‘The Andy Griffith Show’: One of Don Knotts’ Biggest Movie Roles Was Inspired by the Iconic Series

by Clayton Edwards

“The Andy Griffith Show” is an important part of television history. It introduced the world to some great talent. Ron Howard, Don Knotts, and Andy Griffith all got a huge career boost from the show. In fact, Don Knotts got such a big boost from the show that he was able to transition into a successful film career after leaving the show.

More accurately, Don Knotts left the show to start his film career. They originally planned to run the show for five seasons and call it quits. So, after the fifth season, Knotts signed a multi-film deal with Universal Pictures. So, when Andy Griffith buckled under studio pressure to run the show for a few more years, Knotts couldn’t return due to his contract.

However, “The Andy Griffith Show,” would play a large part in his film career. In fact, an episode of the show inspired one of his best feature films, according to “Do You Remember.”

‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Inspires One of Don Knotts’ Biggest Roles

The film in question is “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken,” a comedy-horror released in 1966. In the film, Don Knotts plays Luther Heggs. a typesetter for the local newspaper. He has aspirations of becoming a full-time reporter. These aspirations lead him to stay a night in The Simmons Mansion, his town’s haunted house.

According to local legend, the house was the site of a murder-suicide. Mr. Simmons reportedly killed his wife before jumping to his death from the home’s organ loft. Heggs has to spend the night in the house on the anniversary of the infamous murder-suicide. Check out the trailer for some of the hilarious ghostly action.

The zany comedy was inspired by the episode “The Haunted House.” It was the second episode of the fourth season of “The Andy Griffith Show.”

In the episode, Opie and his pal are playing baseball and Opie hits the ball through the window of the Old Renshaw Place. This old manor is said to be haunted. So, when the boys hear strange noises coming from inside the house, they go tell Andy about it.

Andy then sends Barney and Gomer to check out the house and retrieve the ball. However, it doesn’t take them long to get scared off. In the end, Andy has to escort Barney and Gomer back to the house to get the ball and figure out what’s going on.

If you find the episode online, you can see Don Knots being hilariously terrified by every creak and movement in the old house. He revises that performance for “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken.” In fact, Luther Heggs is very similar to Barney Fife.

Don Knotts was consistently funny. Whether he’s playing Mayberry’s stalwart deputy or, as the trailer says, “The world’s bravest coward,” his delivery, timing, and physical comedy skills are unparalleled.