Adam Maitland is the main protagonist in Beetlejuice. He was played by Adam Baldwin.
Adam Maitland is a polite male, who wants to get along with everyone and be in peace. Being a quite man, his hobby was creating realistic sculptures (especially for his model of his hometown) before he and his wife Barbara died in a car accident after a short trip into town to get supplies for the day's projects. When he finds himself a ghost and his house sold, he finds the new owners do not share his aesthetic. Abstract artwork of Delia Deetz, which ruins the simple, tranquil sensation of their now haunted Victorian home. He and his wife worked very hard on redecorating their house, and he decides that, as ghosts, his and Barbara's opportunity to scare the Deetz family out of the house is their best chance to restore the house to its original beauty where he and Barbara may spend their afterlife together in peace.
Adam Maitland married Barbara Maitland and they moved into a large house in a small town called Winter River, Connecticut. Adam spends most of his time in the attic working on a giant model of the town. One morning, the couple was driving home from their hardware store when Barbara swerved to avoid hitting a dog, causing them to crash into a bridge and over into the water where they drowned.
Adam and Barbara make it back home without realizing that they are dead. Adam notices something is off, realizing he can’t recall getting out of the water, and heads back to the bridge to retrace his steps. But as soon as he steps of the porch, he finds himself in a sandy desert planet with a monster looming. Barbara pulls him back onto the porch before the monster can devour him and states he’s been gone for two hours, and, in the time that he was gone, she’s noticed they don’t appear in the mirror. She also points out a handbook on the table with the title: Handbook for the Recently Deceased, and they realize they didn‘t survive the crash.
Later, the couple are in the bedroom and Adam is sitting on the bed trying to read the handbook. Despite all the questions Barbara asks, Adam is unable to understand anything, stating it reads like stereo instructions. Adam spends the next few days working on his town model, while Barbara attempts to clean. When Barbara’s cousin, Jane, drives up to the house, Adam tries to get her attention, but Barbara points out that the handbook says the living can’t see the dead. Adam says that since they’re dead, they shouldn’t have much to worry about.
Some time later, Adam and Barbara wake up to a loud noise and notice a family has moved into their house. Charles Deetz, his wife Delia, and daughter Lydia. Adam and Barbara attempt to scare them away by Adam cutting off his head to look like a headless corpse, but while Delia and her interior designer, Otho are looking around the house, they can’t see them. Adam notices that they are headed to the attic, and Adam locks it quickly so they can’t get in. Adam returns to Barbara and puts his head back on. Barbara doesn’t approve of the changes the Deetz’ are making to the house and tries to leave. Adam follows her and they both end up on the desert planet as soon as the step off the porch. Adam frantically searches for Barbara and when he finds her, they are confronted by a giant sandworm, and they retreat back into the house, realizing they are trapped.
The Maitland‘s keep the attic locked and take refuge in it. When Adam is flipping through the handbook, a flyer falls out for Betelguese, the bio-exorsist, but no way to contact him. Barbara is looking out the window and noticing Lydia noticing them, but Adam denies this. Lydia is given a skeleton key and tries to enter the attic, but Adam and Barbara holds the door. A commercial appears on the television for Betelguese, saying he can get rid of people living in your house. Adam realizes they need helps, and reverts to the handbook for emergencies. Following the instructions, he draws a door with chalk on the attic wall and knocks three times. The wall turns into a passageway and Adam and Barbara enter, giving Lydia a chance to unlock the attic door.
- Would've summoned Beetlejuice as soon as he got the flyer, but since the bio-exorcist used the ancient astrology spelling of his name, Adam (luckily) mispronounced it as "BEET-all-geyse".
- Was the first to point out that The Handbook For The Recently Deceased is written like stereo instructions!
- Misread the title of the book upon first glance, calling it the Handbook For The Recently Diseased.
- He and Barbara never appeared in the animated series.