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The Hitchhiking Ghosts as they appeared in 1969

"Beware of Hitchhiking Ghosts!"

- The Ghost Host mentioning the Hitchhiking Ghosts upon leaving the Graveyard.

The Hitchhiking Ghosts also known by their semi-official names of Phineas, Ezra and Gus are a trio of happy haunts that are the most recognizable characters from the Haunted Mansion, effectively the "poster ghosts" for the attraction.



Description

Members

Prisoner

The Prisoner, also known by his semi-official name of Gus, is a short, dwarf-like figure whose most prominent features are his long beard and ball and chain that is shackled around his ankle. He also appears in the Graveyard scene next to the Executioner and the Beheaded Knight, where his singing voice is provided by Candy Candido.

Skeleton

The Skeleton, also known by his semi-official name of Ezra, is a tall phantom that wears a bowler hat and has the same face mold as the Hatbox Ghost and other skeletal characters.

Traveler

The Traveler, also known by his semi-official name of Phineas, is a plump, hunchbacked ghost who wears a top hat and carries around a carpetbag.

Names

The three hitchhikers are almost always identified by the names Ezra, Gus and Phineas. While originally not found within any of the attractions in and of themselves, this was the result of the cast-member created Ghost Gallery story made to elaborate on the mansion's fictional history. In the story the three were identified as Ezra Dobbins, Gus Gracey, and Prof. Phineas Queeg though their surnames are not so unanimously used. In 2011, tombstones were added to the exterior of the Haunted Mansion in Walt Disney World which bore the names, "Ezra", "Gus", and, "Phineas" alongside the names of other classic Haunted Mansion characters, seeming to confirm the names.

Promotional material would also frequently use the Ezra, Gus, and Phineas names. Seemingly started in 2016, there would be a push for the three to be identified by the names of Ezra Beane, Prof. Phineas Plump, and simply, "Gus". This seemed to start with Disney Crossy Road but would be shared with souvenir popcorn cans and Host a Ghost jars. While these appear to be their company-mandated names, they have yet to be directly utilized in any Haunted Mansion.

Appearances

The Haunted Mansion

In all versions of the Haunted Mansion, after the Graveyard scene, they appear in a crypt with their thumbs out in the classic hitchhiking gesture. One of the three will then show up reflected in a set of mirrors the doom buggies pass, showing them sitting in with the guests in their car. The Ghost Host mentions how the mortal guests have been "selected to fill our quota" and how the hitchhikers will follow them home.

Walt Disney World

In February 2011, the Hitchhiking Ghosts at Walt Disney World were replaced with CGI animated characters. These were temporary as a way to make up for the new animatronics being made by the Imagineers. In April of 2011 Disney revealed brand new figures of the hitchhiking ghosts with more detail than ever. The old mirror trick the ghosts were known for was replaced with new technology which is reportedly similar to that of an XBox Kinect. Now the ghosts have the ability to interact with the guests, such as playing pranks on them. The vocals for all three of the CG ghosts were provided by actor Kurt Von Schmittou.

Haunted Mansion Holiday

For the first two years of Haunted Mansion Holiday, the Hitchhiking Ghosts were replaced with three jack-o-lanterns that would be Jack's gift to the guests. However, if one looks closely in the area where all three usually stand, where Lock, Shock, and Barrel now peer in through a window, they can be seen in the distance, implying that they never really left.

They are also mentioned in the narration, trying to pick up a ride on Jack Skellington's sleigh, but they are ultimately denied, as Jack has to leave to continue his midnight journey.

Photo Opportunities

One of the three ghosts will appear in photographs taken by Walt Disney World photographers in-front of the Haunted Mansion.

Promotional Artwork

The Hitchhiking Ghosts are almost always featured on official artwork advertising the ride. The classic posters for the rides in Disneyland, the Magic Kingdom and Tokyo Disneyland all feature the ghosts in a hitchhiking pose outside of the Haunted Mansion. These posters can typically be found on Main Street U.S.A. in the gateway entrance to the park.

Other Park Appearances

Star Tours: The Adventures Continue

In Tokyo Disneyland's version of Star Tours: The Adventures Continue, three droids can be found at the end of the attraction made to resemble the Hitchhiking Ghosts. This includes an RX-series pilot droid holding a  Marksman-H combat remote on a string to resemble the prisoner, and two F-series repair droids mirroring the skeleton and traveler with the Skeleton counterpart having a hat, and the traveler counterpart having a luggage bag.

Disney Skyliner

The Hitchhiking Ghosts appear on the artwork for one of the gondolas in Walt Disney World's Disney Skyliners.

World of Disney

This story in Disney Springs is themed to having once been an animation studio used by the Walt Disney Company. On a table implied to have been used by Marc Davis are illustrations of the Hitchhiking Ghosts.

Other Appearances

Films

Haunted Mansion Movie

The Hitchhiking Ghosts make a brief appearance in the 2003 film, passed by the hearse carrying the Evers family through the graveyard, striking their ubiquitous pose. The three appear in the hearse a moment later, startling Jim Evers. While the Skeleton observes silently, the Traveler and Prisoner argue how the Evers see them, thinking they are invisible until the Prisoner accuses Jim as a liar and psychic.

Early script drafts for the movie have revealed that the three ghosts were going to play larger comic relief supporting roles, similar to the characters Emma and Ezra in the final film. In these drafts, the trio were the mansion's former servants. Phineas was the mansion's head chef (complete with French accent), Ezra was the coachman, and Gus was the groundskeeper rather than a ball-and-chained prisoner. The Skeleton is cropped out of frame in fullscreen home video releases.

