voice for Disneyland's "Haunted Mansion Holiday" attraction, Corey was approached to record a new safety spiel for the beginning of the ride. He only agreed to do it as long as it was an addition and didn't replace any of Paul Frees' original dialogue (of which he is a big fan). This was not the case so he declined. The spiel was instead recorded by voice actor Joe Leahy . To date this has not been popular with Haunted Mansion enthusiasts and petitions are being drawn either to have Paul Frees reinstated or Corey to re-record it.
  • Long before voicing three of the major villains on Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008) (Count Dooku, Ziro the Hutt and Cad Bane), Burton voiced Luke Skywalker for a 1979 Disney Read-Along book/record retelling the story of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) . A year later he looped some lines for Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) . Only one of these ended up in the film: Rebel pilot Hobbie's line "I've been hit!". During this session, he met Mark Hamill , who asked Burton to sign the Star Wars Read-Along record as "Luke 2".
  • Voice double for Christopher Lee .
  • Was called in to dub some of Deems Taylor 's dialogue for the 2000 restoration of Fantasia (1940) which is the longer, roadshow version that hadn't been seen since the film's initial release. The reason for this was because most of the original soundtrack was not found and what was found was in terrible condition.
  • His voice for the Decepticon Shockwave closely mirror's David Warner. Years later, he would voice Sark (Warner's character from TRON) in Kingdom Hearts II.
  • Portrayed Starlab Controller Jerry Lyden on the syndicated radio show "Alien Worlds" (1979).

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Listen to the original haunted mansion recording sessions featuring paul frees as the ghost host.

who voices the ghost host in haunted mansion

Boy oh boy, do I have a wonderful treat for you today! For those of you who are fans of The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland, you’re gonna love this.

Below you’ll find the original recording sessions of Paul Frees acting out his lines as the Ghost Host. I’ve never heard this until recently and I just thought it was freakin’ great! This guy has such a cool voice and I can’t imagine anyone else as the mansion’s Ghost Host.

You get to hear different takes and variations of the Ghost Host’s dialogue and there’s some banter between Frees and the production crew. I hope y’all enjoy this as much as I did!

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