Child of Glass with Chia and Dan

Friends of the pod, Chia and Dan, join us to discuss a movie Chia remembered as VERY ROMANTIC! Child of Glass is an adaptation of the first Blossom Culp novel, The Ghost Belonged to Me.

A blue ghost of a young girl and a dog in a still from Child of Glass
The ghost of Inez Dumaine and her dog in Child of Glass

Friends of the pod, Chia and Dan, join us to discuss a movie Chia remembered as VERY ROMANTIC! Child of Glass is an adaptation of the first Blossom Culp novel, The Ghost Belonged to Me.

Listen to "Child of Glass with Chia and Dan" on Spreaker.

This episode is a wild ride that takes us into explorations of Richard Peck’s work, Disney’s low point in the late seventies/early eighties, and the way the scariest thing about this movie is its insistence that slaveholders in the south were deeply romantic.

We also take a huge detour into past life reincarnation pods, and discuss how sometimes you gotta pretend an ice cream bar is actually pie if you want to eat it while reenacting your friend’s murder over and over again…


Here’s Chia’s hazy summary:

“So, I watched this is the gymnasium of my elementary school, probably in 4th grade? It might have been 5th. In my memory of it, a boy moved into a haunted house and fell in love with the ghost of a little girl who I think was trapped in a china doll? Also, I got to sit next to a boy I had a terrible crush on and the whole thing was just very romantic.”


Chia was… not very right at all about the plot of this one. But don’t worry, we spend almost as long as the length of the film explaining what she missed!

All this, plus Geoffrey does an impression of Vincent Price AND sings a little impromptu Blondie parody.

This is Must Listen podcasting, everyone!

P.S. If you want to see the short (like 8 minute long) excerpt adaptation of the book this is based on that Vincent Price hosts, that’s about seven minutes and thirty seconds into Once Upon a Midnight Scary.

P.P.S. If you want, you can also read a full transcript of this podcast below



Julia
Welcome to this is why we're like this, the podcast where we talk about sea captains and haunted barns and the romantic time of the antebellum south and how much we desperately wish to recreate that… and the movies that helped shape our childhoods for better or for worse. I'm your host, Julia Rios

Geoffrey
I'm your other host, Geoffrey Pelton, who would have gone much darker if he'd opened up.

Julia
Ah, you can give it a try if you want to. I don't know, I mean we could have talked about ghost dogs. There are so many different things.

Geoffrey
Oh see my 3 things were where where we talk about alcoholism, arson, and child murder.

Julia
Oh yeah, there's also that. I mean, sure, who doesn't love a good alcoholic arsonist who murders children? Ah, our guests today are Chia and Dan. Welcome!

Chia and Dan
Hi!

Julia
Chia and Dan have brought to us a movie that Chia at least remembers from childhood, and that is Child of Glass. This movie was based on… It was adapted from the book The Ghost Belonged to Me by Richard Peck, which I read as a child because I loved Richard Peck as a child, but I had never seen this movie. So, Chia and Dan, first would you like to introduce yourselves, and second would you like to tell us a little bit about The context in which you remember seeing this movie?

Chia
Sure! I'm Chia Evers. I've known Julia for several years now, and I saw this film at my elementary school. I do not remember the occasion, but we were all ushered into the gymnasium for a special movie day and there were like rows and rows of chairs set up and I was into spooky stuff and also I got to sit next to a boy that I had a terrible crush on and so the movie was very romantic and. I got to sit next to this boy I really liked and that was really what stuck in my head. So I remember this movie as far more romantic than it might actually be.

Dan
All that arson and child murder!

Chia
Spoiler!

Dan
Sorry, I already spoke.

Julia
Hashtag romance. Ah, Dan had you ever seen this movie? Do you want to tell us who you are?

Dan
I'm Dan Novy also known as novysan, ne’er-do-well trickster, and I do remember this movie. I'm pretty sure I saw it at our local library. Our local library did sort of sixteen millimeter showings during the summer, or a park district… I have a very vague memory of, it must be, being a park district movie, or a library movie. I would pretty much watch anything that Disney put out because this is the weird period where like. Disney really wasn't doing animation anymore and they were making all of these weird little one-offs you know, like The Apple Dumpling Gang and the you know Witch Mountain series Race to Witch Mountain, you know, so didn't have any kind of franchise that they belonged to. They were just sort of these one off neat little things, and I think there was still… I think it was Sunday night, The Wonderful World of Disneywas still on tv, and they would also show them there. So yes, I remember the riddle, and it took me a while to remember exactly what it meant as we were watching, then like oh yeah, I get it. Okay.

Julia
Had either of you ever read the book"?

Chia and Dan
No.

Julia
Did you read any books by Richard Peck?

Chia
No.

Dan
Nope and I didn't realize that, you know, the character, what's her name? Blossom?

Chia
Blossom.

Dan
Is, you know, essentially a character in several of his books.

Julia
Yeah, this book was immensely popular and remained immensely popular and had multiple reprints in different times and then he did several other books with Blossom Culp because she was such a popular character. Um I read those books because my. School my elementary school library stocked them when I was in elementary school and they were very popular. They were always checked out, and I think I checked them out multiple times and read them.

Dan
Yeah, I think this was the period I was where reading Encyclopedia Brown and The Great Brain with that sort of same…

Julia
Yeah, I feel like they were the same the same kinds of books.

Dan
Yes.

Geoffrey
I was huge into The Great Brain books way back in the day.

Dan
They were so good.

Julia
So, Geoffrey, you also remember having seen Child of Glass.

Geoffrey
Mmhmm. I'm pretty sure I saw it. I could have been no younger than four, but probably no older than six, and I either actually saw it or just saw commercials for it. I think I saw it. But I misunderstood and remembered it very badly because I thought it was an actual scary ghost movie and so all I really remember is that there were ghosts. There was something about a child of glass and and that phrase was important. And later on I remember seeing like a behind the scenes thing for um, The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland and possibly because in my mind, oh well that is both Disney and ghosts, so they're connected, I thought that, in particular, the um, the part of the haunted mansion ride where all the ghosts are dancing in the air and all, that I thought that was connected to this movie.

Dan
Ah, yes, the the Pepper’s ghost illusion at the ballroom scene. Yeah.

Geoffrey
In retrospect, as I was watching this, I thought oh maybe that was part of why because there's also a ballroom scene, but I know I had them mixed up to the point where at least one of the times when I went to Disneyland as a kid. I kind of thought that the haunted mansion might be based on Child of Glass.

Julia
Yeah.

Geoffrey
But there weren't any glass children in the ride, so I figured that must not be the case after all.

Dan
That didn’t work!

Geoffrey
I don't know if I read The Ghost Belonged to Me. I think I might have, but I know I've read at least one, or at least part of one other Blossom Culp book, which later on got me confused because I remember that, oh wait, this series is related to that movie. But that movie was a ghost story, and that was scary, and this is clearly a sort of comedy adventure type thing. Um, so for for decades now I have completely miscomprehended this movie. Until last night.

Julia
Okay, well I'm going to read the summary that Chia sent us. Before rewatching, you said, “So I watched this in the gymnasium of my elementary school, probably in fourth grade. It might have been fifth. In my memory of it, a boy moved into a haunted house and fell in love with the ghost of a little girl, who I think was trapped in a China doll. Also, I got to sit next to a boy I had a terrible crush on and the whole thing was just very romantic.

