7 Fun Facts About THE GHOST AND MRS. MUIR
Based on the 1947 movie starring Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison, the TV series The Ghost And Mrs. Muir is a gem. Like its big-screen predecessor, the series tells the story of a widow who moves into a haunted house with her children and housekeeper. The Muir family is delighted with the old house, but its original owner would rather keep it to himself. Captain Daniel Gregg is an ornery ghost who does everything in his power to discourage Mrs. Muir from staying. Before long, though, the captain discovers that he’s quite fond of the young widow.
A terrific cast, well-written scripts, and supernatural fun make The Ghost And Mrs. Muir a must see. Enjoy the following fun facts about the series:
1. Mrs. Muir takes home two Emmys.
Hope Lange’s portrayal of Carolyn Muir garnered her two Emmy wins as leading actress in a comedy series. The Ghost And Mrs. Muir was Lange’s first starring role in a television show, but she was hardly an ingénue. Lange was born to show-business parents in Redding Ridge, Connecticut and appeared on Broadway at the age of 12. Her film debut was in Joshua Logan’s Bus Stop (1956) co-starring her soon-to-be-husband Don Murray and an actress you may have heard of named Marilyn Monroe.
2. Edward Mulhare followed in the footsteps of Rex Harrison.
Irish-born Edward Mulhare was working in a Laurence Olivier-directed London production of Othello with Orson Welles when he was spotted by lyricist Alan Jay Lerner. Lerner then signed the actor as an understudy to Rex Harrison for the part of Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady. When Harrison left the production in 1957, Mulhare took over the role. Years later Mulhare became Captain Daniel Gregg on The Ghost And Mrs. Muir, a role originated by Rex Harrison in the 1947 movie.
3. Reta Shaw seemed to be connected to the supernatural.
Reta Shaw is perhaps best known for playing Mrs. Muir’s housekeeper Martha Grant in The Ghost And Mrs. Muir. However, the prolific character actor’s career in film and television began in the early 1950s. As it turns out, Shaw had a penchant for playing roles connected to the supernatural. In 1964 she played “The Domestic” to Julie Andrews’ magical Mary Poppins in Robert Stevenson’s classic Disney film. Two years later, Shaw played Mrs. Halcyon Maxwell in Alan Rafkin’s The Ghost And Mr. Chicken. Finally, the popular Bewitched series also featured Reta Shaw in a recurring role as Samantha’s Aunt Hagatha.
4. Charles Nelson Reilly was more than just a game show fixture.
Charles Nelson Reilly is best remembered for his regular appearances on TV game shows throughout the 1970s and 1980s. However, few are aware that Reilly began his acting career in distinguished fashion. Before heading to Hollywood, the Bronx-born Reilly was a Tony Award-winning acting teacher turned Broadway director. His musical comedy prowess was such that he understudied for Dick Van Dyke in Broadway’s Bye Bye Birdie. The Ghost And Mrs. Muir was Charles’ first regular TV series. In the show he plays Claymore Gregg, nephew to the Captain and cheapskate landlord.
5. Comparing small and big screen Gull Cottages.
The TV version of The Ghost And Mrs. Muir was set in Maine with Captain Gregg’s Gull Cottage portrayed as an oceanfront property. The actual house used for exteriors was located in Santa Monica, CA, but wasn’t on the ocean. The interiors were shot on a soundstage. In contrast, the Gull Cottage in the 1947 movie was set in the fictitious English village of Whitecliff By The Sea. That house was built in Palos Alto, CA by 20th Century Fox and was taken down after filming.
6. The special effects were “crude and awesome.”
Kellie Flanagan, who played Mrs. Muir’s young daughter Candice on TV, recalled having no shortage of fun stuff to do on the set. She referred to the soundstage as “an imagination-atrium for kids.” Flanagan also enjoyed being asked to freeze during the scenes when Captain Gregg appeared and disappeared. The camera would keep rolling as Edward Mulhare came and went. Those scenes were later fixed in the editing room to make it seem as though Mulhare had ghostly powers. Flanagan also described the set as having wires everywhere to accommodate the many objects the Captain would often displace to scare intruders. It’s understandable why Flanagan would call the special effects in those days “crude and awesome.”
7. The Ghost And Mrs. Muir had several incarnations.
The novel The Ghost And Mrs. Muir by Josephine Leslie (under the pseudonym R. A. Dick) was published in 1945. 20th Century Fox released the Joseph Mankiewicz-directed feature film in May 1947. In December of that year, The Ghost And Mrs. Muir was adapted as an hour-long radio play on Lux Radio Theater starring Charles Boyer and Madeleine Carroll. The Screen Director’s Playhouse also adapted the piece in 1951 with Boyer and Jane Wyatt playing the main roles. The TV series followed almost two decades later.
Be sure to tune in to see The Ghost And Mrs. Muir on getTV each weekday at 8:15 am ET!