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Eglantine Price (Angela Lansbury in Bedknobs and Broomsticks)

Miss Eglantine Price


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

Bedknobs and Broomsticks is a 1971 Disney children’s musical, set in Britain during World War Two. It mixes live action with some animation. It is fondly remembered. For instance this profile sees a fair bit of traffic.

The central character, played by Angela Lansbury, is a reclusive woman of a certain age taking correspondence classes in witchcraft. These give her actual magical capabilities, though she was yet to finish her studies.

As the film begins, she finds herself reluctantly saddled with young children fleeing the Blitz over London.


Background

  • Real Name: Eglantine Price
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Known Relatives: Carrie Rawlins, Paul Rawlins, Charles Rawlins, Unnamed (Father, served in the military)
  • Group Affiliation: None
  • Base Of Operations: Pepperinge Eye, United Kingdom
  • Height: 5’8” Weight: 120 lbs.
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Red Age: 46


Powers & Abilities

Miss Price would appear physically as normal as anyone else, although she is exceptionally keen of hearing. She also has a secret.

She is studying earnestly to be a witch. Miss Price had always had a talent when it came to magic but it took the flair of an enigmatic professor to give her spells the boost they needed.

As a witch Miss Price is in possession of several spells. Her main limitation has been her memory. This has caused her to write the words of her spells down so she wouldn’t have to recall them.

Miss Price also received a broom through the mail service and learned to ride it in short order.


Video

A vintage trailer for the movie, with an announcer and many of the key scenes of the movie.


History

During the 1940’s, constant bombing raids put England in a state of fear of Nazi invasion. Some children who had been orphaned by the war were gathered in the small town of Pepperinge Eye.

Anyone who had homes large enough to shelter these orphans must do so by law. Miss Price was forced to take in 3, though she complained that they must be sent elsewhere as soon as it was possible.

Miss Price was an apprentice witch who had always believed she had a natural talent for magic. So, when the war began she wanted to be of some help and decided to take courses by mail on witch-craft. She signed up with a Professor Emelius Browne of London and received her course materials (including a black cat) through the mail.

Eglantine Price (Angela Lansbury) on a patriotic flying broom

Miss Price never had complete control over her spells though she tried very hard. The orphans became a problem when they revealed to her they had spotted her flying on her broom at night.

The oldest, Charlie, attempted to blackmail her with this information but his younger brother and sister were not as devious. Miss Price needed to visit Professor Browne because his last letter stated the college was closing and she hadn’t finished the course.

However, after figuring out the transportation spell and finding the man. Professor Browne proved to be only an illusionist. He had no magical abilities at all.

He was a complete phony as was his College. A book he had bought turned out to be a book of spells, The Spells of Ashtoroth, and was actually ripped in two. Browne had one piece while the other man had the other. So, the words for the final spell were still missing.

The Portobello road

Professor Browne was enlisted to help find the other half of the book in exchange for Miss Price’s acceptance as his magician’s assistant. It was finally discovered in the hands of a miscreant called “The Bookman” who wanted her half for the same reason.

Surveying both halves the two discovered their answer. Legend told of some fantastic island ruled by animals. These had murdered Ashtoroth and took from him his magics along with the Star of Ashtoroth. The Star was a pendant that contained the words to the final spell.

These enchanted animals dressed and acted as people. (But, of course, there was no such island… or was there?).

Using her transportation spell, Miss Price and party were actually able to travel by magic to this island. The isle of Naboombu.

Eglantine Price (Angela Lansbury) and friends on a flying bed

The group was able to acquire the Star of Ashtoroth. It bore the 5 magic words to the final spell. They then returned home to Pepperinge Eye. However, they were defeated once again, as Miss Price guessed, they could not bring the star into our world and so, it had vanished.

Paul, the youngest, had been trying to explain to them since the return; he knew the magic words! Miss Price with Professor Browne’s helped animate a pair of shoes and caused them to dance using the final spell.

Everything seemed to be going so well. The question of Mr. Browne staying with Eglantine and her orphans was pressed, and he fled to the train station.

Let’s get medieval

Meanwhile, under the cover of night, an amphibious Nazi invasion was happening! The Nazis captured Miss Price and her children. They put them in an old museum which had a store of antique armor and medieval weapons.

They were joined by Professor Browne who had had a change of heart. Miss Price used her Substitutionary Locomotion spell again to cause the medieval armors and weapons to come to life!

The Nazi commander could hardly believe his eyes! A witch on a broomstick was leading hundreds of empty suits of armor against him and his forces. The Nazi invading force was repelled and Miss Price was finally able to help England in the war effort!

The Nazi force did destroy her workshop however, along with all of her written spells. Without them she gave up being a witch and settled into her life with Professor Browne and her 3 adopted children. Professor Browne joined the soldiers of the old home guard.


Description

Angela Lansbury. If you don’t know who that is… look at the pictures.


