Ghostwriter (1992 TV series)

Ghostwriter is an American children's mystery television series created by Liz Nealon and produced by the Children's Television Workshop and British BBC Television. It began airing on PBS on October 4, 1992, and the final episode aired on February 12, 1995. The series revolves around a group of friends from Brooklyn who solve neighborhood crimes and mysteries as a team of youth detectives with the help of a ghost named Ghostwriter. Ghostwriter can communicate with children only by manipulating whatever text and letters he can find and using them to form words and sentences.[2] The series was filmed on location in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

Ghostwriter
Ghostwriter (logo).jpg
Genre
Created byLiz Nealon
Starring
Composers
  • Gail "Sky" King
  • Peter Wetzler
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes74 (18 story arcs, with four episodes in each arc, except 1 and 5, where they have five episodes) (list of episodes)
Production
ProducerMiranda Barry
Production locationsBrooklyn, New York
Running time30 minutes
Production companies
DistributorTradewinds Television
Release
Original network
Audio formatDolby Surround
Original releaseOctober 4, 1992 (1992-10-04) –
February 12, 1995 (1995-02-12)
Chronology
Followed byGhostwriter (2019–present)

OverviewEdit

The series was designed to teach reading and writing skills to schoolchildren. Each mystery was presented as a case, covering four 30-minute episodes (except the first and fifth story arc, where there are five 30 minute episodes); children were encouraged to follow each mystery, and use the reading and writing clues given to attempt to solve them just as the Ghostwriter team does in the TV series.[3]

Ghostwriter was critically acclaimed and honored for presenting a realistic, ethnically diverse world in its two-hour mystery stories.[4] By the end of its third season, Ghostwriter ranked in the top five of all children's shows on American television.[citation needed] Ghostwriter has been broadcast in 24 countries worldwide, and generated a number of foreign-language adaptations, including a dubbed over version on Discovery Kids Latin America marketed as Fantasma Escritor.

Despite its popularity, the program was abruptly canceled after the third season due to inadequate funding. The original series was rerun from 1995 to 1999 on PBS. The UPN Kids block on UPN also ran reruns for a short time in 1997. Then, in 1999, it was syndicated on ABC for a short time. From 1999 to 2003, it aired on the Noggin cable network, which was jointly founded by the Children's Television Workshop with Viacom's Nickelodeon. The show's revival The New Ghostwriter Mysteries also aired on Noggin as part of its nighttime programming blocks, The Hubbub[5] and The N. Noggin's website featured exclusive casebook files based on the show.[6]

EpisodesEdit

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
134October 4, 1992May 16, 1993
228September 12, 1993April 24, 1994
SpecialSeptember 18, 1994 (1994-09-18)
312September 25, 1994February 12, 1995

CastEdit

  • Sheldon Turnipseed as Jamal Jenkins
  • Blaze Berdahl as Lenni Frazier
  • David López as Alex Fernández
  • Mayteana Morales as Gaby Fernández (1992–1994)
  • Tram-Anh Tran as Tina Nguyen
  • Todd Alexander Cohen as Rob Baker (1992–1993)
  • William Hernandez as Héctor Carrero (1993–1995)
  • Melissa González as Gaby Fernández (1994–1995)
  • Lateaka Vinson as Casey Austin (1994–1995)
  • Marcella Lowery as CeCe Jenkins
  • Samuel L. Jackson as Mr. Jenkins (Jamal's father)

MerchandiseEdit

Created as an integrated, branded, multi-media project, the Ghostwriter brand included magazines and teacher's guides, software (Microsoft), home video, games/licensed product, and other outreach materials that reached over a million children each month. There were many Ghostwriter novels released, both novelizations of the TV episodes and new stories. They were released by Bantam Books.

VHS releasesEdit

During the mid-1990s, Ghostwriter was released on VHS by Republic Pictures. The company released "Ghost Story", "Who Burned Mr. Brinker's Store?", and "Into the Comics" with their respective story-arc episodes edited together into a feature-length format.

DVD releasesEdit

 
Ghostwriter: Season One DVD cover art.

In February 2010, it was announced that Season 1 of Ghostwriter would be released on DVD by Shout! Factory. The 5-disc set, running 870 minutes long, was released on June 8, 2010. Supplements are a trivia game and a casebook.[7][8] The entire series except for the last two story arcs were also released by GPN.[9]

DVD name Ep # Release date Special Features
Season One 34 June 8, 2010 Ghostwriter Trivia Game, Ghostwriter Casebook
Season Two 28 TBA
Season Three 12 TBA

Awards and nominationsEdit

  • Writers Guild of America, USA, 1995
    • Won, WGA Award (TV) for Children's Script—Carin Greenberg Baker, for "Don't Stop The Music".
  • Young Artist Awards, 1993
    • Nominated, Outstanding Performers in a Children's Program: Todd Alexander, Blaze Berdahl, David López, Mayteana Morales, Tram-Anh Tran, Sheldon Turnipseed

The New Ghostwriter MysteriesEdit

The New Ghostwriter Mysteries
 
GenreChildren's
Mystery
Fantasy
Created byLiz Nelson
StarringCharlotte Sullivan
Erica Luttrell
Kristian Ayre
ComposerAlex Khaskin
Country of originCanada
United States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes13
Production
Executive producerNaomi Janzen
Production locationsToronto, Ontario
CinematographyRhett Morita
Running time30 minutes
Production companiesDecode Entertainment
Children's Television Workshop
Release
Original networkCBS
Original releaseSeptember 13 –
December 6, 1997 (1997-12-06)

In 1997, CBS aired a new version of the series, The New Ghostwriter Mysteries,[10] but it was canceled after one season due to low ratings. The new series had little in common with the original, changing Ghostwriter's on-screen appearance, introducing entirely new characters, and getting rid of the serial format of the original series.[11] The series was filmed in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and featured a new team of three kids: Camella Gorik (Charlotte Sullivan), Emilie Robeson (Erica Luttrell), and Henry "Strick" Strickland (Kristian Ayre). Ghostwriter only had two colors, which were silver and gold.

Ghostwriter's identityEdit

Ghostwriter producer and writer Kermit Frazier revealed in a 2010 interview that Ghostwriter was the ghost of a runaway slave during the American Civil War. He taught other slaves how to read and write and was killed by slave catchers and their dogs. His spirit was kept in the book that Jamal first discovered in the pilot episode, and when Jamal opened the book he was freed.[12]

Radio seriesEdit

In Summer 2006, BBC School Radio produced a radio series of Ghostwriter for primary school students. Character names from the TV series were retained, though voiced by new children. Music and the theme song were also kept, and a new arranged jingle for children to recognize Ghostwriter's appearances was created by Sesame Workshop.

RevivalEdit

In September 2019, it was reported that a Ghostwriter revival would air on Apple TV+. The series premiered on November 1, 2019.[13] The series was nominated for eight Daytime Emmy Awards.[14]

A spin-off, Ghostwriter: Beyond the Page, premiered on April 1, 2021.[15]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Heffley, Lynne (October 3, 1992). "Words Add Substance to 'Ghostwriter'". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on November 7, 2012. Retrieved August 27, 2010.
  2. ^ Bernstein, Sharon (September 12, 1992). "Fox to Premiere PBS' 'Ghostwriter'". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on November 7, 2012. Retrieved August 27, 2010.
  3. ^ Bernstein, Sharon (May 17, 1991). "Public TV: 'Ghostwriter' targets third- and fourth-graders, 40% of whom are said to lack basic reading skills. The series will debut in 1992". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on November 7, 2012. Retrieved August 27, 2010.
  4. ^ "Ghostwriter Review | TV Reviews and News". EW.com. January 15, 1993. Archived from the original on October 25, 2008. Retrieved March 12, 2014.
  5. ^ Umstead, R. Thomas (June 11, 2001). "Noggin Adds Interactive Series". Multichannel News. Archived from the original on September 25, 2020.
  6. ^ Nick Iuppa (September 7, 2001). Interactive Design for New Media and the Web. CRC Press. pp. 248–249. ISBN 978-1-136-13405-0. Archived from the original on November 16, 2020. Retrieved September 29, 2020.
  7. ^ "Ghostwriter: Season One : DVD Talk Review of the DVD Video". Dvdtalk.com. June 8, 2010. Archived from the original on June 12, 2010. Retrieved March 16, 2014.
  8. ^ "Ghostwriter Typed Up – IGN". Dvd.ign.com. Archived from the original on September 16, 2012. Retrieved March 16, 2014.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 22, 2015. Retrieved August 16, 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ King, Susan (August 31, 1997). "Educating and Entertaining". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. Archived from the original on March 12, 2014. Retrieved March 12, 2014.
  11. ^ King, Susan (August 31, 1997). "Educating and Entertaining". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on March 12, 2014. Retrieved March 12, 2014.
  12. ^ Honan, Katie (May 6, 2010). "'Ghostwriter' Revisits Fort Greene Past". The New York Times. The Local (blog). Archived from the original on April 11, 2013. Retrieved March 11, 2014.
  13. ^ Denise Petski (September 10, 2019). "'Ghostwriter': Reboot Of 1990s Kids Series Set At Apple TV+". Deadline. Archived from the original on September 11, 2019. Retrieved September 13, 2019.
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 16, 2020. Retrieved May 21, 2020.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ Meaghan Darwish (March 5, 2021). "Apple TV+ Spring Shows to Include 'It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown' and a 'Ghostwriter' Spinoff". TV Insider. Retrieved May 7, 2021.

External linksEdit