About Christmas TV History

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir Christmas (1969)

I'm continuing my Countdown to Halloween with one more romantic Christmas ghost story.  Do you remember the 1960s family sitcom The Ghost and Mrs. Muir?  The series was based upon the successful 1947 movie of the same title, starring Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison.  (I LOVE Gene Tierney!)  I first mentioned this Christmas episode in a previous post in 2010 about Charles Nelson Reilly.  Here I've updated it and added photos.

Top right: Captain Gregg (Edward Mulhare), Carolyn Muir (Hope Lange), her two children, and Claymore Gregg (Charles Nelson Reilly).

The series concerns itself with the widow Carolyn Muir and her two children who have rented a cottage along the New England coast that just happens to be haunted by a dashing but stern nineteenth-century sea captain, Captain Gregg.  The second season of the TV series produced a spirited holiday episode entitled "The Ghost of Christmas Past."

Always business-minded, Claymore is running a Christmas tree lot.

Carolyn's landlord, Claymore Gregg is selling Christmas trees during the holiday but as expected his prices are very high and he refuses to cut a discount even for Carolyn and the children.

Claymore discovers a baby within his car at the tree lot. "Where's your Mommy?" he demands.

At the Christmas tree lot, Claymore discovers that someone has left a foundling in the front seat of his car.  He takes the baby to Gull Cottage where Carolyn and her maid Martha are eager to care for a little one at Christmas time.

Claymore brings the baby to the only person he knows that can care for him.

Standing over the baby's bassinet, Carolyn asks the Captain about his favorite Christmas.

Carolyn casually asks the Captain about his Christmases past and he replies that his favorite is a Christmas that never existed except as a dream.  Later that night, Carolyn has a dream where she is experiencing Christmas a hundred years ago in Gull Cottage.  Her fiancé, the Captain arrives home early from the sea to spend the holiday at home with the family.

In this re-telling of The Christmas Carol, Claymore is most definitely Scrooge and Carolyn plays the part of Bob Cratchit.

Ebenezer Gregg's conscience gets the best of him.

In the Captain's dream, Carolyn works for Claymore, a real Scrooge at the office, who would rather sit at home alone on Christmas day and count his money than be with his family.  After an evening of being haunted by his own inner voice, Ebenezer Gregg arrives early on Christmas morning at Gull Cottage full of the generosity of the holiday spirit. Also in the dream, Carolyn and the Captain share a very passionate kiss.

Though Mrs. Muir and her ghost can never be together, at least in a dream they can kiss!

Listening to Martha describe her dream, Carolyn realizes everyone in the house shared the same dream of a perfect nineteenth-century Christmas spent with the Captain.

Carolyn awakens on Christmas morning to discover it was all a dream. However, it turns out everyone in the house has experienced the same, idyllic nineteenth-century Christmas dream courtesy of the Captain.

Just like the dream, Claymore arrives on Christmas morning with a change of heart--no more Bah Humbug!

And, Claymore arrives at Gull Cottage full of the generosity of the holiday spirit--and the baby’s mother is located.  This episode has a touch of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol but it is handled with loving care in this original story.  Making this Christmas TV episode even more sweet is that Carolyn and the Captain finally get to share a romantic moment--an emotionally satisfying scene since viewers are always hoping these two can get together despite the impossibility of a mortal and a ghost ever transcending their limitations.

On Christmas morning, the Captain sweetly explains to the children Jonathan and Candice that the only gift he could give is the dream of a happy Christmas, though he wishes it were more.

Will this nearly forgotten TV series ever be released on DVD?  I still have my fingers crossed.  Do you remember watching it? 


  1. I have vague memories of this show. Been decades since I have seen it. This episode sounds like sweet fun.

    As a side note, I LOVE the movie. Just always amazing to watch.

  2. The whole series was released in Australia. A lot of GAMM fans have a region free player and that DVD set.

    Joe, GetTV was previously showing GAMM, and showing it uncut. I think they still own it but are not showing it.

  3. I loved the GAMM tv series. So enjoyed seeing the Christmas kiss. Always wondered whose baby that was.