The Singing Busts are characters from the Disney theme park attractions The Haunted Mansion and Phantom Manor and the 2003 feature film The Haunted Mansion. They are the main singers of the iconic song "Grim Grinning Ghosts".
They are played by Jay Meyer, Thurl Ravenscroft, Verne Rowe, Bob Ebright and Chuck Schroeder, a group known as the Mellomen. Originally, the Busts were to be portrayed by five actors, but the decision was made to use the singers after they showed a good deal of emotion during the recording session. They sing the majority of the song and, like many of the ghosts, each Bust has an official character name.
From left to right, their names are Rollo Rumkin (Rowe), Uncle Theodore (Ravenscroft), Cousin Algernon (Schroeder), Ned Nub (Meyer), and Phineas P. Pock (Ebright).
- An homage to the Singing Busts appears in Hercules. During the song "I Won't Say (I'm in Love)", the five Muses appear as the Busts.
- In the film, the number of Busts has been reduced to a quartet. This was obviously inspired by Phantom Manor, which also has the Busts reduced to a quartet. Also, one of their faces once again has the likeness of Thurl Ravenscroft (just like the ride).
- Uncle Theodore is "broken" because of yet another Imagineering error during development of the Mansion. If you look closely at any image of the Theodore Bust in one piece, you might notice that the figure is symmetrical up to the base, which is not symmetrical, so to avoid this problem, the Bust (being made of foam) was cut in half and has remained that way since. However, the problem was corrected for Phantom Manor, where Theodore, who is now intact and placed at the end of the row, is tilting about 90 degrees to the right. This misalignment cleverly masks the symmetry error from before.
- The Busts make a cameo in the video game Epic Mickey and can be seen in one of the Stretching Room Portraits in Lonesome Manor. Their portrait is based on the Constance Hatchaway portrait and they replace the bust of Constance's final spouse, George Hightower III with the tombstone instead saying "Here lies: Theodore, Al, Ned, Rollo, Phineas".
- Rollo Rumkin's name is a reference to the Imagineer Rolly Crump.
- There was originally planned to be a sixth (female) Singing Bust - Aunt Lucretia - but this was never used, though some refer to Lucretia as the female staring bust in the Portrait Hall. Why she never made it into the group is unknown.
- Originally, Jay Meyer portrayed Rollo Rumkin and Verne Rowe portrayed Ned Nub. These two later had their faces switched, however, and are still switched to this day. So now Jay Meyer is Ned Nub and Verne Rowe is Rollo Rumkin. In Phantom Manor though, it was the other way around on opening day, but now the two still have their original faces in this version. Why this switcheroo happened in any ride is unknown.
- The Singing Busts are often misidentified as "The Phantom Five", which is the name of the ghost minstrels seen in the Haunted Mansion's graveyard sequence.
- Many people believe one of the busts is based on Walt Disney and another based on Leslie Nielsen because of the resemblance the two busts have to the men themselves; however, this is a common misconception.
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