Though I do get a few complaints that it’s “too comedic” and “not a horror movie”- tonight’s film on MeTV remains one of the most-requested in our library- as a night in a supposedly haunted house brings lots of troubles- not all of a supernatural nature- to a would-be newshound- and brings plenty of laughs to all of us- it’s “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken”!
From the get-go, we meet a newspaper type-setter who yearns to be a reporter -Luther Heggs ! He thinks he’s stumbled on a murder- a scoop he’s sure will rock the town- but things aren’t what he thinks they are, and earn him the derision of the local folk, especially one of the newspaper’s actual star reporters, Ollie- who, unfortunately, is dating the beautiful and kind girl of Luther’s dreams, Alma. Soon after the incident, the paper needs a filler item – and the job of writing it falls to Luther. He’s prodded to make the article about one of the town’s most mysterious and infamous murder/suicides- and throws in the much-circulated story that the location of the horrible deeds- a local mansion- is haunted by the ghost of the killer- who reportedly plays a pipe organ on the premises late at night!
Luther’s boss finds the filler a great hook for a publicity stunt for the paper- and decides that Luther, on the 20th anniversary of the murder, should spend the night in the allegedly haunted house ! Luther isn’t so sure about that- but, goaded on by his detractors, and feeling this may be his big break as a reporter- not to mention being a way to impress Alma- decides to follow through on the assignment- and spends a terrifying night in the mansion,finding secret passages, unexplained phenomena- and witnessing the ghostly late-night organ recital of legend!
His story goes over big- and the townsfolk hail him as a true hero and hard-hitting journalist- but his triumph hits a snag, when the last family member of the murder victims, who still owns the mansion, takes exception to the story- proclaiming it all a fabrication- and intends to make good on his threat to sue the newspaper- and Luther- for libel! Will Luther be forced to make a retraction- and again face the town’s disdain? Or- will he stick by what he sees as the truth, face possible embarrassment in the courtroom, and lead a final frightening visit to the haunted house to prove his story and clear his name?
This 1966 horror-comedy benefits from the lead role being filled by “Barney Fife” himself- the great comedic actor Don Knotts. His supporting cast includes a great many familiar faces from TV shows and commercials- and even some citizens of Mayberry! We’ll point them out, and entertain you further with the Sven segments of the show, including a new song. A word of warning that we’ve mentioned before- if you haven’t seen this film before, you will want to avoid studying one of the posters for this film too carefully- because it actually gives away an important plot element! (What was their publicity department thinking?!)
“The Ghost and Mr. Chicken” haunts MeTV tonight at 8 pm eastern/pacific, 9 central, and, if you’re not sure what time and channel we’re on where you are- just go to www.metv.com, or check your local listings. Chicago area viewers again get to experience the highway horror of Steven Speilberg’s “Duel” at 11am on WCIU, the U.
It’s a busy day for me- I’ll be making an appearance at Chicago’s famed Fantasy Costumes from 4 to 6 pm, then, heading over to the Logan Arcade for C2E2’s Monster Bash- for the 7 pm Svengoolie cosplay contest- someone who does a great job of looking like me could win those valuable passes to the next C2E2 convention (you’ll find more info under “appearances” here on our website). Two things: you have to rsvp at the C2E2 website- and- due to time constraints, this time I will not be able to sign autographs or pose for photos- don’t worry, there will be more chances coming up to do that- which, coincidentally, I will be discussing, along with other scary things, with my pal Dave Plier very late tonight (or early Sunday morning) on WGN radio -720 AM- a little after he hits the air after 2 am central time. ( You can watch Red-Eye Sci Fi on MeTV while listening!)
Also, I’m very proud to be featured in New York’s Newsday newspaper this weekend- if you can’t get hold of a print copy, just click on this link-
Whatever you do- don’t chicken out- join us tonight for haunted house hilarity with Don Knotts on MeTV!