The Ghosts of Motley Hall 2.6 – Horoscope

Our son protested that the six episode seasons common to British comedy are far, far too short. His is a common complaint. “Horoscope” wrapped up the six-week run with guest star Brian Wilde as a parody of Howard Hughes called Stanford Hives. He can see three of the ghosts, although not Sir George, who most wants him to leave, and doesn’t make a business transaction without consulting his star charts. Previously, he lived in a lighthouse, until people found out where he was. He buys Motley Hall hoping that nobody will ever find him here, except his small live-in staff, who keep him informed of the positions of stars and planets, mainly so they can manipulate him.

I reminded our son that we’ve seen Howard Hughes analogues before, most recently in the Hardy Boys adventure “Arson and Old Lace.” It was the seventies, man. The kid enjoyed the episode, particularly when Sir George engages in guerrilla warfare to annoy him out of the house. You’d get aggravated as well if a ghost was pulling the blankets off you in the middle of the night!

But I really enjoyed the scene pictured above, where Bodkin convinces the grumpy old devil to live a little, and stop acting like Capricorns are supposed to. There’s no reason why Hives can’t be a Leo and have more fun. No, really, there’s no reason, Hives is an orphan and does not actually know his real birthday. Arthur English, not for the first time, is completely magical in the scene. I wasn’t familiar with him before we started looking at this show. He really was a great actor.


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