Personality

Miss Price is a positive and driven woman. She believes people should be “proper” and upright. She is quite patriotic and always follows the laws of God and country.

She’ll do whatever she can for her country and her neighbors. When she made the decision to accept her calling as a witch she committed herself to that goal and studiously did the class material sent to her.

Meals are also a precise duty in Miss Price’s home. She eats no fried foods and would be considered mediocre at best as a cook.

She is the picture of health because of her strict diet, although it’s not very popular with her adopted children. Miss Price is patient with children and quite a forgiving person.

When the opportunity came for her to have a family, again she was all for it and “up for the challenge”. Miss Price would do all she could to make a marriage work.


Quotes

Charlie: “Big place. Who else lives here ?”
Miss Price: “I live alone, it suits my purpose.”

Carrie: “What do you call your cat ?”
Miss Price: “I don’t believe in giving animals ridiculous names. I call him ’Cosmic Creepers’ because that’s the name he came with.”

(Charlie attempted to blackmail her. So, Miss Price turned him into a rabbit.)
Carrie: “Don’t let Charlie get hurt.”
Miss Price: “Don’t worry my spells don’t last very long. I’m just an apprentice witch you know.”

Charlie: “Now how is a big bed like that going to get out of this room with those little windows ?”
Miss Price: “I don’t know Charles, there’s a great many things about magic that I don’t know. We’ll just have to find out.”

Miss Price: [singing] “When you rush around in hopeless circles, searching everywhere for something true, you’re at the age of not believing, when all the make-believe is through.”

Professor Browne: “Madame, is this vehicle safe ?” (Speaking of the bed)
Miss Price: “Oh perfectly safe, a bit theatrical perhaps, but then most good spells are.”

Professor Browne: “What is Substitutiary Locomotion ?”
Miss Price: “Substitutiary Locomotion is the ancient and mystic art of causing objects to take on a life force of their own.”
Professor Browne: “Why are you so interested in that ?”
Miss Price: “Because I know that it can only *help* the war effort !”

“Mr. Browne, I have very important work to do.”

“I have always had a bit of a knack for witchcraft ; common spells and simple charms came naturally. So, when the war began, I conjured up a plan to do my bit in the national emergency. I enrolled in your college of correspondence and witchcraft and I slaved at every lesson as it came. But the spell I counted on is the lesson that is gone, it’s disappeared and you’re (Professor Browne) the one to blame.”

Miss Price: “Listen to me Mr. Browne.”
Professor Browne: “I’m all ears.”
Miss Price: “You will be if you don’t pay attention.”

“Come along children.”

“It’s alright Mr. Brown. I should have realized that it would be quite impossible to take an object from one world into another.”

(After a failed casting)
Miss Price: “Am I doing something wrong ?”
Professor Browne: “Well, to tell you the truth it does seem a bit old fashioned. After all, we are in the twentieth century.”
Miss Price: “What do you suggest?”
Professor Browne: “Well, it needs rhythm, tempo, music. As I always say ’do it with a flare‘.”

“I’m afraid you need a lesson in manners sergeant. If I only had my notebook, I’d make certain you learned a few.”

Children and Professor Browne (chanting): “Treguna Mekoides and Tracorum Satis Dee.”
Miss Price (Singing): “Substitutiary Locomotion. It’s the power that’s far beyond the wildest notion. It’s a weird so feared, yet wonderful to see. Substitutiary Locomotion come to me ! I don’t want locomotiary substitution or remote intrasitory convolution. Only one precise solution is the key. Substitutiary Locomotion it must be !”


DC Universe History

In WWII the Germans never made a ground assault on the United Kingdom, perhaps Miss Price had a hand in that.

Certainly if PCs needed transportation somewhere perhaps another dimension, Miss Price could be that contact that takes them there… with flair.


Harry Potter Universe History

Miss Price is obviously a Muggle-born witch whose parents didn’t allow her to go to Hogwarts.

But when the war came she wanted to do her part with the powers she knew she had, so she enrolled in some early version of the same Qwik-Spell course that Argus Filch enrolled in during Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Filch, of course, is a Squib, and the course does him no good, as it does not for Muggles. For a powerful Muggle-born like Miss Price, though, it was a different story.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Miss Price

A 319 points Character (without equipment or Rituals)

Dex: 03 Str: 02 Bod: 03 Motivation: Responsibility of Power
Int: 04 Wil: 04 Min: 05 Occupation: Apprentice Witch
Inf: 05 Aur: 05 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth}: 009
Init: 012 HP: 012

Powers:
Extended Hearing: 01

Skills:
Artist (Cooking): 02, Artist (Dancer, Singer): 05, Occultist (Occult Knowledge): 03, Occultist (Ritual Casting): 08