Chia
You see what sticks in my memory, but the worst part is, I can't remember who the boy was. It was either Tim or Troy, and they were brothers, and Troy was older and very dashing and handsome. I think he was was a year older than we were, maybe 2 um, and Tim was very tall and dark haired and and I haven't seen him since probably eighth grade.

Julia
Okay.

Chia
But it was one of those 2 brothers. Yeah.

Julia
So this movie… you got some things right. It is about a boy who moves into a house that has a haunting associated with it. The house itself doesn't actually seem to be haunted, but the barn outside the house is. And his neighbor/classmate, Blossom, tells him that he has the sight and he can talk to ghosts, and he does not believe her, and he thinks she's pranking him. And he goes into the barn and ghostly things happen. He thinks it's Blossom doing it first, but it turns out no, it's actually the ghost of a little girl who was murdered, Inez Dumaine, and she was murdered by the captain who had the house built, who also hanged himself in the barn, and she has a riddle that she needs Alexander to solve before all hallows eve. Now, she is a ghost from the civil war. This appears to be happening contemporary 70s, so it's over a hundred years later, but apparently this all hallows eve is the time, this random one is the time that she has to have the riddle solved by.

Geoffrey
My theory is that the clock starts ticking once she meets with the person who can solve the riddle. So if there hadn't been a sensitive coming around for another century then it would have been that first all hallows eve.

Julia
Okay, okay, okay. It just seems pretty sloppy to me. But.

Chia
The gazebo is repainted, then I will be…

Dan
Yes, based on the gazebo, clearly.

Julia
Ah, right? So meanwhile, Alexander's mother is just really dying to be the top socialite in the area, and she wants to have a costume ball. They've moved into the house. They've moved into an antebellum mansion plantation house and they've moved onto a plantation and there's just like so much talk about how romantic it is and how great it is and how the mom just really wants to throw the best costume ball where everybody will dress up like antebellum South people.

Dan
Slave owners. Yeah.

Julia
Yes, ah, when they actually have the costume party. It's like all these white people in hoop skirts, and then like 1 black person who's serving drinks so that's so that's also very comfortable. Um.

Geoffrey
And who has the best poker face.

Julia
Anyway, Alexander is trying to help Inez. All of this stuff is going on Inez has a ghost dog who is causing mischief because this ghost dog appears as a real flesh and blood dog that people can touch, and it chases Alexander's sister's cat during the costume ball and creates havoc and the other biggest socialite in the county gets her dress ruined because the cat like spills a punch bowl all over her, and it's just chaos and everybody's upset. Meanwhile, there's this guy who is supposed to have been painting the outside of the house but he didn't, and he did the gazebo but he did a bad job and they don't like him, and he's drunk all the time and then they tell him not to come back to the property, so he decides the best thing to do would be to murder the children.

Geoffrey
Well, that's not his first idea.

Julia
He is going to burn down the barn in revenge, so he does that first, and he does actually set fire to the barn. Ah, and then he chases Alexander and bBossom for a long time. Alexander falls into the old disused well, which is actually -surprise- where Inez died, and that helps him solve the riddle. Blossom goes down the well after him and helps him come up and finds the child of glass which they're searching for, which is actually Inez's doll, Babette. And Babbette, surprisingly, has a bunch of diamonds stuffed inside her. So now they've found a fortune in diamonds. They return Inez and Babbette— they return Babette to Inez's grave and then everything's solved, I guess.

Dan
How tidy.

Julia
Did I miss anything important there?

Chia
No … no.

Geoffrey
That sounds about right.

Dan
I take umbrage with porcelain being, you know, glass, but other than not yeah, but maybe they meant the diamonds I don't know.

Geoffrey
That's what I was about to say.

Julia
Okay, so that's the plot of the movie. I'm also going to tell you the plot of the book, because this is an adaptation of a book. So in the book, it takes place in 1914 and not 1975 or 6 or whatever. The book was written in 1975, takes place in 1914. Alexander is a rich boy who lives in the third biggest house in town and Blossom is a poor girl who lives on the wrong side of the tracks, but is obsessed with him and tells him he has the sight, and tells him that his barn is haunted, and that is haunted with a pink halo, which means that it has the ghost of a young girl cut down in her prime or even before inside it. And he doesn't believe her and thinks she is pranking him. But ah, it turns out, yes, there is a girl and it is Inez. I don't know that her name is Dumaine. It might be. But anyway her name is Inez. It's still the same same situation there, except this is where things kind of get different.

So first of all, yes, his mom and his sister are socialites. His sister is going to have a coming out ball and is looking at suitors to marry, because they live in the nicest house in town, where they have lived since Alexander was born. He's lived there his entire life. And this takes place in Bluff City, which is in Illinois, so it's nowhere near the the antebellum south. But Inez is from the city of New Orleans. She is an antebellum south rich girl from New Orleans, and her parents had tried to send her up north to keep her safe. But the captain of the river boat that had been entrusted with her care, in trying to flee north, the river boat started to get damaged but he pressed it further anyway, hoping to escape with the invading northern forces and not get captured. And that did not work out well because in fact instead, the river boat exploded and everybody basically died. Um, he was thrown clear from it and was able to survive the crash but everybody else basically died. Um, but he found Inez floating in the water while she was still alive and tried to get her to safety, but she died in the attempt. And then he felt bad about it, but he tried to carry her to to get her to a place where he give her a proper burial in a christian graveyard. This is all you know important. Bury your dead the right way.

But instead, she was very heavy and eventually he noticed that like things were clanking and so he opened up her skirt linings and found that all of the Dumaine family jewelry was sewn into her skirts and then he took all of that for himself and was like I gotta take this and change it into cash, and also now I can't really tell anybody that I have her, so I'll just bury her on a random part of the land that I just bought, but I feel bad about it. So I'm going to like tell people to put a hitching post there that I have the gravestone maker carve and it's going to be really nice and have her initials on it. But it's not a grave because I can't tell anybody why or what's there. And that's outside the barn.

So. That's how she comes to be haunting that particular place and she actually tells Alexander the first time he sees her, like, oh you have to stop this trolley car full of people from going over the bridge on Snake River because it's going to break and they're all going to die in the water just like me. And he does, he goes and stops the trolley car before it goes across the trestle bridge.

Chia and Dan
He solved the trolley problem!

Julia
He did! And it turns out that Amory Timmons who is the name of the handyman in this movie and is a handyman in the book but is not actually murdering children… but he like apparently has spells where he goes a little bit wild and he also has a grudge against the trolley car for some reason. So this is one of his wild spells and he's gone down into the gorge by the bottom of the trestle bridge and, ah, chopped the support timbers with an axe and also lit fire to it. And so at the point that the trolley car would have been crossing it, the bridge collapses and bursts into flame and then Amory being out of his head goes up and gets into the trolley car which has been abandoned and rides it out onto the burning bridge and dies, and that happens like maybe halfway through the book. He never tries to murder any children. It's not a thing.

Chia
Just a trolley car.

Julia
Just a trolley car!

Geoffrey
Now if there had been children on the trolley car, he would have been okay with killing them, but he wasn't specifically trying to murder children.

Julia
Yeah, he wasn't trying to specifically murder any particular person. Just he didn't like that trolley car. So he took it out with him in it, and then he died, and that's the end. But now the newspapers have noticed that Alexander Armsworth is predicting terrible events and saving people's lives and so they kind of make a fuss and then eventually they work out that there's this ghost of Inez Dumaine and the people in New Orleans who want to claim her claim her and they come up and eventually they take her body back to New Orleans and Blossom Culp goes with him to do that. And ah his uncle Miles who is in his 80s actually remembers when the house was built and is the person who remembers this the story that the captain told him about finding the girl's body that he's kept a secret for the last 60 years. Ah, but that's how they find, that's how they know to find her remains. They do they bring her back home. It's fine. Everything's good.

It's also not really a scary story. It's more an adventure story, but like what happens in it bears so little resemblance to this. There is no riddle about a child of glass. She was hiding a fortune, but not like from the sea captain specifically, she just had it sewn into her skirts for safekeeping and then he happened to find it after she was dead. Ah, he did not murder her for her fortune.

Anyway. Decatur Illinois, no antebellum mansions, no costume balls romanticizing the slave owning south. I guess to the extent that Inez is a romantic ghost, that romanticizes the slave owning south, but like it's kind of a stretch from from where we actually land in the movie.

I'm curious to know what your reactions were upon watching it again. like how did you feel about it, and did you actually remember any of it as you were watching?

Chia
I remembered very little. There were things I recognized that I didn't remember, like I didn't remember Blossom Culp at all. I just remembered the ghost and the boy and I think I had maybe kind of mushed his sister together with Blossom. Like I knew there was a living girl in there somewhere. But I didn't remember the ball. I did remember the the the bit at the end where she turns herself into a really scary ghost very briefly and terrifies the alcoholic.

Julia
A really scary ghost.

Chia
Before it happened, like as as he was standing there, and I was like oh wait I know what happens now. I remember she like gets scary and freaks him out. The thing that kept bothering me through the entire movie (besides the romanticization of the slave owning south, which went way over my head as a child and you know frankly into my teens, but does not go over my head now), the other thing that kept really bothering me was like is no one upset that we are talking about a murdered child?

Julia
No, no one cares.

Chia
Like, it was clear early in the movie that this girl was murdered, and he's just kind of irritated that there's a ghost and he has to deal with it now. No one seems to care.

Dan
Ugh, fuckin’ ghost.

Chia
Yeah, and frankly, they're not even that concerned when he gets shoved down the well and almost dies down there. Like everybody's like oh well I guess that happened. Okay, we'll get him out of the well, and isn't it funny that that Amory just ran into the arms of the police? That's cute! Like, yeah… Child murder. It's just a thing that happens sometimes.

Julia
Yeah, what about you, Geoffrey?

Geoffrey
Well, my very first note, which was probably within the first five minutes, was like accents, dislike confederate nostalgia plantation romanticism. See, I didn't remember anything about setting. Um, or characters. There isn't any close ups of a creepy child made out of glass at all. Like, I figured it was probably a doll of some kind, but I thought we would have more of it and it would be creepier, and it's just a regular porcelain doll. Um, yeah, I actually felt kind of faked out at first because from the first two and a half minutes or so, I thought Connie Sue was going to be the main character and and that Alexander was going to be just sort of the not very interesting younger brother.

Dan
Yes, his his slightly older sister, who is clearly closer in age to the parents.

Geoffrey
But the first bit of the movie is is is all about her not wanting to move out here a whole five miles from town. So. I think it was just because they had Denise Nickerson and they had to throw her something to do before she got pushed all the way outside of the narrative.

Julia
Yes, she just like mostly isn't in the movie. She's in the first five minutes, she has all these lines, and then after that it's like ah good luck if you see her at all.

Chia
Yeah, because, you know, we got someone who was a rising star at the time, and we want to put her on the posters and put her in the promotional materials. But we don't actually want to pay her to say a lot of lines through the entire movie. So.

Julia
Yeah, so interestingly in the book, his older sister is named Lucille, and she's dating Tom Hackett the heir to the laxative fortune in town. His family made it big with laxative pills. He is no good and always trying to get too far with her, but her parents have encouraged the match because of course his family has money. Ah, however, he's always trying and he's trying it on and she's she's tells him oh no, don't and then he's like she's, “Tom. You need to mind your manners…” and he’s like, “well I won't mind if you don't.” um and alexander just like always overhears this kind of thing.

Geoffrey
So he was trying to he was trying to go loose and quick but she wanted to she wanted to get her boundaries firmer.

Chia
So less romanticization of the antebellum south, more romanticization of rape culture.

Julia
Well, kind of, except that it’s not supposed to be good. So, like, she doesn't mind. She thinks it's okay because she's kind of naive in that way, but everybody else is like, “This isn't really cool…” And Inez ends up stopping them from actually going too far at one point, and Tom leaves running away because he's scared. She thinks it's Alexander and Blossom who have done the scaring and gets mad at them and the parents believe this and are like, “You saved your sister from a fate worse than death. She would have been ruined.”

And by this terrible Tom Hackett who showed up to her coming out ball drunk. Um and who would have just like taken liberties but not, you know, not not done the whole marriage thing. And so they're like, “Thank you, you took extreme measures, and we don't approve of the methods, but you saved her from a fate worse than death.”

And then she ends up marrying somebody else. So there is like a whole side plot about her, and they could have put anything about her into the movie. but they didn't. Which is fine. The book is kind of a sprawling mess and I don't think it would make a good movie.

Geoffrey
Well, when you've got when you've got a story as as as tightly paced and jam packed as this, you can't you can't push any more plot in there.

Julia
Oh my god, this story is just… okay…. So, yeah, I thought it was interesting that they did give her a few lines at the beginning. They have the mother be like, “Oh the house was known as the height of romantic balls until…” and then she's like, “well, that's all we need to read about that.”

And Connie Sue is like, “Until what!?” and she steals the book and reads the rest, which is like, until the sea captain, like, hung himself in the barn, and things were bad.

Geoffrey
Well, first he first he became a a dissolute alcoholic.

Julia
Yes.

Geoffrey
And brought shame upon the family. The book doesn't mention the murder.

Julia
Well, yeah, so like I don't know that the people know about the murder… but... they must… They know that she died; they just don't know how, I guess.

Chia
Yeah, because her grave is there, and it's marked, and it was not clear to me who buried her, or why no one in town knew that she was murdered.

Julia
No.

Chia
I mean she was supposed to go away somewhere, and then she was dead, and clearly someone found her in the well and buried her. So did they just think she randomly ended up in the well?

Julia
I couldn't tell if like the captain was supposed to have like… maybe he was chasing her, trying to get her to tell him where the the treasure was, and she accidentally fell in the well, so he brought her up and said like, “She's died. But you know it's a tragedy and I don't know how.” —?

Chia
That would make sense.

Julia
And then felt guilty about it So killed himself. I Guess, yeah.

Chia
Time-honored way of covering up child murder.

Julia
Yes, um, yeah, there's a lot about it that doesn't really make any sense if you try to examine it.

Chia
Um, but you know I was 10 when I saw this, so all plot holes meant nothing at that age.

Julia
Yeah, and you said like that the romanticization of the south went right over your head. Well, like, I'm going to say that I grew up —I'm younger than you, but not too much younger than you, so I probably um… in the mid 80s, when I was in fourth or fifth grade, I remember watching Gone With the Wind at school in class and being shown this like it was just great. There was no commentary on whether or not like any of this was ok.

It was just like, “Scarlett O'hara! Isn't she pretty? The end. Shame that she has to starve during part of it, but good that she made a dress out of curtains!”

