The Andy Griffith Show normally shows a sunny disposition for the town of Mayberry. However, ghosts and goblins rolled in from time to time. One episode, in particular, delivered the spooky goods to Sheriff Andy Taylor and company. It even inspired a horror-comedy film starring a denizen of Mayberry.
Mayberry gets a taste of Halloween, and The Andy Griffith Show delivers one of its finest episodes centered around this spooky holiday. In “The Haunted House,” Opie accidentally hurls his baseball through the window of a long-abandoned house and becomes too frightened to retrieve it. Eventually, Andy, Barney, and Gomer muster the courage to venture into the eerie dwelling, uncovering a plethora of spine-chilling occurrences.
Originally airing Oct 7, 1963, “The Haunted House” is a delightful blend of comedy and horror. From cobwebs to moving eyeballs in paintings, and even floating hatchets, it offers a playful taste of spookiness. Watching Gomer and Barney in particular stumble through the scares is a perfectly wholesome seasonal treat.
How the ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Episode Inspired a Don Knotts Film
It seems seeing Don Knotts face off against a haunted house on The Andy Griffith Show left quite an impression. The Knotts film vehicle The Ghost and Mr. Chicken was released just three years after “The Haunted House.” Jim Fritzell and Everett Greenbaum co-wrote the film, with some assistance and inspiration from Harvey Bullock, a fellow writer from the Andy Griffith series. Perhaps not so coincidentally, Bullock notably penned “The Haunted House”.
Of course, that’s not all that The Ghost and Mr. Chicken borrows from The Andy Griffith Show. The film captures the undeniable charm of Mayberry, with beloved actors from the show making memorable appearances. Notable cameos include Hal Smith, Reta Shaw, Charles Lane, and Lurene Tuttle.
Knotts plays, Luther Heggs, a shy typesetter at the Rachel Courier Express. Luther dreams of becoming a reporter in his small town in Kansas. Luther’s boss and a reporter at the paper come up with the idea of having him spend the night in the old Simmons mansion, where a tragic murder-suicide occurred years ago. As the story of Luther’s night in the murder house gets published in the small town newspaper on the 20th anniversary of the event, it creates quite a stir. Co-starring Joan Staley as Luther’s love interest Alma Parker. Like in the Andy Griffith Show episode, Knotts must explore a haunted house. This time, alone…
Nicholas Simmons, portrayed by Philip Ober, is unhappy with the supernatural media’s focus on his family’s house. He takes legal action against Luther and the newspaper. Meanwhile, Luther’s terrified sprint through the house and his frantic hyperventilation in response to the organ music highlight Don Knotts’ exceptional talent. “That a boy Luther’!
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