I can’t say that ghostly fathers come back very often, either in film OR television. But it does happen. Here are five such instances. To tell the truth, I just wanted an excuse to compare Bill Cosby to Hamlet.
Up until this point in history, I thought that Bill Cosby was one of the funniest human beings walking around. And then, I saw this.
Here’s the first instance that we have of a ghost dad being used for good, and not Jello pudding pop-infused evil. The “wanna have a catch, Dad?” scene choked me up a bit when I saw it in the theater… and every single time since then, as well. In retrospect, I personally couldn’t relate to it because my dad was alive and I could (and did) play catch with him whenever I wanted. Also, what kind of father inspires his kid to plow under a cornfield to build a baseball field, potentially driving himself into debt? A bad father, that’s who. Also, it’s pretty unrealistic. Nobody would ever confuse Iowa with Heaven. Maybe farm animals, but certainly not people.
Remember when Dexter’s father was there to remind him of The Code, and not just some guy who hangs out whenever the writers need to burn a few minutes and sloppily give us a glimpse into Dexter’s psyche? Anyway, you can’t have this list without good ol’ Harry Morgan.
This is proof that the Ghost Dad device pre-dates Bill Cosby by almost four centuries. But it also proves that, when it came to Bill Cosby and William Shakespeare, great minds think alike. Here’s the Kenneth Branagh version of Ghost Dad. Er… I mean… Hamlet.
Six Feet Under
Also known as “Dexter has a ghost dad, but is gay instead of a serial killer”. I sort of want to create a spinoff starring James Remar (Harry Morgan), Richard Jenkins (Nathaniel Fisher, Sr.), and Michael C. Hall and call it “My Two Ghost Dads”.