Chia
Yeah.

Yeah, yeah, I actually, you know, I think the first I ever heard about the controversy over Gone With the Wind when it came out was on TCM when I was probably in my mid 20s. And by then, like, you know, I had started to figure out that maybe this whole romanticizing this slave-owning South was a bad thing. But um, but to actually know that it had been controversial at the time it was released was certainly nothing that anyone said.

Julia
Oh, no one ever talked about that when I was younger, um, at all. Because I feel like when I was young it was the fiftieth anniversary of it and so all the all the talk was just about how it's such a great movie that is a masterpiece of cinematic history, and we should all watch the remastered edition on VHS, which took 2 VHS tapes to make.

Chia
Yes, and well and also the civil rights movement fixed everything. So we don't need to talk…

Julia
Yes, well we don't need… but that wasn't even brought up! It was just like, “No this is a great movie! Watch it!

Geoffrey
Well, if you admit that there was a bunch of controversy when it came out, then you would have to admit that not everyone felt exactly the same way back then and so no one could have known better.

Julia
Right? Because how can you say it was a different time, if you if you acknowledge that, in fact, people had differing opinions? I think around the same time was the last time they released Song of the South in theaters, and I know I went to see that in the movie theater.

Chia
Um, yes, I saw that. I probably saw that around the same time I saw Child of Glass. Actually yeah yeah.

Julia
Well, because they released it about every seven years until they stopped, and then they were like… I think 86 was the last time they released it, so I saw it, and then no one ever saw it again, because they try to pretend it doesn't exist, even though Splash Mountain still exists.

Geoffrey
Related to all that, I don't know if he shows up in the in the credits on IMDB, but the the one Black butler at the party, who's sort of standing there getting Ludie her coat as she says that this is the worst thing that's happened, that when you said you wanted to bring back the old south, I didn't know you meant Sherman's March… the utter not giving anything away on his face is is pretty great.

Julia
Yeah, nonsense.

Geoffrey
This guy knows it's all nonsense, and it's also not worth it.

Chia
I don't think he is credited on IMDB, and, whoever he was, he should be.

Julia
I don't think he is, because I don't think he has any lines, so he's just an extra.

Geoffrey
He does not.

Chia
And it's not one of those movies where fans have dug up every single person who was on set whether they were cut of of the final edition or not. It's not an MCU film where you will know every person who ever wandered across the set.

Geoffrey
Come on, where all my Glass heads at? You know, get this work done.

Julia
But I also felt like it was really reminiscent of the Haunted Mansion, and one of the things I wondered was whether it was deliberate to set it in basically a place that is that looks a lot like the Disneyland haunted mansion from the outside, and to have it kind of evoke all of that that romanticism of the antebellum south which certainly, well, Disney did. And by this point he's dead, but Ron Miller I think is the producer. So that's his son in law and you got to figure they are thinking probably about like, “Oh hey we should do things that harmonize with what we have in the park.” Maybe. I may be giving him too much credit because they really didn't do a good job of getting people into the parks at that point like it was it was Disney's low point as a company and they— it was pre-Eisner, which they brought Michael Eisner in to kind of save things financially.

Dan
Yes, this was also one year before the black hole. So The Black Hole came out next year. The low point. You know, we're working our way towards Black Cauldron. which is you know the definitive low point of Disney animation and storytelling. But Black Hole is kind of up there, too, and this is just one year later with slightly more budget.

Chia
So I will also note because I'm looking at the the IMDB page here that the director, interestingly, in 1977 directed Roots.

Julia
WHAT?!

Chia
Yes, ah. Yes.

Dan
So therefore was an expert in the antebellum south himself, clearly, from his exhaustive research in 1977’s roots. Yes, yes, he just heard Decatur and said okay I'll do it. Yeah I know about speaker.

Julia
This was made for tv yeah well they so they filmed this mostly in Kentucky um, and the area where they filmed it like they. They used the local graveyard but the graveyard didn't have a nice big crypt like they wanted for Inez Dumaine so they had to build 1 special and I guess for years afterward that was a tourist attraction. Like tourists would show up to this random town in Kentucky and be like can I see the Child of Glass tomb?

Chia
Um, there are your Glass heads. They're out there.

Geoffrey
There are my Glass heads. They're not wasting time on the internet.

Dan
That's a little bit how they they kept Popeye Village in Malta and now it's actually still still a tourist attraction.

Julia
Yeah, is it now actually a theme park?

Dan
Yeah, an operational park.

Chia
This director also apparently directed The Scarlett O'hara War about the search for the actress to play Scarlett O'hara and also 2 episodes of the Atlanta child murders miniseries.

Dan
Wow I'm sensing a theme so there's a theme. Yeah.

Geoffrey
What an interesting constellation of interests.

Julia
There's like a whole Venn diagram of things this director does.

So I want to read to you a little bit from Richard Peck's autobiography, Anonymously Yours which was published in 1991, and ah, he talks a little bit about this story. He says for one thing that his uncle Miles inspired the character of Uncle Miles in the story. He also says about Blossom Culp that he took the character of Huckleberry Finn and and gender swapped it to come up with Blossom Culp, and then that was such a strong character that it just kept having to come back and in different stories. Ah, however. The part that I want to read to you is:

“On the day The Ghost Belonged to Me was published, Walt Disney Productions was waiting with a movie contract. Life was never the same again. I owe it to the town, and the times that Uncle Miles created in my mind long ago. The movie first aired in 1977 as Child of Glass on television's Wonderful World of Disney. I had no say in its script and my only contact with the Wonderful World of Disney was a private tour of their California studios, to learn that the administration building was on a street called Dopey Drive.”

Richard Peck: “Don't @ me.”

Chia
This is a subtweet.

Geoffrey
I mean I can kind of see how how Blossom Culp became… I mean, first of all, it's a great name. That's that's the sort of name that that, I don't know, it's just perfect.

Julia
Yeah

Geoffrey
Like, you almost want to say, it almost sounds like a too made up name, except it easily could be several people's name. Like there probably have been Blossom Culps.

Dan
I think the Huckleberry into Blossom probably had but little bit to do with it. Perhaps.

Geoffrey
Oh yeah, a lot of ah you know, ckle, bluh, ple, you know, that whole mouth area. You know, getting your tongue up against the roof of your mouth and your teeth.

Julia
I love a good mouth area.

Um, so, the interesting thing that I thought watching this movie, was that they made Blossom kind of like really wishy-washy. They made her girly and needing to be saved most of the time except for the point where she's like, “No, I can go down the well and get him.”

But other than that, she sort of needs… She's scared of things, and she wants him to take care of them. in the books I remember her as being a lot more like rambunctious and gumptious. She sort of takes charge of everyone else and is like, “Yeah, I'm a psychic with the sight, and I'm going to also tell you what to do, and you're going to do it.”

Geoffrey
That's what I remember as well. But that also leads me to my favorite part—one of my favorite parts—of this movie, which you see similar things and else in so many other movies / shows / stories. Whatever. So, at the very moment that Alexander is on a mission from a ghost, Blossom comes up to him and says, “Hey, why don't we go use some of my on witchcraft stuff?”

He's like, “Why are we going to mess around with a bunch of that Nonsense?”

It's like, dude, you have a mission from a ghost! Now's the time to be open minded.

Julia
Yeah, yeah I do have a lot of questions about many things in this book—in this movie, rather.

