Interesting Ideas

The genius of Don Knotts: His Movies

  • The Incredible Mr. Limpett (1964) In his on-screen minutes as a human, Knotts defines the character developed through the rest of his movies: the oblivious, nerve-ridden milque-toast vulnerable to fate's every twist and turn. With Jack Weston and top Hollywood gruff guy Andrew Duggan. Directed by Arthur Lubin, whose credits include The First Traveling Saleslady and the entire Mr. Ed series.
  • The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (1966) Seeing this alone as a kid, I was so scared I moved to a crowded part of the theater. Stellar music was by Vic Mizzy, creator of the Adams Family and Green Acres themes.
  • The Reluctant Astronaut Reluctant 2/96K GIF (1967) Knotts runs a kiddie space ride and is mistaken for an astronaut. The weightless peanut butter scene is classic: He flails with a tube of the stuff and the PB floats off into the capsule and apparatus. Co-stars include Leslie Nielsen and Jesse White.

  • The Shakiest Gun in the West (1968) Knotts remakes Bob Hope and as usual is pushed into a sort of manliness. Almost a real Western.
  • The Love God? (1969) More music by Vic Mizzy. With Anne Francis. This is the last film by Nat Hiken, who created Sgt. Bilko. A picket line features signs bearing such typical '60s legends as "Modern mothers for obscenity" and "Lovers for four-letter words."
  • How to Frame a Figg (1971) Knotts' ultimate masochistic comedy. He plays officious, obnoxious Hollis A. Figg, a municipal underling and the fall guy for a grafting city council--disastrously for the council, of course. The press book for this romp compares Knotts to Charles Chaplin, and Figg drives a Fury. The cast includes the omnipresent Edward Andrews and McHale's Navy's Joe Flynn and Bob Hastings. The music is once more by Mizzy. Knotts co-wrote the story.

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