Mickey's House of Villains

The Hitchhikers made another appearance in the direct to DVD film Mickey's House of Villains, based off of the TV series House of Mouse. They were released from their crate by Cruella De Vil, during the Disney Villains' takeover of The House of Mouse. They can be seen sitting at a table together, when Mickey returns in his Sorcerer's Apprentice costume.

Promotional Films

2004 Disneyland Advertisement

A promotional ad for Disneyland in 2004 revolved around the Hitchhiking Ghosts riding different Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure attractions with a few other ghosts. They go on the Haunted Mansion, Matterhorn Bobsleds, and the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror all gleefully. When they have to go on It's a Small World however, they scream at the sight of the happy singing dolls. In this ad, they are played by the same actors who portrayed them in the 2003 film.

Television

House of Mouse

On House Of Mouse, the Hitchhiking Ghosts make a cameo appearance onstage after Pete says, "That stage is deader than the Haunted Mansion". They also appear in the episode House Ghosts where they are freed from a crate by Pete and scare him along with the other residents from The Haunted Mansion''. including the Lonesome Ghosts, the Hatbox Ghost, the Executioner, the Skeletons from The Skeleton Dance, and The Bride. They sang "Grim Grinning Ghosts" in an upbeat tune. They appear at the end of the episode, when Mickey tells Donald about their interruption.

Muppets Haunted Mansion

The Hitchhiking Ghosts appear in CGI form in the special's ending, having hitched a ride in Gonzo and Pepe's hearse back home, with Kermit spotting them in a video call to Gonzo and asking if they'll be joining them for their post-Halloween breakfast get together.

Printed Material

Ghost Gallery

SLG Comics

The Hitchhiking Ghosts show up in several stories throughout, often as cameos. Each one gets their own individual story explaining how they died and came to haunt Gracey Manor, and they are referred to by their names: Gus with "The Big Nap," Ezra with "Laugh? I Thought I'd Die!" and Phineas with the previously-unreleased "The Doctor is In."

Disney Kingdoms

In this series, the trio like many of the other ghosts, were trapped in the Grand Hall by the Captain's curse and were unable to leave. When the Captain tries to intimidate Danny with his powers, he casts a spell on the hitchhikers and transforms them into bestial monsters, though the Prisoner's ball and chain ends up knocking Danny out of the hall and out of the reach of the spell's effect, letting him regain his senses. The trio is restored to normal once the Captain's magic influence has been broken, and they take a liking to Danny and begin following him home and back.

Tales from the Haunted Mansion

The Hitchhiking Ghosts play a recurring minor role throughout the series as a regular haunting seen along Route 13, the cursed highway that leads to the Mansion and the neighboring Eternal Grace Cemetery, often trying to hitch a ride from whatever foolish mortals are driving along the road at night.

Video-Games

Kinect Disneyland Adventures

The Hitchhiking Ghosts make several appearances in this game's Haunted Mansion levels. They first appear when they warn the player to leave the mansion and then reappear throughout the levels as common enemies defeated by flashlights. In the end cutscene they perform their famous hitchhiking pose as the Ghost Host mentions them following the guests home.

Disney Crossy Road

In this video-game, the three are playable characters referred to as Ezra Beane, Prof. Phineas Plump and Gus.

Live-Appearances

Mickey's Boo-To-You Halloween Parade

The Hitchhiking Ghosts appear on the last Haunted Mansion float is a platform with an ornate backdrop and willow leaves covering the railing. The Hitchhiking Ghosts are standing on the top, moving to the music. They point towards the guests and do their signature thumb motions to hitch a ride. Their float is followed by the Halloween Hoedown units

Meet 'n' Greets

The Hitchhiking Ghosts have appeared as rare meet n greet characters at special Halloween-time events.

Paraphernalia

Ghost Post

The Hitchhiking Ghosts - once again referred to as Ezra, Phineas and Gus - can be heard bantering with each other through the Phantom Radio. The Great Unraveling has hit them particularly hard, robbing them of their ability to hitchhike away from the mansion with foolish mortals, and they actively talk about their frustration and despair at this fact. Despite this, it is never confirmed if they are ever properly enlisted in the Committee of Wandering Ghosts, despite Sally Slater's best efforts to recruit Phineas in one broadcast. They are, however, sympathetic to the cause and do their part to help find a solution to the fog outside.

In addition, players that could visit Disneyland and ride the Haunted Mansion with their app would get a special audio greeting from the Hitchhiking Ghosts when they passed them in the crypt.

Ezra was voiced by Pete Renoudet, Phineas by Stephen Stanton, and Gus by Dee Bradley Baker.

Merchandise

The Hitchhiking Ghosts are probably the most prolifically featured characters in Haunted Mansion merchandise. 2019 popcorn buckets for the three sold in the Churro Stand outside the New Orleans Square mansion even included tombstones for each of them saying, "Rest In Peace Professor Phineas Plump his travel plans have hit a bump", "Dearly departed Ezra Beane, unluckiest hitchhiker we've ever seen" and, "Here lies good ol' Gus, hitchhiking because he missed his bus R.I.P.".

Trader Sam's Grog Grotto

Special tiki-style mugs have been sold in the visage of the Hitchhiking Ghosts at this location.

Trivia

  • Despite being some of the most famous ghosts in the attraction, they were never given any official backstory.
  • The Hitchhiking Ghosts are often considered to be Disney Villains and to be featured amongst this Disney franchise.

Gallery

References

http://www.insidethemagic.net/2011/04/first-look-new-haunted-mansion-animated-hitchhiking-ghost-mirror-scene-effects-materialize-at-walt-disney-world-playing-pranks-on-guests/

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