Dan
If you take the book and like put it through the Scooby Doo wringer, right? You just go to like squeeze it out… You come out with pretty close to a Scooby Doo adventure.

Geoffrey
Right down to the 70s and 80s obsession with smuggling or hiding diamonds.

Julia
It's true.

Dan
And sea captains.

Geoffrey
Actually you know what I found to be the most unbelievable part of this whole movie?

Dan
Oh do tell.

Geoffrey
Inez apparently has one chance to briefly become a, you know, human with a body.

Dan
Incarnate.

Geoffrey
And she wants to spend it waltzing at a fancy party. But Alexander says that he can't waltz, but eventually he decides to go along with it and the whole time I'm thinking oh man if this were real life, he'd agree to it and and and they the the song would end in the band would go on break. Because isn't that just how it always goes? But they start dancing and he actually is is pretty capable. You know. He waltzes better than someone who had never waltzed before or even shown any the interest in the dance should and that was going too far for my suspension of disbelief.

Julia
That was where your disbelief broke.

Chia
I'm pretty sure that his mother would not have allowed him not to learn how to waltz. Um, yes, yes.

Julia
Yeah I feel like he probably was forced to take like cotillian. Ah he apparently has his own little tuxedo that he wears. So.

Dan
And are they insinuating a love triangle, too? Like when he was dancing with Inez and Blossom be like grrrr.

Julia
Yeah, Blossom was Jealous. Blossom was like watching through the railing and it was like, oh man.

Geoffrey
But she was she was jealous, but she was also like, “Okay, no, I'm not gonna do anything stupid here. This is Inez's one chance you know, got to be mature here, but I'm still a little sad.”

I was actually really impressed with Blossom’s acting during that scene because her face said a lot.

Julia
Yeah, that's true.

So we've talked about things that we remembered as it was happening. Is there anything that now that you've seen this, you're just never going to forget?

Dan
Well, I know who to get if I need a low rent Florence Henderson. I mean, the mom, I think was definitely… they really wanted you know Miss Brady, but like, god, we can't afford her. Let's get this other actress.

Chia
The little dog that seems to be able to cross the boundary at will.

Julia
Yeah.

Chia
It's an interesting choice. Like Inez can only do it once but the little dog can just like bounce back and forth across it.

Dan
We were unclear whether the dog was Babette

Chia
Yes, or it it took me a while to figure out that the dog…

Julia
The dog is not Babette. The dog is just a dog. In the book, the dog also goes with her and also dies in the steamboat explosion after being thrown out of the boat and first it breaks its leg. Ah so it manifests as a wet dog with a broken leg that it favors, and it's so sad.

Dan
Well, now I care. Oh man.

Chia
Poor sad wet ghost dog.

Julia
But the dog is probably the most faithful adaptation in this because it also is described as being a little fluffy and looking like a mop and having a pink ribbon so they really, they took that description to heart.

Geoffrey
Well when you got a good dog, you can't mess around.

Dan
Costume designers are like, “Pink ribbon, and done!”

Chia
The dog also does not have an IMDB profile. Sadly.

Julia
Um, sadly. I feel like the dog and the cat were the best actors in that.

All right? so. We have already kind of started to go into this. We talked a little bit about the director and we've talked about Denise Nickerson being in it, but were there any other notable people, or any other things that you want to mention about the notability of these people?

Geoffrey
I just have two minor things. One is that Alexander, who played Steve Shaw, he had a bit of an—

Julia
You mean Steve Shaw who played Alexander.

Geoffrey
Yes, that's the direction I should go… He had a minor acting career. But at one point in 1979 he was in a TV miniseries called Studs Lonigan and he is credited as Young Studs. So I got to think that's something you spend the rest of your life like, “Yeah I was in Hollywood once.”

“Oh who’d you play?”

“Young Studs.”

Julia
Yeah, he actually was a working actor up until he died. He died really young at 25 in a car crash.

Geoffrey
Oh wow.

Julia
And until then he was on Knott's Landing for like pretty much all of the 80s. And he had other…

Dan
Little House on Prairie. Yeah.

Julia
Yeah, Little House on the Prairie. There's a lot of Little House on the Prairie / Child of Glass crossover stuff. So I feel like maybe those people kind of knew each other.

Geoffrey
Yeah, including um, or am I wrong in this case, um, but Inez Dumaine played by Olivia Barash.

Julia
Yeah.

Dan
Yes.

Geoffrey
What jumped out at me is in she was in the music video for the Ramones’ “I want to be sedated” as Catholic Schoolgirl along with her uncredited co-star, Courtney. Love.

Julia
Amazing. Wow. Well, Connie Sue was also in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? I don't remember which name is which, but the one that came out in the 70s, and she was Violet Beauregard who chews gum. She does she chew gum. She chews gum, right?

Geoffrey
She chews gum.

Chia
Yes, chews gum and turns blue.

Julia
She chews gum and becomes a big blueberry.

Geoffrey
She was the only one who as soon as I saw her I thought, “I know her. What's she from?” Like it didn't click exactly which movie, but she's she's got a very identifiable look.

Julia
Mmhmm.

Geoffrey
Back to Inez, I'm curious where they got the accent. And how. Because it was….

Chia
There were so many accents I actually when when Alexander first opened his mouth. They said someone told this child to do a southern accent and gave him no other instruction.

Geoffrey
And someone someone told Inez to do a Southern accent except also maybe slight speech impediment.

Julia
I think that was supposed to imply that she was French creole because she's a French speaker, and that's true in the book as well. Um, that she is a French speaker.

Geoffrey
Yeah, there was definitely a French inflection to it. But I just know that she first tells Alexander that he has to remember the the riddle. And tells him the riddle and then she says, “Now you repeat it back to me so I know you got it.” I'm like oh thank god because I did not understand it when she said it.

Julia
Like, also she's like, “I can only say it once,” and I'm like, why?

Dan
Who makes up these rules? Who makes ghost rules. Yeah, you can only ah you can only pass into bodily solidity. Once you can only say the riddle once and you have exactly one hundred years...

Geoffrey
Um, well I have I have a theory. I think the entire extended Dumaine clan is originally New Orleans magicians because the reason she's a ghost in this version is that the sea captain who's her uncle or something or other puts a curse on her. But a curse has to have a way out, and I think that's why her mom— see the movie wants us to think that her mom says never let Babette out of your sight because of the diamonds. I think it was because Babette was her magical protection, and that's why she needs to be reunited with it to end the curse.

Julia
I mean, why not both?

Geoffrey
And it's probably one of these ancient, you know, brought over from.. you know. I mean New Orleans, so it's probably a mixture of of European and African magic. Ad it’s probably got ancient curse elements. So that's where that whole body once thing, and, you know only say the riddle once thing comes from.

Chia
So this story is way creepier the way you write it.

Julia
I Also don't really understand why the sea captain cursed her.

Geoffrey
Because she wouldn't give them the diamonds.

Julia
I know, but how is that curse supposed to have any bearing? Like, why did it work? It doesn't make any sense.

Geoffrey
Well, he was an alcoholic and kind of a dick.

Julia
And everyone knows that that is what makes curses work.

Geoffrey
Exactly.

Chia
So if only Amory had tried cursing them instead of just burning down the barn.

Julia
Then I guess they would have died, no way around it.

