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Child of Glass

July 15th, 2008 by aunt john · 11 Comments

child of glass

Preface: Back when KINDERTRAUMA was just a mere glint in your Unkle Lancifer‘s aquamarine eyes, he asked your Aunt John to come up with a short list of movies, T.V. shows, etc. that terrified me as a tot. Aside from my usual suspects of Spelling-Goldberg produced mayhem, and that Little House on the Prairie freak-out episode, your Aunt John would always come back to 1978 Wonderful World of Disney T.V.-movie CHILD OF GLASS. I vividly remember it always aired around Halloween time, usually in tandem with THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW. Unfortunately, your Unkle Lancifer had never heard of this gem, and the folks at Disney, after releasing it on VHS in the ’80s, seem content to leave it locked away in their mythical vaults alongside SONG OF THE SOUTH. I had honestly given up on ever seeing and writing about it, until it was recently brought to my attention that a near complete copy of it had made its way onto the youtubes. Catch it soon before it disappears again for another 30 years. Scratch that; it looks like it’s already been removed.

Shortly after Alexander Armsworth (STEVE SHAW) and his family take up residence in an old-timey Southern plantation, presumably somewhere near New Orleans or anywhere where exaggerated Cajun accents are commonplace, our pre-teen hero realizes that he has the gift of the sixth sense. Yes, he can see dead people, but unfortunately for him, he can only see the ghost of an insanely bossy Creole girl named Inez Dumaine (OLIVIA BARASH). According to the sad yarn Inez spins, her uncle was a river pirate, she was the victim of foul play and unless Alexander can solve her mysterious riddle (“Sleeping lies the murdered lass, vainly calls the child of glass. When the two shall be as one, the spirit’s journey will be done”) by midnight on Halloween, she will haunt him with her off-key renditions of Frère Jacques for an eternity. Did I mention she’s really bossy?  Fortunately, Alexander’s bespectacled pal Blossom Culp (KATHY KURTZMAN) has a knack for crystal ball gazing and the duo sets out to solve Inez’s brainteaser. They correctly surmise that Inez is the murdered lass, and they make the obligatory trek to the super-creepy mausoleum in which she is entombed, but the second part about the child of glass has the precocious pair stumped. By the time Alexander puts two and two together and figures out the child of glass is Inez’s doll, a bitter ex-employee of his parents shows up to torch the family barn. Alexander escapes the arsonist by tumbling down a long-abandoned well in an adjacent building on the property. His family assumes the worst until brainy Blossom shows up and peers down the well. Like a scene not found in THE DESCENT, Blossom is lowered down the well with some laundry line and she rescues both Alexander and Inez’s missing dolly.  When the pair returns to the cemetery to reunite Inez with her child of glass, they stumble ass first into the angry arsonist who wants Alexander dead so he cannot testify as a witness in any subsequent barn burning trials. Inez materializes just in time to scare off the attacker, caterwaul another chorus of Frère Jacques, and repay the kindness of Alexander and Blossom with the stash of diamonds concealed in her doll.

  • THE WIZARD OF OZ meets THE RING insanity that ensues when Blossom’s crystal ball play replays the death of Inez
  • Blossom’s Motley Crue-esque make-up for said crystal ball gazing
  • Inez and Alexander’s uncomfortable waltz at his parents’ cotillion
  • Cemetery chase scene in which Blossom trips to enhance the suspense

Tags: Telenasties · Tykes in Trouble

11 responses so far ↓

  • 1 mamamiasweetpeachesNo Gravatar // Jul 15, 2008 at 9:27 am

    One of the very first things I did when I got internet service was to go on a hunt to find out what this movie was called!
    My best friend had talked about this movie for YEARS, knowing all the details, everything but the title.
    When I found out the name I tryed to “surprise” her by buying her a copy. Well, the surprise was on me: It is very rare and even a used VHS copy will run you about $75!
    I put it out of my mind until about a year ago when I thought “Hmmmm….I wonder if anyone on YOU TUBE has it!” (I had seen THE MOUSE AND HIS CHILD and a trippy PINOCHHIO movie on there – people love to put weird hard-to-find sh!t up there!- Heck, I even saw THE STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL on there once!) and sure enough they had it!
    i enjoyed watching it as an adult and imagine watching it as a child would have been even better! It really was creepy enough to scare and yet cute enough to please.

  • 2 Adam RossNo Gravatar // Jul 15, 2008 at 9:48 am

    Does this movie actually feature a glass child or doll? I remember seeing a movie like this in the 80s with glass in the title and a child falling down a well, and they’re trying to find some kind of glass doll or figure.

  • 3 Adam RossNo Gravatar // Jul 15, 2008 at 9:54 am

    Nevermind, turns out I still read at a 5th grade level. I have indeed seen this, and remember seeing promos for it on some channel circa 1988. I never watched the Disney Channel, it was probably some local channel showing it via syndication (?).

  • 4 AbsintheNo Gravatar // Jul 15, 2008 at 10:42 am

    The mouse and his child is one of my fave creepy kid’s movies – I managed many years ago to buy a VHS copy from a video store going out of business.  Never saw this movie but it did bring to mind another Disney Halloween flick that I don’t see on TV anymore – Mr. Boogedy and its sequel Bride of Boogedy – those were creepy.

  • 5 micksterNo Gravatar // Jul 15, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    Oh, I remember this movie! It was back when Disney still produced quality live-action films. It was also back when network T.V. showed great spooky stuff during the month of October. I wish it would come out on DVD. Child of Glass is right up there with Watcher in the Woods when it comes to eerie atmosphere. Disney should start releasing films like this instead of all those stupid direct to DVD movies (Mulan II, Cinderella III, etc.).

  • 6 aunt johnNo Gravatar // Jul 16, 2008 at 12:02 am

    @ Mickster: Many office gigs ago, I had a co-worker of mine send off an inquiry letter to Disney regarding a DVD release date for CHILD OF GLASS. We heard back with a polite “There are no plans to release this title in your requested format” or something along those lines. 🙁

  • 7 wendyrellaNo Gravatar // Aug 5, 2008 at 2:13 am

    Oh, Aunt John!  I’m glad that my reunion with Uncle Lancifer could yield a conversation about the most terrifying show to torment my young life.  I hope that you got to watch it.  I highly suggest reading the book that inspired it, Richard Peck’s “The Ghost Belongs to Me”.  P.S., I’ve found some Song of the South on youtube as well.  I wish I had gotten to spend more time together with you both.

  • 8 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Aug 5, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    I wish we could see you more often! Thanks again for steering us in the right direction with this one. We would have never found it without your sage advice. You my friend are one of the few people on this earth who are fluent in the native kindertraumian language!

  • 9 icysugarspikeNo Gravatar // Oct 9, 2009 at 10:40 am

    Come on already, Disney! We know you like to make a quick buck! Let me contribute some more of my hard-earned cash, and at least get a movie from my childhood whose ending I’ll never forget out of the deal!

  • 10 Luca ColonneseNo Gravatar // Jun 4, 2010 at 9:41 am

    This is so ironic because I had been looking for the title for that movie for the longest time, and just a few months ago I founded a rock duo and together with my partner in crime (Suela Mero) we decided Child Of Glass was a good name.
    And now I find out it’s the title of a movie I must have seen 5-6 times on TV reruns (in French) on The Wonderful World of Disney when I was a little kid.
    Wow. Thanks for enlightening me!
    (BTW, the website for my band is it’s pop/rock…)

  • 11 blueroc85No Gravatar // Dec 24, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    Amazon has this movie on DVD now!

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