|Illusion-O...a nifty gmmick!|
The Zorba's are your typical sitcom family--except for the fact that they're broke. It's so bad that Hilda Zorba calls her husband at work to complain: "The moving men are here...taking away the furniture again." Apparently, Cyrus doesn't earn much as a tour guide in the paleontology department at the Los Angeles Museum. Their kids, college-age Madea and youngster Buck, don't seem to mind. However, when Buck blows out his birthday candles that night, he wishes for "a house with furniture that no one can take away from us."
|Charles Herbert as Buck.|
As stated previously, 13 Ghosts is a pleasant little picture that didn't need a gimmick. Still, Castle came up with one of his best: a cardboard viewer with blue and red filters that allowed the audience to see the ghosts. At various points during the film, text appeared on screen telling the audience to "Use Viewer." The screen then turned blue and the ghosts appeared in red. If you wanted to "see" the ghosts, you looked through the red filter on your cardboard viewer. However, if you were afraid of ghosts, you could look through the blue filter and see all images on screen except for the ghosts. Castle, in one of his most entertaining introductory scenes, explained all this to the audience.
|Audience members were prompted when to use their ghostly viewers.|
|This is what you saw if looking through the red filter.|
|When the ghosts departed, you didn't need to use your viewer!|
Surprisingly, the top-billed member of the cast was Charles Herbert, who played Buck. Herbert was a busy child actor who appeared previously in Houseboat, The Fly, and The Boy and the Pirates. 13 Ghosts marked his final film role, but he remain in demand on television in the 1960s. He died last year on Halloween.
|Margaret Hamilton look like Miss Gulch.|
13 Ghosts was remade as the R-rated Thir13en Ghosts in 2001 with Tony Shalhoub as the head of a family that inherits a haunted house. As you can imagine, the tone is quite different--and there's no Illusion-O.