Blackbeard’s Ghost (1968)
Film and Plot Synopsis
Blackbeard’s Ghost tells the story of Godolphin College’s new track coach Steve Walker who arrives in Goldolphin, Maryland to coach a decrepit team. There, he finds an evil gangster named Silky Seymour trying his best to swindle Blackbeard’s descendants, known as the Daughters of the Buccaneers, out of their inn. The beautiful and single Professor Jo Anne Baker tries to help the Daughters, and when Steve spots Jo Anne, he falls for her. Things are complicated when Steve accidentally conjures up Blackbeard’s ghost; a ghost only he can see and hear.
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‘Blackbeard’s Ghost’ Movie Summary
The Daughters of the Buccaneers, the descendants of the pirate’s crew now run it, and need $38,000 to keep the bank from foreclosing on it. The town’s crime boss, Silky Seymour, wants the old ladies to forfeit on it so he can build a casino there.
Before the auction, Steve meets his new boss, Dean Wheaton, who has nothing but bad things to say about Steve’s track team. Wheaton wants to end the program, but the school’s boosters insists he keep it so they can continue the tradition of entering the Broxton Relay track meet every year.
Dean Wheaton introduces Steve to his pretentious football coach, Pinetop Purvis. After their awkward introduction, Steve bumps into the very attractive Godolphin professor, Jo Anne Baker at a kissing booth. Mistaking her for the person running the booth, he kisses her, but the professor is in fact there to help the Daughters save Blackbeard’s Inn.
During the auction, Seymour and his thugs try to bully bidders from buying any items. Steve draws Seymour’s ire when he refuses to back down, and begins a bidding war with Mr. Purvis, over an antique bed warmer. He wins the bed warmer (which Blackbeard’s 10th wife, Aldetha Teach once owned) with a $200 bid.
Conjuring up the ghostIn his hotel room, Steve accidentally breaks the wooden handle of the bed warmer, and finds a book of magic spells Aldetha wrote hidden in its hallow chamber. Aldetha was a witch in her living years, and Steve recites one of her spells aloud. When he utters the words: ”to bring to your eyes and ears one who is bound in Limbo,” the ghost of Blackbeard appears. We learn Blackbeard has been in limbo for over 200 years because Aldetha cursed him to eternity there until he performs a good deed.
The spell binds Steve and Blackbeard together, and only Steve can see or hear the ghost. Blackbeard commanders Steve’s car as he drives, and after wreaking havoc on the town, a cop pulls Steve over. While the officer can’t see Blackbeard, and he smells alcohol, and finds a bottle of rum in the car. The cop thinks Steve is drunk and arrests him; but not before Blackbeard takes his motorcycle, and runs it into a tree.
In jail, Steve tries to persuade Blackbeard to give his treasure over to the Daughters of the Buccaneers to save the inn, and break the spell. However, Blackbeard says that there isn’t any treasure left to give. He says he spent it all in one week, so Steve calls him a phony.
The police release Steve from jail the next morning due to a lack of evidence, and Godolphin College’s decides what to do with the new coach. Dean Wheaton asks Professor Baker to keep an eye on him as they question his sanity.
Meet the new teamDean Wheaton made it clear to Steve the night they met that Steve’s new team must win the Broxton Relay track meet in order for him to keep his job. Unfortunately, his team is horrible—even worse than horrible, and it stands no chance of winning. Blackbeard offers to teach the boys how to win, but Steve tells him to leave his team (and the opposing teams) alone. He wants to win without cheating.
Later that night, Professor Baker takes Steve to Silky’s Place, the nicest restaurant in town, but Silky Seymour, owns it. Seymour doesn’t like Steve at all, but he plays nice for now. When Blackbeard sees $900 meant for one of the Inn’s mortgage payments in Professor Baker’s purse, he steals the money. He takes it to Seymours casino, and bets it all on Steve’s track team to win the Broxton Relay track meet. Those winnings will be more than enough to pay the Daughter’s mortgage in full.
Professor Baker confronts Steve over the bet as the meet starts. This is the first Steve’s heard of the bet, and it angers him greatly. When he blames Blackbeard for the bet, Professor Baker doesn’t believe him. She’s upset Steve would do this to her and the ladies. Steve then yells at Blackbeard, and tells him once more to stay away from his team.
Professor Baker sees Seymour at the meet, and asks him to cancel the bet, but he refuses. He says he’s a man of integrity, and a bet is a bet. Blackbeard sees the conversation, and jumps into ghostly action. He sabotages the meet’s individual events which allows Godolphin to win the meet. Professor Baker and the little old ladies are delighted to win the bet.
Silky goes back on his wordBack at the inn, Steve is upset the boys won through cheating, and he quits as the coach (even though he’s happy the ladies will keep the inn). However, Professor Baker arrives to tell him Silky welched on the bet. So, Steve goes to confront him. Blackbeard offers to serve under Steve’s command to get the money, and Steve accepts his offer. Thinking Steve has flipped his lid, Professor Baker goes with him to Silky’s Place.
Once there, Seymour still won’t pay off on the bet, but he does offer Professor Baker her original $900, and suggests they go play some roulette. Blackbeard tells Steve to take him up on the offer. There at the roulette table, they win the money needed to pay off the inn’s mortgage. However, Seymour refuses to let them leave with the $38,000 they won. Blackbeard beats up Seymour’s thugs as Professor Baker and Steve return to the inn to pay the debt.
On a beach outside the inn, the Daughters of the Buccaneers along with Professor Baker recite an incantation at Steve’s prompting. With the chant, Blackbeard appears to them all. They give him the honor of burning the deed, which he does; releasing him from Aldetha’s curse. Blackbeard rows off into the foggy night, and returns to his waiting dead crew and their ghost ship.
Jo Anne live happily ever after.
Additional Film Information
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Buena Vista Distribution released Blackbeard's Ghost on February 8, 1968. Robert Stevenson directed the film starring Peter Ustinov, Dean Jones, and Suzanne Pleshette.