Happy 30th, Ghost!

                                                     

I remembered Ghost as being more sad than scary. I was thinking of “Unchained Melody” playing as Patrick Swayze sat behind Demi Moore at her pottery wheel, their hands coated with clay.

I also remembered Whoopi Goldberg being hilarious, which of course she was. In doing research on the film, I discovered that Swayze and Goldberg were friends and that it was supposedly Swayze’s idea to cast Goldberg as Oda Mae.

Ghost was the first PG-13 movie I saw in a theater and it came out a couple of weeks after my thirteenth birthday. It was probably the only thing I was looking forward to that summer (aside from said birthday) that had nothing to do with New Kids on the Block. 

Parts of Ghost were so scary, I’m thinking of watching it again for Halloween. Aside from seeing it in the theater as a late birthday present, I think I rented it once when it came out on home video as a new release. 

As a thirteen year old, there were some things I wouldn’t have been aware of that I noticed on my most recent viewing: 

1. At the very beginning of the movie, Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, and Tony Goldwyn are standing in a dusty abandoned loft. All three of them are wearing N-95 type masks! 

There was something oddly comforting about seeing something that has become such a part of my “normal” current day life in a movie from my early adolescence. 

2. I forgot that when “Unchained Melody” by The Righteous Brothers plays, it plays from Molly’s AWESOME jukebox. It was almost worth revisiting the movie for that jukebox alone. To use one of Jason’s favorite words, it’s glorious. Jukeboxes make me think of our long gone local Pizza Hut and the bar in one of our local (also long gone) bowling alleys. 

3.  If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen my posts of “Squishy Bill”.  “Squishy Bill” is a plush William Shakespeare doll from the Little Thinkers line by a company called The Unemployed Philosopher’s Guild. 

When I was thirteen, I had never read anything by William Shakespeare. We didn’t have any Shakespeare until high school. We read Romeo and Juliet in ninth grade, Julius Caesar in tenth, eleventh was American Literature (no Shakespeare that year) and in twelfth (British Literature), we read the play referenced in this film, Macbeth.

There is a scene shortly before Sam’s tragic death where Sam tells his friend, Carl (Goldwyn) that he and Molly are going to see Macbeth. Saying the name of the play in a theater unless you are rehearsing or performing the actual play is supposed to be bad luck. I guess Sam either didn’t know about it or he thought he was safe because he was in an office above a bank and not in a theater.

This serves as an interesting bit of foreshadowing as in previous scenes Sam calls finding a heads-up penny on the floor a “good omen” and considers cancelling a business trip when he and Molly see news footage of a plane crash. Sam says, “These things always happen in threes.” 

Why would a character who has been shown to be superstitious suddenly say something considered by many to be bad luck?  

As they are walking home from the play, Sam and Molly are mugged. Sam fights the mugger and gets shot. 

4. When he is trying to convince Oda Mae to help him contact Molly, Sam sings “I’m Henry the Eighth”. Swayze sang this with a Cockney accent and it’s really cute. I remembered that he sang the song, but forgot about him doing the accent. 

When Oda Mae tells Molly about Sam singing the song to her, Molly says “That’s how he got me to go out with him.” One of the lines in the song is “She wouldn’t have a Willy or a Sam.” 

Why would a guy named Sam choose this song to try to get a date? 

5. When I watched Stranger Things, there was something about Murray Bauman that seemed familiar. Even after I recognized the actor who plays Murray, I still couldn’t put my finger on it. 

It’s the Subway Ghost who is first hostile toward Sam (and very possessive of his train) and later teaches him how to move objects. No, it’s not the same actor, but the characters of Subway Ghost and Murray Bauman share a lovable cantankerousness. 

6. Oda Mae’s sisters/assistants refer to her as “Sister” Oda Mae. After Oda Mae gets the cashier’s check from the bank as “Rita Miller”, Sam convinces her to give the check to nuns collecting for an orphanage. 

I’ve been wanting to rewatch Sister Act all week. 

7. While Oda Mae and her sisters are hiding from the bad guys who want to kill her and Molly, they are watching The Arsenio Hall Show. One of her sisters asks to change the channel to Love Connection

8. Tony Goldwyn (Carl) was an unknown at the time of Ghost’s release. Of course, since then, he has voiced Disney’s Tarzan and played the POTUS on Scandal

This man deserves big time credit for being able to hold his own alongside megastars like Swayze, Goldberg (who won a long deserved Oscar for this role) and Moore. If there had been an MTV Movie Awards back then, Goldwyn would have been a shoo-in for Breakthrough Performance. 

If I say anything else, I’ll spoil the movie and I really don’t want to do that. Ghost is one hundred percent worth either checking out for the first time or a rewatch, even if the special effects seem a little dated. So snuggle up, pop some popcorn, and settle in for a wild ride. 

You can watch Ghost on Amazon Prime for just $3.99!

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About Karen Flieger 17 Articles
I was born in the late 1970’s, spent my childhood in the 1980’s, and my pre-teen and teen years in the 1990’s. I graduated from Kennesaw State University in 2001 with a B.A. in English. I collect various forms of media (books, music, movies, and television shows) as well as plush toys, dolls, and Funko figures.