The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (1966)
Director: Alan Rafkin
Screenplay by: James Fritzell, Everett Greenbaum and Andy Griffith (uncredited)
Starring: Don Knotts, Joan Staley, Liam Redmond, Dick Sargent, Skip Homeier, Reta Shaw and Charles Lane
Tagline: G-G-GUARANTEED! YOU’LL BE SCARED UNTIL YOU LAUGH YOURSELF SILLY!
The Overview: Beware of spoilers…
Luther Heggs (Knotts) is a typesetter for the local newspaper. He dreams of being a reporter. Luther also dreams of having Alma Parker (Staley) as his girl. Unfortunately Luther becomes an easy target for jokes when his reports of a murder turn out to be just a drunk knocked unconscious by his wife. Ollie Weaver (Homeier) a reporter for the newspaper is especially cruel to Luther and to make matters worse, Ollie is dating Alma!
Luther gets a chance at redemption when his boss assigns him a story — Luther will spend the night in a haunted house where a brutal murder occurred years ago. Despite his fears, Luther spends the night. Strange things happen that could lead to solving the murder mystery… if anyone will believe Luther!
Don Knotts starring in The Ghost and Mr. Chicken is a natural. Knotts was built to play Luther. Luther’s dream girl, Alma was played by Joan Staley and she was also built — she was a Playboy playmate of the month! Fans of The Andy Griffith Show will recognize the similarities between The Ghost and Mr. Chicken and an episode of the tv show. It was Andy Griffith who suggested that the episode would make a great feature film starring Knotts if the idea was expanded for a new character. Knotts recruited James Fritzell and Everett Greenbaum, writers on The Andy Griffith Show to come up with a screenplay. Knotts also suggested Alan Rafkin (who directed several episodes of the tv show) to helm the feature. There are also cast members in the movie who appeared on the tv series.
The Ghost and Mr. Chicken rates 4 of 5 stars (and higher if you’re a kid).