“When the crypt doors creak and the tombstones quake
Spooks come out for a swinging wake;
Happy haunts materialize
And begin to vocalize,
Grim Grinning Ghosts come out to socialize!”
Francis Xavier Atencio, better known as “X” Atencio, passed away on September 10th, 2017 at the age of 98.
Born in 1919, X became a Disney animator in 1938, working on such classics as Pinocchio and Fantasia. In 1965, he became an Imagineer, which led to being tasked by Walt Disney to write the script for the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. He also wrote the lyrics to the ride’s theme “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me)” and lent his voice to several characters.
Perhaps most notably for ghost fans, he wrote the story and dialogue for The Haunted Mansion, and penned the lyrics for its iconic song “Grim Grinning Ghosts”. X’s voice can also be heard throughout the attraction.
X Atencio retired from Disney in 1984, but continued to be a consultant and mentor, and was inducted as a Disney Legend in 1996.
RIP X. Your spirit lives on where there are wall-to-wall creaks, and hot and cold running chills.
Here’s a video featuring X Atencio and his work.