Thursday, July 12, 2007


THE GOLDEN AGE OF GHOSTS


When I was young, the country had a fascination with outer space. Cars had spaceship fins and “rocket” taillights. I understood that. Space travel was our fantasy, culminating in the 1969 moon walk.
We also had another fascination with things paranormal and even slightly macabre. For kiddies, Casper the Friendly Ghost. For those liking a little humor with their hauntings, there were the Munsters and the Addams Family (not relegated to late-night, either). For mild goosebumps, one could indulge themselves in The Twilight Zone. And who could forget Dark Shadows, the twisted, but unique, soap opera. I confess I was too young for Night Gallery when I first watched it. I had recurring nightmares after that.

Unlike the space infatuation, I don’t know the reason for spook popularity, other than going trick-or-treating twice a year (once for UNICEF, and once for candy). It was all fun and not taken too seriously.

A lot of us would agree that the offerings today in the ghostly genre are seriously scary and often too gross. But my question is: does anybody remember why ghosts were so popular in the ‘50s and ‘60s?

2 comments:

D.S. Dollman said...

Well now, that's a good question! My guess is that ghosts were popular in the fifties and sixties because of the Vietnam War. Stories of the supernatural are often popular during times of war because we are constantly being reminded that life is fleeting.

B C Justice said...

In that case, you'd think the daily count of car-bomb victims in Iraq would remind us that life is fleeting. There have been a few ghost movies in the last decade--The Ring, The Grudge, The Others, and The Sixth Sense--all well received but not "trendy." The same fate has befallen the Old West genre, which seems related. I haven't heard of a single ghost story related to the WTC attack in New York, nor any related to the Katrina disaster in New Orleans. Under the circumstances, that's peculiar.
-Byron