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Luther Heggs aspires to being a reporter for his small town newspaper, the Rachel Courier Express. He gets his big break when the editor asks him to spend the night at the Simmons mansion that, 20 years before, was the site of a now famous murder-suicide. The case has aroused local interest not only because of the anniversary but due to the fact that the family heir, Nick Simmons, has returned to Rachel aiming to tear the mansion down. Luther's account of his wild, ghost-ridden night in the house leads Simmons to sue for libel, but with the aid of his friend Kelsey they determine what exactly happened that night long ago and the identity of the real killer. Written by
This was Don Knotts' first movie vehicle after he left "Andy Griffith". His character, Luther Heggs, is simply Barney Fife transplanted from Mayberry, North Carolina to Laurel, Kansas. The same gentle but slightly quirky small town residents and Heggs/Fife bumbling along and solving one of the town's mysteries. Knotts even wears the same salt and pepper suit with white fedora that he wore on "Andy Griffith".
This is still a fun movie to watch though. Knotts does his "nervous man" schtick all the way through. His stage-fright speech at the town picnic is great ("let me clarify this")and there are two recurring joke lines, "and they used Bon Ami!" and "atta boy, Luther" which keep being said and which will crack you up every time.
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