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Something More Light-Hearted: ‘Ghost and Mr. Chicken” Tonight

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The terrible massacre in Aurora, Colorado, left us sad, angry, and upset at how our modern world can be far scarier than any horror film- and even more senseless than some of our b- movies, but in a tragic way. Let’s all keep sending our thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families. In view of the real-life tragedy that now will always be an undercurrent of a movie so many anticipated with such excitement, and now is attached to an inhuman act, I am glad that tonight’s Sven flick, though scheduled well in advance, is something more silly and light hearted. Perhaps our feature tonight- “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken” – can take us back to a time where the world was a safer, maybe saner place. The movie, of course, stars the beloved comedian Don Knotts- whose role as Deputy Barney Fife on the “Andy Griffith Show” made him a TV icon- and he brings all of Barney’s false bravado, jittery nerves, and big heart to his character of Luther Heggs. Luther is a small town newspaper type-setter who yearns to be a full-fledged reporter- a real news hawk. An arrogant journalist at the newspaper loves to harass and make fun of him, but Luther still wants to have that press pass in his fedora. After mistakenly reporting what he thought was a murder-only to face more derision, and frustrate his tolerant boss- he writes a filler article for the paper about a murder-suicide that is legendary in town. This finally draws some attention to him-and, when it turns out it is the anniversary of the grisly event, he ends up assigned to write about its reputation as a haunted house, where ghostly events take place. He is pushed into spending the night in the eerie old place, which its owner, the son of the alleged murderer, is planning to have bulldozed! He’s pretty leery about a sleep-over in the spooky old house, but, after encouragement from a pretty local woman named Alma- who is also the object of his arrogant co-worker’s affection- he decides to go through with it… and has a frightening night, with events occurring that seem truly supernatural! Surviving the night to tell his story, Luther becomes a home-town hero- until the nasty owner of the house demands he retract his news report- or face a lawsuit against himself and the newspaper! Unless Luther can prove he has indeed witnessed the supernatural- he will be ruined! Don Knotts plays his part to perfection! He also has a lot of familiar TV faces as his co-stars- we’ll point many of them out to you, though I’m sure you’ll know most of them! We’ll tell you about a TV show -supposedly a female version of a popular program-the attractive Joan Staley, who plays his love interest, was a part of- and, you’ll be surprised by who the wife of the actor who plays the nasty haunted house owner was! Look for the Munster house right near the “haunted” one-in the show, I mistakenly say the haunted house WAS the Munster house, and a knowledgeable viewer has corrected me since then! Also, listen for the now legendary comic cry of “Atta boy, Luther!” Join us for the fun tonight on Me-TV at 10 pm eastern/9 pm central/ 1 am on KOFY (and check local listings around the country ). In Chicago, toady you can get one more look at “Francis in the Haunted House” on WCIU- the U- at 11 am- and, on U TOO at 3 pm- “Superbeast”. A quick reminder- I’m at Horrorbles on Roosevelt Road in BERWYN tomorrow from 1 to 3 pm, helping sign the “Haunting Tales of Horrorbles” comic book with its creators! Check out our “appearances” tab for more info.