At Auction: ‘Stretching’ Haunted Mansion Portrait

The hand-painted rarity is on the block at Van Eaton Galleries.

Van Eaton Galleries

If you were raised in Southern California, chances are good that A) avocados were some of your earliest snacks and B) you could give freeway directions long before you could drive and C) you knew the Haunted Mansion's Stretching Room spiel as well as any common nursery rhyme.

The beloved Disneyland attraction debuted in August 1969, and with quite the amazing-then, amazing-now opener: A shadowy octagonal space that appears to lengthen upwards as you stand inside it.

"Is this room actually stretching?" is the famous question posed by the unseen Ghost Host as mortal guests gaze upon the attraction's "growing" paintings, those seemingly prim 'n proper artworks that reveal humorous and spooky punchlines once they've reached their maximum size.

The lapel-clutching, boxer shorts-sporting statesman standing atop the dynamite barrel is one of the quartet of Stretching Room paintings, works that are beyond well known to Haunted Mansion mavens.

Now a devoted fan, should that fan be the highest bidder, will take an early rendering of that painting home.

Nope, the statesman-boxer shorts portrait currently on display at the world's best-known theme park isn't leaving Anaheim; rather, an original stretching portrait from early in the Mansion's run is now up for auction at Van Eaton Galleries in Sherman Oaks.

Today the stretching portraits are printed canvas works, but this particular piece, which hails from the attraction's first few years, was painted by hand.

Wear and tear and alllll of that "stretching" — wink — meant the painting headed for retirement in 1972, but it is about to add a new chapter to its story after the Saturday, Nov. 19 auction.

The starting bid for the stretching portrait is $20,000. If that's not in your budget at the moment, the Souvenirs of Disneyland auction includes hundreds of other items, including maps, postcards, and more.

If you're curious as to how long it is at full length, the listed size is 47" by 116" (so, a few inches under ten feet). 

If you're curious if it is framed, meaning its stretching days are officially over, well, yes: It is "(b)eautifully framed and ready for presentation."

If you're curious as to whether you'll need to build an octagonal elevator in your own home to properly display it, well, we'll leave that up to you. 

Oh, did we say "octagonal elevator" there? Slip of the tongue. Obviously the Haunted Mansion, which has long served as the enchanted and atmospheric home to 999 happy haunts, possesses a real, honest-to-Hatbox-Ghost Stretching Room. 

And, like avocados and freeways, the four stretching portraits inside the Haunted Mansion are as classic California as classic California comes.

They're iconic sights known to many fans, near and far, and that a bold bidder is about to have one to display inside their own at-home Stretching Room is exciting.

Perhaps even as exciting as accurately guessing which Hitchhiking Ghost will appear in your Doom Buggy at the close of the ride. (Suggestion: Always go with Phineas, the "Traveler" or Suitcase Ghost.)

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