Dan
Clearly Babette is is such a strong fetish object, being from, you know, the south there, imbued with Spanish, Creole, and Native American magic, and full of diamonds… So clearly that was just going to draw the curse energy.

Geoffrey
Maybe Amory thought he was… I mean, he has this little speech as he's getting fired. Maybe he thought he was placing a curse on them, but then nothing happened, so he thought, well...

Dan
Plan B! Burn the place down.

Geoffrey
The demons below help those who help themselves.

Chia
And then panic when a little girl ghost gets big and yells at you.

Julia
And she doesn't, like, you said that she gets scary at the end, and I'm like, right? she gets “scary”, by which we mean she manifests as not really a human shape, but just a blue light and says, “wooo woo.”

Chia
Yes, very scary!

Dan
Not like full on Ghostbusters. You know the this you know skin comes off and the skull comes out or something like that.

Julia
None of that, none of that. She literally just says woo.

Dan
Yeah that would have been way too expensive.

Chia
You're a drunken handy man with a bad attitude.

Dan
We just film the visual effects element out of focus. You're really big.

Geoffrey
I mean, who knows how much he was able to stash away before he had to go on the run. He might have the DTs.

Chia
That's true.

Julia
It's true. I would believe that. Okay, so are we ready to do our what lessons did we learn from this? Did we learn any lessons?

Dan
Always check the well first.

Chia
Take the head off your childhood doll to make sure there aren't diamonds in it. We were both talking about how, like, you know, barns and attics are supposed to have cool stuff in them because we grew up on these films where barns and attics all have cool stuff in them. I had a barn and an attic, and there was nothing cool in either place.

Dan
Yeah much like quicksand, I was led to believe that haunted barns and attics and basements were going to play a much larger part in my life and I have been continually disappointed by the lack of any haunting, and even cool stuff in most of the attics and basements that I used to, you know, break into because they were supposedly haunted or creepy.

Geoffrey
See we all we had was crawl spaces above and below. So we never went.

Dan
Well those you might actually find a body in…

Geoffrey
Yeah but we never went in there because they were you know small cramped and dirty and usually sealed off.

Dan
Now we had things — I mean there were rats in there and usually a bicycle, and like an old washing machine, but definitely no haunting.

Chia
Your weird friend down the road who tells you that you’re psychic, and there's a ghost is definitely right! You should always listen to your weird friend down the road who tells you these things.

Julia
That's, okay, so that's an interesting… did any of you actually ever have a weird friend who did that?

Chia
Um, yeah I had a weird friend. I had a few weird friends, and they were... They were not right about those things.

Julia
Because I definitely had a weird friend in fourth or fifth grade who was obsessed with that kind of thing, and her name was Theresa, and every day at lunch she would make me and another girl play reenactment of the murder that she believed had happened to end her past life.

Chia
Hmmmm.

Julia
And so, she had assigned us all roles, and we were three different murdered girls. Um, but she was the most murdered, I think. I assume the rest of us were also murdered, but she was the biggest murdered, um, the most important murdered. And we would do this every day at lunch. We would not, like, get to play. We would just have to reenact the murder of Melissa, who was Theresa's past life name. And then I had a slumber party for my birthday, and she came, and she spent the entire night… like, she took over and set up her her, like, court, and had everybody come through one at a time and told us whether or not we had the third eye. Ah, which she, like, rubbed our foreheads to check, and then she was like, “Yes, you do. No, you don't…” and like, excluded some portion of the girls at the slumber party.

Dan
I want to have a third eye.

Julia
Exactly.

Geoffrey
Are you still in any variation of touch with Theresa?

Julia
No! So, she was only at my school for one year, and then she moved and I never heard from her ever again, and I've never been able to track her down on social media, and I have no idea what happened to her and I've always wondered.

Geoffrey
But you've tried right?

Julia
I have.

Geoffrey
Because there's two ways this could have gone. Either, she grew up to be absolutely unbearable, or she grew up to be one of the coolest people around.

Julia
Right? Like, and it could go either way and I just have no idea

Geoffrey
Yeah, it's fifty fifty.

Julia
Like, I've tried multiple times to find her because I really want to ask her, like, do you remember making us do this? Do you still believe it?

Dan
If she's still alive, 100% certain she has a true crime podcast.

Julia
Right!? I've gone so far as to like try to find evidence of this girl Melissa's murder. I can't find anything about it. I mean, I also don't know how to spell the name because she had last names for… I'm like obscuring some details because I don't want to give away too much, but ah, but Melissa's murder… like, she had all these details about it, and I've tried to Google details of this, and it never turns anything up, so I feel like maybe she just made the whole thing up, but I don't know.

Geoffrey
See, I didn't have any friends that were that focused like I had schoolmates sometimes who would say they were psychic, but it was always in the same sense as, you know, they were they were the schoolmates who sometimes had uncles at Nintendo, or you know had seen the secret version of of Mortal Kombat where you can do a nudality… or they were the one, you know, just kids who lied because kids lie.

Julia
Oh my god.

Geoffrey
Just kids who lied because kids lie.

Julia
Yeah, yeah.

Chia
I mean, to be fair, I gave a presentation in eighth grade about past lives, and a presentation in ninth grade about reading the tarot. So I'm sure someone's story is that I'm the weird friend who had ideas about how world works.

Julia
Did you tell any of your friends that they were psychic, though?

Chia
No, I figured they could figure that out for themselves.

Julia
Did you cast any of your friends in your past lives and make them reenact them?

Chia
Not make them reenact them. I was briefly convinced that several of my friends and I had had past lives together.

Julia
I feel like that's pretty normal. Yeah.

Chia
Yeah, that you know we had in the way of…

Dan
Reincarnation?

Chia
The idea that you're reincarnated in sort of pods of people that that you go through…

Geoffrey
Oh, dang.

Chia
um you go through the bardo with?

Geoffrey
Yeah.

Chia
I kind of believed that. I'm sure I picked it up from some spooky book I bought at the library, but…

Dan
Is this the same set of friends that you all wrote yourself into GI Joe, the cartoon?

Chia
No, that was a different set of friends. My fanfic friends and my psychic fancy friends were different sets.

Dan
No overlap on that one.

Geoffrey
Had you read Years of Rice and Salt yet?

Chia
Yes.

Geoffrey
’Cause that pod of reincarnation is such a central part of that, but that's immediately what I thought of.

58:55.15

Chia
Yeah, yeah, when I saw that book and what the the premise was, I was like, “Oh, that, yes. I knew about that. I didn't know that anyone else thought that was well!” I did know other people thought that was a thing, and now I assume that the book that I got that idea from knew that there was an existing buddhist belief and it wasn't, you know, some brilliant author who had examined their own past lives and figured this out for themselves.

Julia
I mean, they also could have tried to come up with it on their own. I feel like that's a fairly natural conclusion to come to, that you are reincarnated, and also you are connected to people that you knew in a past life because you've drifted together again.

Chia
Yeah.

Julia
I feel like that’s a fairly natural conclusion and assumption, and a reassuring thing to believe, because you can then believe that that death is not the end of your connection to your people that you love.

Chia
Yes.

Julia
But ah, no, this was just basically all about being murdered over and over again. We —I remember being like in in fourth grade and it being a hot day and wanting to eat an ice cream sandwich which I could get from like the school cafeteria. But ah, being told that I couldn't because it didn't match the reenactment unless I guess she would allow it if I did it really quickly during one specific point where it's before the murderer came in and there was a pie cooling on the windowsill.

