The Case of Mr. Boogedy

Boogedy

This week we’re continuing our Disney Halloween with a double feature! Both of these films were part of the Magical World of Disney or The Wonderful World of Disney, an anthology series that started in 1954. These films are: Mr Boogedy and Bride of Boogedy!

So far we’ve done episodes about witches, the boogeyman, and even unexplained alien forces! This week, however, we are focusing on the most classic type of monster: ghosts! Humans have believed in ghosts since the beginning of history. Spirits of the dead appear in folklore across the world, and many people still believe in ghosts today!

According to a 2013 poll, 45% of Americans say they believe in ghosts. The endearing quality of a good ghost story comes from the fact that most people have experienced something that they can’t explain. Telling these stories connects us and is a lot of fun. Some experts believe that we want ghosts to be real because we long for a connection to the past and the people that come before us. And of course, if we know the history of a place, humans can make connections that aren’t there. 

I found a Scientific American article that lays out some possible explanations for ghosts. They explored explanations for the physical sensations we identify with a supernatural presence, like low frequency sound or mold. 

In a BBC article, Tok Thompson suggests that ghost stories remind people that ethics transcend our own lives and teach us to live well. Ghost stories can be hopeful, showing us that there is life beyond death and that for some, there is a chance for redemption. 

That being said, let’s talk about Mr. Boogedy, a ghost of questionable morality.

 

Making Mr. Boogedy

  • Airing in April of 1986, Mr. Boogedy was a short film for the anthology series: Wonderful World of Disney. At the time, Wonderful World of Disney was called, “Disney’s Sunday Movie.” 
  • The movie was directed by Oz Scott
    • Wikipedia cited The Encyclopedia of Television Pilots in saying that Mr. Boogedy was a failed TV pilot. I could not get ahold of this book to confirm this, but I did read that there was talk of making a TV show from the movie, though never formally.
  • The movie was originally called, “Cheap Thrills” and was meant to be an airplane-style parody horror film. Script writer Michael Janover initially intended for the film to star Cheech and Chong. The humor was drastically changed when Disney picked up the project instead of Columbia Pictures. 
    • In the original script, there was one son. Janover added a second so that he could name the sons after his wife’s grandsons. 
  • Janover was inspired to use the word “Boogedy” after seeing the film “Cat’s Eye.” One character in that film taunts another by shouting “Boogedy” at him while he attempts to walk across the top of a skyscraper. 
  • The movie was shot on Disney’s backlot and only took about 12-15 days to film!
  • Rick Stratton is the make-up artist that was behind the hideous mask of Mr. Boogedy, which didn’t even fit the face of the actor. He said he had very little to work with, and the mold they gave him was a for a mask of a burn victim

The Story

  • The Davis’s, a family of five, move into a home in Lucifer Falls. Carlton Davis owns a joke shop called “Gag City,” and is constantly playing tricks on his kids and wife, Eloise. When the family arrives at their new home, they are spooked when they meet Neil Witherspoon, the town historian. Mr. Witherspoon warns the family about The Boogedy Man, an evil ghost that haunts the house. 
  • As time goes on, the children start to see unexplained phenomena that they initially write-off as tricks from their dad’s shop. Eventually, the family begins to see ghosts from colonial times, including Mr. Boogedy himself!
  • The children, concerned about their new home, head to town and ask Mr. Witherspoon about the house’s history. He tells them the story of William Hanover, a pilgrim who would scare local children by shouting, “Boogedy!”
  • Hanover fell in love with a widow named Marian, and sold his soul to the devil in order to obtain a magic cloak. He planned to use the cloak to trap Marian into marrying him, but instead he destroyed his home with Marian and her sick child still inside. All three of them died and now haunt the Davis’ home, since it was built in the same location. 
  • The children’s parents are slow to believe this story until Eloise encounters the ghost of Marian herself, and learns of the evil deeds of Mr. Boogedy. The family realizes they must band together and destroy Mr. Boogedy’s cloak in order to get rid of him and bring the ghosts peace. 

