The 1960’s were good to Disney Studios and the world with all of the releases that Walt and his creative crew were making. Blackbeard’s Ghost was one of those classic films that is great for the entire family. It is full of laughs, romantic interests, scandal, morals and of course the ghost of Edward Teach who was lovingly known as Blackbeard (Peter Ustinov). Really, that is what they call him in the film, lovingly known as but you will just have to see it for yourself if you don’t believe me. This is one film that the whole family will love unless they only want to see blood and guts. This film has none of those just a lot of slapstick and ghostly fun to delight and entertain.
Steve Walker (Dean Jones) has been employed to be the next coach of the Godolphin track and field team in the town of Godolphin, North Carolina. As he is driving into town he meets the captain of the track and field team Gudger Larkin (Hank Jones) closing up the gas station on the way to town. He tells Steve that the last coach cracked up and just up and disappeared without a trace. After seeing the team Steve could understand why, they are terrible with a loosing streak that is decades long. Asked where Steve was to stay he tells Gudger that he is staying at the Blackbeard’s Inn, a hotel that is run by the elderly descendants of the dread pirate’s crew. It is a night that is going to change the Steve’s fortunes forever, he just doesn’t know it yet, even after Emily Stowecroft (Elsa Lanchester) tells him after reading his palm. She is the proprietor of the inn and is trying to raise money to keep it out of the nefarious hands of Silky Seymour (Joby Baker), a local mobster that wants the land to open a casino. She and the rest of the Daughters of Buccaneers are holding a bazaar to raise the money to pay off the bank and keep Silky off the island for good. Silky wants to see them fail and tries to make sure that no one bids on the items at the auction. This puts Steve off and he in trying to up the football coach and to both impress Jo Anne Baker (Suzanne Pleshette) and make a fool of Silky pays $200 dollar for a bedpan that belonged to Blackbeard’s 10th wife Aldetha Teach, a witch burned who cursed the pirate.
After the bazaar he goes to his room and sits on the handle of the bed warmer he just bought for 200 dollars, that was a great sum of money back then. Inside the handle he finds a spell book that belonged to Aldetha. In it he finds a spell that is supposed to show to the one casting it those that are bound in limbo. Being a skeptic he of course recites the lines and Blackbeard in a red mist is shown to him. From that moment on the pirate is bound to Steve as he is trying to make something of the track team he has been hired to coach. Blackbeard doesn’t make it easy for him and does everything that he can just to have fun and make Steve’s life miserable. In an act that Blackbeard feels is good he takes the money raised for the old ladies at the inn and bets it on Godolphin to win the track and field meet, something that has not happened for a very long time. While Steve tries to stop him he is constantly wrestled to the ground on several occasions as they think the coach has lost his mind.
This film is definitely a must see and will bring a smile to your face as you watch it. It doesn’t matter that it was made in the 60’s and is not full of CGI tricks and such. Everything in the film is done with props, matte painting and miniatures. In other words it was done when the craft of making a film really meant something and in a time when producers and directors went out of their way to make is seem like something was real. This is a classic Disney film distributed by Buena Vista that is to be cherished and needs to be brought to light again for the world to see and appreciate.
I give this film a Musing review of