Dare you deny the power and majesty of the great Don Knotts? Then you are DEAD TO ME.
My love of The Ghost and Mr. Chicken is directly related to my love of the early Andy Griffith Show (which, as you should know, also co-starred Don Knotts as ONE OF THE GREATEST COMIC CHARACTERS OF ALL TIME, Barney Fife).There’s no leading “voice of reason” character here. Don Knotts’ character Luther Heggs is an oddball by any measure. (By contrast, The Andy Griffith Show quickly changed Andy’s character from a well-meaning and “smarter than he seems” yet comical lead to a stick in the mud. As with all things in life, I blame Helen Crump.) And the lineage to Knotts’ former show isn’t just limited to his presence. It was directed by frequent Andy Griffith director Alan Rafkin and co-written by series writers Jim Fritzell and Everett Greenbaum. It’s got several of the series’ regulars co-starring. Andy even suggested the premise of the movie, assisted in a screenplay re-write and suggested that an offscreen voice yelling “Attaboy, Luther!” be one of the film’s running gags. It feels like a feature-length version of that episode of Andy Griffith where Andy, Gomer and Barney try to get Opie’s baseball out of the old haunted Rimshaw house.
It’s got great music from Vic Mizzy (The Addams Family, Green Acres, The Reluctant Astronaut), the Munsters’ house, spooky shenanigans, small town goofballery and one of Don Knotts’ best performances.
Oh, and hell, here’s the whole damned movie. You can thank me later.