Starring: 

  • Richard Masur as Carlton Davis
    • Still acting today, he has had a pretty successful career playing character roles in TV shows.
    • He has had a lot of roles including a part in “The Thing” in 1982, as well as Bill Montgomery in “Orange if the New Black,” and he also played Edward L L Moore on “Younger” (this was a parody of George R R Martin) 
    • He also played Stanley in the 1990 TV mini-series IT.
  • Mimi Kennedy as Eloise Davis
    • Mimi Kennedy is also still acting and finds steady work as a TV actress.
    • Kennedy currently has a recurring role as the character Marjorie on the TV series “Mom”
    • She was also a regular on Dharma and Greg as Abby O’Neal.
  • Benji Gregory as Aurie Davis (the youngest boy)
    • No longer an actor, Gregory’s last film credit is “Once Upon a Forest,” a 2D animated film from Hanna-Barbara.
    • He had a role in the movie “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” but is most known as Brian Tanner for the show “Alf”
  • David Faustino as Corwin Davis
    • David Faustino is well-known for playing Bud Bundy on the show “Married…With Children”; he has been in The Young and the Restless, and he’s in a new show called “Hollywould”
    • In recent years he has done a lot of voice work, for example he is the voice of Mako in “The Legend of Korra”
    • Apparently, Joaquin Phoenix auditioned for this role! 
  • Kristy Swanson as Jennifer Davis
    • Kristy Swanson still acts today, she is in an upcoming film about sex trafficking called, “A Parent’s Worst Nightmare”
    • She played Buffy in the 1992 movie “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” 
    • She also was in several episodes of “Psych” as Marlowe Viccellio 
  • Howard Witt as Mr. Boogedy
    • Howard Witt played a lot of bit parts on TV shows like “The Golden Girls” “Murder She Wrote” “Taxi” “Hill Street Blues” and “Simon & Simon” 
    • He passed away in 2017 at the age of 85 
  • John Astin as Neil Witherspoon
    • Most known for his role as Gomez Adams in the original show and in the 1992 version as well of “The Addams Family”
    • He also played Radford in Eerie, Indiana (which connects him to Omri Katz, Max from Hocus Pocus) 
    • He has done a lot of voice work for shows such as “Recess”, “Duckman: Private Dick/Family Man”, and “The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat”
    • He is also the adopted father of Sean Astin 

 

The Bride of Boogedy

  • One year after “Mr. Boogedy” aired, Disney followed it with a full-length movie sequel! 
  • Benji Gregory, Kristy Swanson, and John Astin were all unable to reprise their roles, and were re-cast. 
    • Tammy Lauren played Jennifer Davis
      • Tammy Lauren is known for “The Young and the Restless” and as Holly on “Mork and Mindy”
    • Joshua Rudoy played Aurie Davis
      • He was also in “Harry and the Hendersons” 
    • Leonard Frey played Walter Witherspoon, Neil Witherspoon’s apparent brother
      • Leonard Frey was in TV shows such as “Mr. Smith,” “Best of the West,” and “Mr. Sunshine” 
      • He also played Motel the timid tailor in “Fiddler on the Roof” 
      • Mr. Boogedy was his last credit, as he unfortunately passed away one year later at the age of 49 due to complications with AIDS
  • This movie also introduced a new character, the grouchy Tom Lynch, played by Eugene Levy! We know him from the American Pie series, and more recently “Schitt’s Creek” 

The Story

  • It’s been about a year since The Davis Family has defeated the evil Mr. Boogedy by stealing his magic cloak. Now, the Davis children are sensing that he will return for revenge! Carlton and Eloise decide to use a fake seance to convince the kids that Mr. Boogedy is gone for good. But, things go wrong and they accidentally awake his spirit. 
  • Mr. Boogedy possesses Carlton, and tries to use him to get his cloak. When this doesn’t work, he uses Tom Lynch instead. 
  • All this is happening on the backdrop of “Lucy Fest,” the town’s big celebration. When Mr. Boogedy ultimately returns, he tries to steal away Eloise, believing she is his bride Marian. 

 

 

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