Bonuses and Limitations:
Miss Price may AP add her Artist skill (Dancer, Singer) to her Occultist skill (Ritual Casting) to aid in her Ritual Casting. (+1)

Advantages
Expertise (Ritual Casting – only spells she has practiced), Magic Background

Connections:
Soldiers of the Old Home Guard (Low)

Drawbacks:
Dependents (Carrie, Paul, and Charles Rawlins), Minor Physical Restriction (needs reading glasses to read), Minor Psychological Instability (Memory lapse)

Genre:
Mock-Real

Equipment:

  • MOTORCYCLE WITH SIDECAR [BODY 05 STR 03, Running: 06, R#5, Cost: 36] This contraption smells of sulphur and clanks and whirs as it runs, spewing forth an acrid cloud of yellow smoke. It does however have a sidecar allowing for a passenger (or many crammed passengers) to ride with her.
  • Flying Broomstick [BODY 03 STR 02, Flight (ML): 05, Skin Armor: 02, Cost: 50, Bonuses & Limitations: The command words “Lackipo nikrif scrumpet leech” must be said aloud to start up the broom’s flight power (-1). Skin Armor only vs. falls, recipient of Skin Armor must be holding the broom. (-1)]
  • Miss Price has a private workshop of sorts in her home. Inside she keeps all of her witchy-items. Newt’s eyes, wolvesbane, poisoned dragon’s liver, and the sort. She also has her many spells piled in an unsorted order on a writing desk.

Rituals:
Through Professor Browne’s correspondence course, Miss Price has amassed quite a lot of spells. Only three are used in the film and are presented below.

The Turn-a-Man-into-a-Rabbit Spell
Effect:
Transform: 08
Bonuses & Limitations: May only assume one specific form (white rabbit) (-4FC)
Casting time: 01
Components: Nothing
Special Restrictions: Words of the spell must be spoken aloud “Filigree apogee pedigree perigee” then the caster points at the intended target.
Comments: Miss Price does try to turn Charlie into a toad with this spell. She comments that she never can manage a toad. This leads me to believe the spell is actually more than only a man to rabbit spell but man to animal spell. This spell may also be cast on one’s self if cast through a mirror. It’s only done once in the film and is likely a power stunt instead of a bonus to this ritual.
Cost: 29

The Traveling Spell
Effect:
Flash: 01, (Self-Link) Spirit Travel: 12, Invisibility: 04, Dimension Travel (Travel Only): 12
Bonuses & Limitations: Flash only gives off steady pink to white illumination and only at the time of casting and during transport (-2). Self-linked Spirit Travel has Area Effect (+1) of 01 AP. In the case of the Bedknob those affected are everyone on the bed.
Casting time: 02
Components: Nothing
Special Restrictions: Any object that can be twisted. The words of the spell must be spoken aloud “Hellebore henbane aconite glowworm fire and firefly” the object that can turn begins to glow. Once the object is “primed” with the above casting, announce in a firm clear voice where you want to go, tap the object three times and give the object a quarter turn to the left.
Comments: In this film the object used was a bedknob but Miss Price mentions it could work on a ring or a bracelet just as well. Miss Price says the spell is attuned to Paul since he was the one who had the bedknob in his pocket. The spell will only work for him. Whether that is true was never tested. When the bedknob was re-attached to the bed it transported not only Paul but the bed and anyone on it.
Cost: 258

The Substitutiary Locomotion spell
Effect:
Animate Object: 12
Bonuses & Limitations: Has the Area Effect Bonus (+1). If this spell would fail by only one column shift it will still work but the objects will play a little mischief; kicking or punching those nearby even the caster. The items animated by this spell have a STR score equal to its Body and all have a Dex score of 04 APs as opposed to what is stated in the Animate Object power (+0). Within the area of effect even new objects that enter the area may become affected by the spell (GM’s discretion).
Casting time: 02
Components: Nothing
Special Restrictions: words of the spell must be spoken aloud “Treguna mekoides trecorum satis dee”.
Comments: This spell causes inanimate objects to take on a life force of its own.
Cost: 71

All-purpose cutoff spell (aka: Number 8) is the only other spell that is mentioned and it is apparently used to put a stop to the substitutionary locomotion spell. The casting was done off-screen.


Miss Price’s black cat “Cosmic Creepers”

Use standard house cat statistics except I’ll note that this cat does have an awareness at times almost on par with humans. It even shook its head in disagreement of a question put to it by Miss Price. Perhaps just a bit of her magic has affected her cat.

One more thing. This cat is extremely mangy looking with patches of fur matted or missing and even one ear completely folded over.

By Ethan Roe

Source of Character: The 1971 Walt Disney film Bedknobs and Broomsticks character played by Angela Lansbury.

Helper(s): imdb.com, wikipedia, I was able to use the Granny Weatherwax writeup for the transform spell. Pufnstuff, Chris Cottingham

Writeup completed on the 19th of August, 2013.

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