Dan
Have the ice cream stand sandwich stand in for the pie.

Julia
And I was just like, “Man, sure I'm eating a blueberry pie, chomp chomp chomp, this is definitely what it is. I really want this ice cream.”

Chia
Why did we let our friends do these things to us, seriously?

Julia
Yeah, I think she must have just had a really high charisma score, because she would just take over any group. She did take over my birthday party and tell people, “You have the third eye, and you do not.”

Geoffrey
See, I would have remembered if someone had told me I was psychic because I would have been totally into it. Because I was constantly sure that I had some hidden secret thing. When I was real little I apparently spent a long time explaining my dad how I was actually an alien from another planet and only looked like a person.

Dan
And he just went along with this right?

Geoffrey
And he just said oh okay, that's interesting. Yeah.

Chia
”Okay, Geoffrey!”

Dan
Like dads do. “Uh huh! What else is happening?”

Julia
Okay, so our lessons are that if you have a weird friend who tells you that you have the sight, believe them.

Dan
Yes, lean into it.

Julia
Just, just go with it. Definitely reenact their murder.

Chia
Child murder SHOULD be alarming.

Julia
I mean, that's not the lesson I took away from this movie. Child murder just happens, then we go with it.

Chia
That's the thing that irritated me for the entire movie. Why is no one alarmed about this?

Dan
Well, busy having a party!

Geoffrey
It does teach us that untreated alcoholism and extreme drunkenness can be a danger.

Chia
Yeah!

Julia
That's, that is true. That is true.

Dan
But apparently you can keep a job for a really long time while still being a drunk in the south. I mean, he was on the he was on that plantation for twenty some odd years.

Julia
I mean, would we call it a job, though? I feel like people had just not kicked him out of the property, but like I don't know that he was doing any work.

Geoffrey
I imagine there must have been some sort of community consensus that it didn't cost too much to keep him on, and this minimized the damage he was going to do to the community. Which, as it turned out, was exactly correct.

Julia
I learned that if things go to hell, you should probably have a mint julep.

Chia
Yes.

Dan
Yes, they were really large mint juleps, too. Did you notice size? They were like in the like the bottom of a Boston shaker or something. They weren't the little julep cups.

Chia
No, it was like a mug full of mint julep.

Dan
That's a lot of bourbon.

Julia
Well, when your whole life exists to reenact the Antebellum South as a romantic exercise, you really just need to drink a lot of alcohol to make that palatable, I think.

Geoffrey
Well, I personally found all of the the endless socialite backstabbery and plotting to be hugely dull. So, if that was my life, I would be a couple sheets to the wind most of the time.

Chia
Yeah.

Julia
Yeah, that's fair. All right? So, our lightning round questions! Does it hold up?

Chia
No.

Dan
It didn't hold up then!

Chia
Not only am I no longer comfortable with many of the elements that escaped me at the time, but also the relationships don't make any sense. Much of the plot does not make any sense. Much of the dialogue doesn't make any sense. The ghost is not scary. What happened to her is treated as kind of an annoyance, or, you know, “Oh, she was murdered? Boy that's sad.” So, no. I did not need to see this… Well, I did need to see this film again because there's a much better film that exists in my head.

Dan
So. In other words, it's ripe for a remake is what you’re saying?

Chia
Exactly, yes.

Dan
Remake, remake!

Julia
Is that a good idea? I don't know.

Geoffrey
You know what they could do? In fact I'll bet Disney plus could do it: a Blossom Culp show.

Julia
Oh yeah, there could totally be a Blossom Culp series. If you want a show that has kind of like all of the fun, somewhat spooky elements of a good Blossom Culp adventure, you should check out The Secrets of Sulfur Springs on Disney plus. That is a super fun, great family show that has like spooky mysterious stuff and lots of questions, and I described it to someone, and they were like, “So Stranger Things for children?” and I was like, “Kind of! Kind of like that.”

I really like it. It has great interactions between the adults and the children, and everybody having their own agenda, and everyone being kind of a fleshed out character, which is cool. And it also does actually address the fact that race relations are a thing. Ah so. I mean it's not super heavy on it, but it does kind of say like, “Oh yeah, she can't go in there because she's Black and it's the Sixties and we're segregated.” And this is actually uncomfortable for everybody involved. So like that's not something I would imagine Child of Glass ever even dreaming of acknowledging.

Chia
No, no.

Geoffrey
No.

Chia
There is no reference to the overwhelming whiteness of everyone, except some of the people who work at the house.

Dan
Who are working when they're moving in.

Chia
Yes.

Dan
Like they're already working.

Julia
Yeah, well we have to have our servants on retainer.

Dan
Yeah.

Chia
Yeah.

Geoffrey
Well, they come with the house.

Julia
It's a true antebellum plantation.

Geoffrey
To be fair, the white servants also come with the house.

Julia
Yeah, and one of them is Blossom’s aunt.

Chia
Yeah, class relation is also… for all that clearly they're rich and Blossom is not, class relations are also not touched on.

Julia
No, they really don't examine that at all. All right, so we say it doesn't it doesn't hold up. I think it doesn't hold up.

Chia
No.

Geoffrey
No, and it's… even overlooking everything else, the pacing is just something you wouldn't do now. Charitably, it's a slow burn, especially the first part of it.

Julia
Yeah, it does take quite a while for him to actually get to a ghostly thing happening. Okay, so was it scarier then or is it scarier now?

Chia
See, I don't remember it as scary. Because, as I said, I remember that he fell in love with a ghost who lived inside a haunted doll.

Dan
Which is a much better story.

Julia
That's a much better story.

Chia
Like, I remember it as romantic, not as scary, and it's not either.

Geoffrey
Oh it's definitely scarier then for me, because I completely misremembered this movie, which I think I saw… maybe I just thought I saw it, maybe I just saw commercials for it, thought it looked scary, and then later misremembered having seen it. But the version I misremember was definitely a lot scarier.

Julia
I can imagine that you could have seen commercials that made it look scary, because they did show it multiple times apparently up through the mid 80s, so you could have seen a commercial for it as a small child being advertised on TV. And with strategic cuts, they could just show you something that made it seem like a spooky mystery.

Geoffrey
And in a way that the the child of glass rhyme sounds like something truly ominous rather than just some nonsense.

Julia
Yeah, so the the child of glass rhyme is, “Sleeping lies the murdered lass, vainly weeps the child of glass, when the two shall be as one, then the spirit's journey is done.”

Chia
Yes.

Julia
And Inez says this to Alexander and tells him he has to solve it by all hallows eve, which is very soon, or else she'll will be doomed to walk the world forever as a ghost and reenact her her murder. But she basically—

Geoffrey
Just like Theresa!

Julia
Yeah, she basically seems annoyed with him. Every time she appears she's like, “Alexander, how come you're not working on solving my riddle?” And he is like, “I am! and I'm doing other stuff, too.” And she's like, “Well don't do other stuff! Just solve my riddle, gosh darn it!”

Geoffrey
Yeah, Awexanduh!

Chia
Do as I say, lazy boy!

Dan
So hard to find good help these days.

Geoffrey
He does have a very good point. He always tells her, “Look, I would rather be working on your problem. But if I don't do this then I'll be in so much trouble I won't be able to help you at all.”

Julia
Yeah, it's true. If Blossom is Huckleberry Finn, I feel like Alexander is Tom Sawyer. he could talk Inez around into painting the fence for him.

