Snow White Looks upon Death / by Michael Ng

Snow White Looks upon Death: .
I apologize for the long wait since the last post (long by Long-Forgotten standards, anyway). This isn't "the next post" so much as a snack to tide us over until dinner. It's a visual coincidence, an oddity, something that stimulates imagination, if not investigation.

I'm going to be discussing Claude Coats in the next post, and in my Coats file is this curiosity. We start with a magnificent and well-known concept sketch for the ballroom that Coats apparently executed when the attraction was still going to be a walk-thru.


Not to tip my hand too much, but we'll be looking more closely at this sketch in the upcoming post. For now,
I would direct your attention to the ghostly faces and death's heads floating about in the darkness on the right.


Now let's move a world away. Let's visit one of Disneyland's finest "quiet
spots," the Snow White Grotto adjacent to the Sleeping Beauty castle. Lovely.


Here's a very different view, taken (I believe) by Brett Garrett of Visions Fantastic fame.


Very nice. Now look at Snow White's reflection in the dark waters below her.


You can probably see already where I'm going with this. Let's add a few
of Claude's phantom faces to the reflections on the water's surface...


If this were part of a film, we'd call it foreshadowing, seeing as how Snow
White is headed for a long sleep in a glass coffin. Glass . . . so like water.

This accidental poignancy reminds me of a well-known visual pun with a sombre
purpose, "All is Vanity." As you know, they attempted to replicate this artwork (of
which there are many versions) in the bride's boudoir at Phantom Manor in Paris.



But I prefer the accidental one. It really isn't that obscure, you know.
You needn't fish around for peculiar photos of the Snow White grotto,
nor comb through Haunted Mansion concept art. Invert any number of
photos of Snow White, and you'll see the death's head, trailing a veil.


I'm not in a position to run over to Disneyland and check, but I would suppose her reflection
in the moat presents the image any time the lighting is right and you care to look for it.