Wow! Wow, wow, wow.
I got part of the theme early on, in a sense. I came to 22A: Like many celebrity memoirs, and immediately thought of [GHOST]WRITTEN, but didn't see how it was going to fit into the space. Was there going to be a rebus? But even that wouldn't fit.
Later on, when I filled in 35A: Full of ghosts ... like four answers in this puzzle? (HAUNTED), I realized that, in fact, I had been correct about my earlier answer, and found the other three fairly quickly ([GHOST]TOWNS, [GHOST]BUSTERS, and [GHOST]STORY). Still I didn't see the true beauty of the theme.
Because in fact, the ghostly nature of each answer is that you need to ignore their letters to answer the down answers that cross them. It is truly a "ghost" WRITTEN: it's not there.
Or is it? Because in addition to the above, each crossing answer becomes a new genuine word with the addition of the ghostly letter. "Courier" becomes COURTIER. "Holland" becomes HOLYLAND (my personal favorite). "Alums" becomes ALBUMS. Holy cow, that's some serious work going on there.
Sure, there are a few swings and misses: MINTER I did not want to put in. I was going to complain about ISWEAR but I just now realized that I was parsing it as "is wear" rather than "I swear"... very nice. I did not love "Reginal" as a root word, but transitioning it to REGIONAL is lovely.
There are a ton of 3-letter words in the middle of the puzzle, but I didn't mind. LEANONME and TELETHON were two nice additions. Also, the center N and center S each have a triple stack of 7-letter answers that are impressive considering how much they interact with the theme answers.
Whew. I'm exhausted just thinking about the work that went into this. Beautiful work.
Oh, yeah. 1A: Blu-ray ancestor (VCR) - I guess. I wanted DVD, which is more correctly an ancestor of Blu-ray. I give it a C-. My first confident answer (and there were many flails before this one) was FINI at 26A.