Saturday, May 20, 2017

Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: The Ghost Busters; "Merlin the Magician" (December 6, 1975)

The ghost of the great wizard Merlin (Carl Ballantine) and his jester, Gronk (Huntz Hall), materialize in the local graveyard. Unlike most ghosts who appear there, this duo wishes only to return peaceably to “The Great Beyond.”

Unfortunately, Merlin has forgotten the spell that would take them back.  

Worse, Merlin's arch-enemy, Morgan La Fay (Ina Balin), has materialized in the present too, and wishes to destroy him.  She sets a trap for Merlin and the Ghost Busters after stealing their de-materialization ray.

“Merlin the Magician” is actually one of the more entertaining episodes of this vastly silly series from 1975, and it changes-up the format just a hair. Although we still get the obligatory ghost-and-sidekick duo, we also get a third character this time: Le Fay.  

Perhaps because of Balin’s performance, Le Fay somehow manages to seem more legitimately threatening to the protagonists than do most of the monsters on the series.  She even robs the gang of its ghost dematerializer weapon.

All’s well that ends well, and Merlin and Gronk get their wish to be returned to The Great Beyond, but they certainly are friendlier ghosts than most featured in the series.

Next week, the last episode of The Ghost Busters: “The Abominable Snowman.”

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