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Haunted TV: From 'Casper' to 'American Horror Story'

October 31, 2011 |  9:59 am

Ghost whisperer

Ghosts have always haunted television – from “Topper” and “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” to "American Horror Story” and “Ghost Adventures.” But the style of spooks has changed with the times.

Early in TV’s history, ghosts tended to be friendly spirits like the one in 1950s sitcom “Topper” or the sweetest animated ghost of all, “Casper.” These were later followed by dark spirits ("Tales from the Crypt"); wise, sometimes nagging spirits ("Rescue Me," "Six Feet Under"); and of course crime-solving spirits (“Medium," “The Ghost Whisperer"). These days, nowhere do the dead live so successfully as on the ghost-hunting reality shows. 

To make your Halloween complete, Robert Lloyd wrote a Critic's Notebook about television’s long infatuation with the ghost, accompanied by a photo gallery of small-screen spooks. There’s also an interview with two of Syfy’s “Ghost Hunters” about their live six-hour Halloween special; and some ghost-tweets from TV characters who met an untimely demise.


10 classic Halloween TV episodes

Ghost Hunters discuss live Halloween spook search

Ghosts haunt all corners of television

Photo: Jennifer Love Hewitt as "The Ghost Whisperer." Credit: Cliff Lipsonics / CBS.