‘The Ghost Breakers‘ was directed by George Marshall, and starred Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard in what might feasibly be described as the first ‘zombie-comedy’.
The film was intended as a loose follow-up to 1939 movie ‘The Cat and the Canary‘, which also starred Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard. Paramount realized that the the audience responded well to the chemistry of the two stars and wanted to capitalize on the success.
The film is a classic caper that sees Bob Hope going on the run after offending some local gangsters, and on the way he bumps into Paulette Goddard and ends up tagging along on her trip to investigate a strange castle that she has inherited.
The score for The Ghost Breakers’ was written and composed by Ernst Toch – who also did the soundtrack for ‘The Cat and the Canary‘.
Ernst Toch was an Austrian composer who was born in 1887 and ended up in New York after fleeing Austria when Hitler took power in 1933. He first fled to Europe, before accepting an offer from New School for Social Research to go to New York. Toch then got into composing soundtracks for films as a method of supporting himself. His first soundtrack was for the movie ‘Catherine the Great‘ in 1933, and his most famous soundtrack is probably for the movie ‘Heidi‘ in 1937.
‘The Ghost Breakers‘ also features another track that Bob Hope sings very briefly. Hope sings ‘Thanks for the Memory’ which he had previously sung in 1938, and also been recorded and featured on various albums.
Listen to Bob Hope singing ‘Thanks for the Memory’:
‘The Ghost Breakers’ went on to have quite a bit of success and was performed again as a play that featured Bob Hope once again in the leading role. You can listen to one of the radio productions below: