Hitting the Books with CBS’s “Ghosts” – Pete

A camping trip to the 1980s – Get to know the specters of CBS’s “Ghosts” better with this booklist

This week’s installment of Hitting the Books with CBS’s Ghosts highlights Pete! But first, let’s take a moment to appreciate one of his favorite shows, Newhart.



[What is Hitting the Books with CBS’s Ghosts? To find out, click here. And check out our previous installment on Flower.]

Played by Richie Moriarty, the character of Pete Martino was the troop leader of a group similar to the Girl Scouts. Sadly, he died in 1985 after one of the girls in his troop accidentally shot him in the neck with an arrow.

While Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts have waned in popularity, it is difficult to describe just how popular they were in the 1980s. In regards to the Boy Scouts of America, their numbers grew every year from 1980 to 1989. In many ways, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts in the 1980s were truly extensions of the conversative values that dominated the United States during the decade. They did this by combining religious values, nationalism, civic and business engagements. The organizations also represented what cultural leaders saw as acceptable gender norms for the time.



While it is impossible to just summarize how the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts impacted a person like Pete, Wall Street Journal and iilluminaughtii both released video essays examining these organizations. With that said, Pete would have been influenced by the handbooks from the Boy Scouts as well as from the Girl Scouts.

For those of you who would like to explore this history of the Boy Scouts in further detail, check out Men of Schiff, A History of the Professional Scouters Who Built the Boy Scouts of America.

Pete is portrayed as consistently nice and in-line with what white middle-class men were expected to be in the 1980s, but there is a Dungeons & Dragons wrinkle with his character. While D&D is now viewed as a harmless game for geeks and nerds, playing it was an act of rebellion in the 1980s. As a 60 Minutes report from 1985 points out, D&D was connected to suicides, murders, drugs, Devil worship. The game was swept up in a larger moral panic that plagued the 1980s and resulted in innocent people going to jail and other damages. On this subject there are three fantastic books that I’d recommend.

David M. Ewalt’s Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons & Dragons and The People Who Play It, Joseph P. Laycock’s Dangerous Games: What the Moral Panic over Role-Playing Games Says about Play, Religion, and Imagined Worlds, and Richard Beck’s We Believe the Children: A Moral Panic in the 1980s.

We know that Pete is a huge fan of Dungeons & Dragons. Does this mean that Pete was one of the few upstanding citizens who knew that D&D was just for fun, or was Pete a bit of a bad boy?

Share your thoughts below.

For more information about Ghosts, check out its homepage and follow it on Twitter @GhostsCBS.

And remember to follow me on Twitter @NicholasYanes, and to follow ScifiPulse on twitter @SciFiPulse and on facebook.

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