Monday, November 3, 2014

Mr. Chicken and a Cast of Characters

My Halloween night viewing of The Ghost and Mr. Chicken was like attending a convention of 1960s character actors. Aside from star Don Knotts, no shabby character man himself, I spotted within the course of 90 minutes such instantly recognizable faces as Reta Shaw (The Ghost and Mrs. Muir), playing the chairwoman of an occult society, Sandra Gould (Bewitched) as one of the members, Hope Summers (The Andy Griffith Show) as the hysterical witness to a supposed murder, and Hal Smith (also The Andy Griffith Show) as the victim who didn't stay dead long.
Charles Lane questions Ellen Corby, as George Chandler looks on.
In the courtroom scene alone was a plethora of beloved actors. The judge was George Chandler (Lassie, Ichabod and Me), the bailiff was Cliff Norton (It's About Time), the witness was Ellen Corby (The Waltons), and the prosecuting attorney was Charles Lane, who was in -- well, pretty much everything. Want more? Among the courtoom spectators were Lurene Tuttle, Jesslyn Fax, Nydia Westman, and plaintiff Phil Ober. Elsewhere in the film I spotted J. Edward McKinley, Dick Wilson, Hope Summers, Herbie Faye...

Kind of made me wonder who played all the character roles on TV while this film was in production. To be honest, I didn't find the movie as funny as I did when I first saw it some years ago. But it would be hard to find one that better illustrates the color and interest that good character players can bring to the table.

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