All right, so. I think it's scarier now because I don't think it's a scary movie in and of itself. However, I think a lot of the things about it are actually terrifying. Like apparently no one cares if children are murdered. It's cool to romanticize the antebellum south, and just, yeah, I feel like all of those things are terrifying. The movie itself, no. But I don't feel like it was trying to be. I feel like it was trying to be pretty safe for kids so wouldn't scare them.

All right. Most painfully dated moment.

Chia
Oooh.

Julia
This is hard because you have to choose one.

Dan
I mean most of his t-shirts.

Chia
Yeah

Dan
Pretty dated. And his haircut. Yeah, yeah, that's pretty painful.

Chia
Yeah. But no, I think the ball that everyone in town comes to and it's a huge social success and it doesn't bother anyone.

Julia
Yeah.

Dan
And everyone seems to have the appropriate attire.

Chia
Yes, yes.

Dan
Like just waiting.

Chia
Including some of them are wearing their ancestors’ clothing.

Dan
Yeah.

Julia
Yes.

Geoffrey
I have one, and it's, at one point they… I think it's when they're about to go into Inez’s crypt, and Alexander tries to get Blossom to go first, and she says, “You go first. You're the boy. That's how it is.” And he says, “So much for women's lib.” Which is…

Chia
Oh yeah.

Geoffrey
Just this perfect. Okay, I mean, like no one says women's lib for the past… like, I don't think people ever really… maybe in the 80s, but certainly for most of my life. The only time I came across people talking about women's lib was old stuff and then it was always women's lib.

Chia
Or it was people using women's lib the way people now use left wing media. They're either making fun of people who think like that, or they're making fun of concept of the thing existing.

Geoffrey
Oh, it's almost. It's almost a hundred percent derogatory

Julia
Yeah.

Dan
Remember, the equal rights amendment had been defeated only two years earlier.

Chia
That’s true.

Dan
So you know, all those women libbers.

Julia
Yeah, I mean they all want to burn their bras, but then they make a boy go first to do the scary stuff.

Chia
Right. Right.

Julia
Yeah, I think my most painfully dated moment is probably the the ball scene. If not the part where the mother reads from the book about how romantic this antebellum mansion that they've bought is. This plantation home, which this book is just like a history of the area talking about how great and romantic this house was and it doesn't talk about like. It having a history of slavery or anything like that… is just like no it was great. It was wonderful. Case closed.

Geoffrey
And I hadn't remembered where the books took place, but to know this is all entirely gratuitous for the movie…

Julia
Yeah, it's just made up for the movie. It doesn't exist in the books. I think the other thing that happens in that scene is that Connie Sue is really upset about having to move to the middle of nowhere to this plantation and the dad is like, “Any southern gentleman worth his salt will not mind coming five miles out of town to court his lady.”

Chia
And she's supposed to be like 15

Julia
Yeah, yeah, and I'm like, “Whoa this is definitely dated. But I'm not sure what time period.”

Geoffrey
Fifteen’s courtin’ age.

Julia
Okay, and finally, the most important question that we ask is would you show this to a child?

Chia
No.

Dan
I don't think so.

Chia
Granted, I don't spend a lot of time around kids who are the age that this was targeted at in 1978, but I think from my interactions with children about that age, not only is a lot of the content I would now consider inappropriate because I would want a kid a little bit older to talk to them about why things like the ballroom scene are not okay, but also I think younger kids are going to be bored to death. Because it is so slow compared to the stuff that they've grown up with and and are used to.

Julia
Yeah, I wouldn't show this to a kid. I have a nephew who is 9, and he likes The Secrets of Sulfur Springs, and I would recommend that over this if you want something spooky and fun for kids. I can't imagine him being interested in this. I assume he would be bored, and also, like, there's no reason to show this to people… like, yeah.

Chia
Like, it's not even an interesting capsule of a way of thinking, or of a particular time. It's kind of an unfortunate artifact of the late 1970s.

Dan
Really any episode of Ghost Writer is scarier than this.

Julia
And, as Richard Peck said, the only contact he had with the Disney production company was a private tour of their studio, where he learned the administration building is on Dopey Drive.

Chia
Tell us how you really feel!

Dan
And well and clearly, you know, a check. There was a check that they signed at some point.

Geoffrey
Wasn't it, uh, Caine, the English actor Caine…

Julia
Michael Kane

Chia
Michael Caine.

Geoffrey
Michael Caine, yeah! When asked if he'd seen Jaws 4, he said he'd seen the house he built with the money.

Chia
Mmhmm.

Geoffrey
Ah, So maybe some of that. The only circumstance I could see actually putting this on for a kid was if there was a kid who had read like the the Blossom Culp books and had discovered this movie existed and was like an obsessive completionist. I was like, “Okay, but it's not very good and you're going to be disappointed.”

Dan
We're going to provide you some context.

Chia
But then you could show them the Vincent Price take which is far better than the Disney version and also much much shorter.

Julia
Yeah, yeah, so it's only an excerpt and it's there to encourage you to go read the book.

Geoffrey
Yeah.

Chia
The acting's better. The production values are better. And there’s Vincent Price, who was awesome.

Julia
It's true. Also it's much more actually close to the book because it does have him like warning a bus full of people that they're gonna die on the bridge. They do modernize it. It's not 1914 and they're on a bus and the bridge is flooding which is fine.

Chia
I don't know how Amory managed that one.

Julia
I'm guessing that they did that because it was much more within budget to do that than it was to make a trolley car and a trestle bridge that's on fire. So like one thing that's cool about Child of Glass is the barn burning scene. They bought a barn from some guy and then moved it to a random field and burned it.

Dan
We got one take, keep rolling.

Julia
Exactly. So that was not like a special effect, that was just let's burn a barn and film it.

Geoffrey
Practical effects, man. I think another reason why they change it to a flood is all of the the backstory about why this guy's mad at the cable car and he has spells like, “Well you see, this is Vincent Price, and, you see, the reason he did that is he had spells sometimes and he was very mad at the cable car. For reasons you will see later… Honestly, you should just go read the book We we couldn't make it make any sense in this short film I suggested the flood instead.”

Julia
If you want to see the Vincent price version. It is available on YouTube and it's called Once Upon a Midnight Scary, and The Ghost Belonged to Me part starts around 7 minutes and 30 seconds and lasts for about 8 minutes.

Geoffrey
I just figured that our listeners were entitled to another one of my almost unrecognizable impressions, this time of Vincent Price. Okay, Vincent Price. That's my Vincent Price.

Julia
Amazing. Okay, all right. Well, thank you so much for joining us, Chia and Dan. Do you wish to tell anyone where to find any of your work?

Dan
No, I like to keep it hidden. Like a child of glass…

Chia
I'm honestly not sure any of my work is currently available online. I think it's all out of print. But you can find Dan at http://novysan.com

Dan
True.

Chia
I have a domain registration, but do not currently have a website up, so that does nobody any good, including me.

Geoffrey
See, if we were one of those fancy podcasts that got sponsored by easy website maker things, this would be a great time to pitch it. But we're not so we won't.

Dan
But you should definitely play us out with Blondie's “Heart of Glass”.

Geoffrey
Boy had a ghost and it was a blast, soon found out there was a child of glass…

Julia
All right, I think on that note, we're we're going to catch you next time.

[End transcript]