THE GHOST & MRS MUIR (1968-1970)

(YouTube) Ah, the 60s, the heyday of high-concept TV shows! As you might surmise from the title, this is a belated TV adaptation of the novel/film, starring Hope Lange — in her first recurring TV role — as Carolyn Muir, and Edward Mulhare as Captain Gregg, the pirate captain who haunts the house that the widow Muir has moved her son, daughter, and moppet pup to. To inject a bit more conflict, Charles Nelson Reilly — also his first recurring TV role — is Captain Gregg’s very nervous great-grand-nephew Claymore Gregg, who is reluctantly renting the property — Gull Cottage — to Mrs. Muir.

The show was the brainchild of Jean Holloman, who also penned the epic melodrama MADAME X (1966) and, apart from the inclusion of Reilly and one more kid, the show hews pretty close the source material(s), centering mostly around the tension (albeit less sexual and more about sharing a space) between Mrs. Muir and Captain Gregg. However, it’s been modernized a bit — Carolyn’s already an established writer, she wears pants, and she takes no guff. That said, they needed to ramp up the conflict, which usually meant random folks and guest stars would drop by, and hijinks would ensue.

It only lasted for one season on NBC, but then ABC picked it up for a second season — handsomely pairing it with THAT GIRL and BEWITCHED, but it still failed to catch on and ABC canceled it after the second season.

I won’t pretend that the show is brilliant, but it’s a comfortable oddity, admirably performed, and perfect for a lazy long holiday weekend. I don’t believe it received an official US DVD release — my copy consists of bootlegs acquired from eBay — but nowadays the entire series can be found on YouTube.

Pilot: