Home Movies by Decade Movies - 1960s Ghost Goes Gear, The (1966)

Ghost Goes Gear, The (1966)

This 24-carat piece of 60s pop trivia was made as a showcase for the popular British blues-soul band The Spencer Davis Group.

The band are spending the summer as entertainers on a pleasure steamer plying the Thames near Windsor.

While packing up their instruments after the show one day, Peter York’s drum falls into the river and floats away downstream. The band and their road manager, Al Wright (Nicholas Parsons), follow it in a variety of craft but cannot retrieve the drum until it is hooked by old Edwards (Jack Haig), who is fishing.

Edwards is surprised to see Al and tells the amused group that their manager’s real name is the Hon. Algernon Rowthorpe-Plumley, a member of an old aristocratic family, whose country house, Rowthorpe Hall, where he is the butler, is quite near.

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Somewhat reluctantly, Al invites the Group to stay the night at his home, although he manages to keep them from meeting his mother, the formidable Lady Rowthorpe (Joan Ingram).

The Group do, however, manage to meet the pretty maid of the house, Polly (Sheila White) and they go down to the vast kitchen where they stage an impromptu routine with her whilst the dinner is being prepared.

That night, the Group are put into the wine cellar where, amidst racks of bottles, they try to make themselves comfortable.

As they are deciding that sleep is impossible, a wall swings open and a ghost (Lorne Gibson) in Tudor costume appears and sings a number. It then disappears again.

The Group decide to follow the apparition and after running along several stone passages, emerge into a large room, in the centre of which is an inviting four-poster bed. They climb into it and soon realise that it is already occupied by Lady Rowthorpe and her husband (Tony Sympson).

Her shrieks send them hastening from the room and they end the night in Al’s bed, after first having placed his sleeping body on a piano for the rest of the night.

The next morning, Al tells Polly and the Group that his parents are quite poor and the house is slowly falling to pieces. It is Spencer Davis himself that has a bright suggestion – to turn the crumbling ruin into a stately home.

They become very enthusiastic about the idea and are soon busy with some way-out forms of publicity.

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A few visitors arrive but run away after seeing the family ‘ghost’ – which is actually one of the Group in a suit of armour.

News of the ghostly appearance is featured by the national newspapers and the crowds begin to pour in, especially for a Gear Garden Party where many popular performers, including Acker Bilk, Dave Berry, The Three Bells, The St Louis Union, and The M6 entertain the visitors.

Following the familiar Carry On style formula of a band in wacky situations mingling with a range of British comic performers, The Ghost Goes Gear was filmed in the summer of 1966 on a country estate near the River Thames in Berkshire, and at Puttenden Manor in Surrey. Indoor sequences were shot at Pathe’s own studios in Wardour Street, London.

It was released in Britain just before Christmas that year, as the support to the Raquel Welch flick One Million Years BC.

Al Wright/Algernon Rowthorpe-Plumley
Nicholas Parsons
The Spencer Davis Group
Spencer Davis
Steve Winwood
Mervyn ‘Muff’ Winwood
Pete York
Old Edwards
Jack Haig
Polly
Sheila White
Lady Rowthorpe
Joan Ingram
Lord Plumley
Tony Sympson
Vicar
Arthur Howard
Acker Bilk and His Paramount Jazz Band
Themselves
Lorne Gibson Trio
Themselves
The M6
Themselves
St. Louis Union
Themselves
Dave Berry
Himself
The Three Bells
Themselves
Butch
Emmett Hennessy
Ghost
Lorne Gibson

Director
Hugh Gladwish