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Blackbeard's Ghost is a live-action Disney comedy film that was released on February 8, 1968. Peter Ustinov stars as the title character, along with Dean Jones and Suzanne Pleshette. It was one of the last films personally produced by Walt Disney.


Edward Teach a.k.a Blackbeard was a cruel and terrifying pirate as he attacked other ships and claimed their treasure, then one day he was killed in battle out in Godolphin bay. While others cheered that he was gone others believe he is still there. Steve Walker (Dean Jones) arrives in the seacoast town of Godolphin, North Carolina, to take the position of track coach at the local college. The night of his arrival coincides with a charity bazaar at Blackbeard's Inn (built by Blackbeard himself), a hotel run by the elderly female descendants of the pirate's crew, where Steve will be boarding. The owners are attempting to pay off their mortgage in order to keep the inn from being bought by the local crime boss, Silky Seymour (Joby Baker), who wants to build a casino on the land. In quick succession, Steve discovers his track team's shortcomings, runs afoul of the dean of Godolphin College, its football coach, and Silky, but he also makes the acquaintance of an attractive Godolphin professor, Jo Anne Baker (Suzanne Pleshette), who is anxious to help the elderly ladies save the Inn. A charity auction takes place to help sell some of the antiques that belonged to Blackbeard's crew. At first the bidding does well and the ladies managed to sell one item but Silky's men stop people from bidding. However a bidding war with the football coach and Steve an antique bed warmer, once owned by Blackbeard's 10th and final wife Aldetha (who is the spitting image of Jo Anne, and was a witch). Silky warns Walker not to bid but Walker actually bids $200 shocking everyone. He wins the bed warmer and helps get the auction back on track. After the auction, Walker asks Jo Anne why Silky wants to purchase the Inn, she explains that the land the Inn is on would actually double in worth if Silky buys it. Miss Stowcroft tells Walker that as Aldetha was being burned at the stake she placed a curse on Blackbeard that he would live an existence in limbo unless he can perform a good deed. When Walker sits to take off his shoes, he accidentally snaps the bed warmer in half. Inside this bed warmer is hidden a book of magic spells, that belonged to Blackbeard's wife. Steve recites one as a lark, unintentionally conjuring up the ghost of Blackbeard (Peter Ustinov), who appears as a socially-inappropriate drunkard. He finds his wife's spell book and realizes what has happened that Walker brought him back after 200 years.

They are bound to one another by the power of the spell and only the very reluctant Steve can see or hear the ghost. As a result, Steve must deal with the antics of the wayward pirate. As a result of no one else seeing Blackbeard Steve Walker is blamed for reckless driving, drinking and destroying an officer's motorcycle. While in the jail cell Walker remembers the spell and realizes that if Blackbeard did something good he would be freed, sadly though Aldetha who knew him too well, recognized he never did one good thing. Eventually Walker is released due to lack of evidence, he works hard at attempting to revive Godolphin's track team as they aren't ready but with limited time they all must practice. Before long Walker even forms a relationship with Jo Anne. Things are complicated when the pirate steals one of the Inn's mortgage payments and bets it on Steve's track team. Blackbeard's intention is to use his ghostly powers to help Godolphin win the Broxton Relay track meet, and thereby pay the mortgage in full. Though Steve (who is an overly scrupulously honest man) is at first outraged over the pirate's interference during the meet, he eventually decides the greater good is to win the money for the sake of the Inn, and help the old ladies whom he also has grown fond of. In the end, the team wins and since Jo Anne and Silky made a bet, he has to pay up. Even though the team won the games and the inn would be saved, Walker decides to just leave, despite Blackbeard and Jo Anne's protest. Walker soon finds out that Silky didn't pay up and instead is going to keep the money and throw everyone out tomorrow as he is still determined to get the building and put up another casino. He decides to go to Seymour himself and get the money, however Seymour still won't budge, but realizing that they can get more money by playing a game, they win especially after a "shocking" turn of events. He accepts Blackbeard's help in shaking down Silky and his thugs, after he refuses to pay out the winnings from the bet. Finally, with the mortgage paid, Blackbeard has performed his good deed and is released from the curse after burning the document. He is finally able to say that he Edward Teach a.k.a. Blackbeard was not all bad after all. He departs to join his ghostly crew, leaving Steve and Jo Anne to pursue their future happily together.




  • A copyright renewal for the film was registered on August 29, 1995.[1] A copyright renewal for the story it is based on was also registered in the U.S.[2]
  • The movie was first released in 1968 which was the 250th Anniversary year of the death in 1718 of the real-life Blackbeard the Pirate (born Edward Teach).
  • Peter Ustinov portrayed the character of the pirate Blackbeard as a rolly and rompous person and much different to the way the personage was characterized in the movie's source novel by Ben Stahl.
  • In the film, track coach, Steve Walker discovers the book of magic spells whereas in the film's source Ben Stahl novel of the same title, the edition is found by two teenage boys.
  • The film was made and released about three years after its source novel of the same name by Ben Stahl had been first published in 1965.
  • This was Hank Jones' favorite movie. He showed up faithfully for work each morning at the corner of Goofy Lane and Dopey Drive to film memorable scenes from that movie.
  • Walt Disney, who personally produced the film, would get angry if anyone called him "Mr. Disney:" it was always, "Uncle Walt."
  • Walt Disney himself cast Hank Jones in the movie, but it was to be Walt's last film. Sadly, he died during the first days of shooting in 1966.
  • When filming the scene where Hank Jones was flying on "the Mary Poppins wires" high above the Disney soundstage, the wires broke and Hank fell right on top of poor Peter Ustinov, bleeding all over his expensive pirate costume.
  • The spell used to summon Blackbeard is seen in Madame Leota's spellbook in The Haunted Mansion.
  • A small reproduction of Blackbeard's portrait was featured within the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at Disneyland from 1997 to 2006 as part of a large portion of loot a duo of pirates struggled to drag up the lift hill at the end of the attraction.


  • Wires are visible when Blackbeard helps the Godolphin pole-vaulter and when he takes the bottle of rum from the motorcycle cop.
  • The flag flying on Blackbeard's pirate ship at the end is completely inaccurate. Blackbeard flew his own flag which depicted a man stabbing a heart with an arrow. The one used in the film was the flag flown by Richard Worley, another infamous pirate.
  • A properly functioning Colt automatic pistol does not fire if it is dropped, or if it is incorrectly gripped, yet it does during the run-in with the motorcycle officer.
  • When Blackbeard takes a bottle of rum from the bar, Miss Stowecroft can't see him, but she should see the bottle floating in the air.


v - e - d
Blackbeard's Ghost Logo
Blackbeard's Ghost
BlackbeardSteve WalkerJo Anne BakerEmily StowecroftDaughters of the BuccaneersSilky SeymourSeymour's ThugsDean WheatonPinetop Purvis • Steve's Team • TV Commentator • Motorcycle OfficerAldetha Teach
North CarolinaBlackbeard's Inn • Broxton Relay Track Meet • Seymour's Restaurant and Casino
Blackbeard's Ghost Ship
Heart of Oak