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The Reluctant Astronaut (1967)

Approved | | Comedy, Family, Sci-Fi | 15 April 1968 (Denmark)
Don Knotts is Roy Fleming, a small town kiddie-ride operator who is deathly afraid of heights. After learning that his father has signed him up for the space program, Roy reluctantly heads ... See full summary »


(as Edward J. Montagne)


(as Jim Fritzell),

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1 nomination. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Blonde in Bar
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Robert Pickering ...


Don Knotts is Roy Fleming, a small town kiddie-ride operator who is deathly afraid of heights. After learning that his father has signed him up for the space program, Roy reluctantly heads for Houston, only to find out upon arriving that his job is a janitor, not an astronaut. Anxious to live up to the expectations of his domineering father, Roy manages to keep up a facade of being an astronaut to his family and friends. When NASA decides to launch a lay person into space to prove the worthiness of a new automated spacecraft, Roy gets the chance to confront his fears. Written by Teresa E Tutt <tuttt@rpi.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Boldly going where no coward has gone before. See more »


Comedy | Family | Sci-Fi


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

15 April 1968 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

Botcsinálta űrhajós  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


While the film makes a big deal about the United States launching the first person into space with no military experience, the feat had already been done, in real life, by the Russians. Not only was she the first woman in space, but Valentina Tereshkova was the first person with no military experience, and only person until the 1980s. See more »


When where Roy (Don Knotts) accidentally opens the door to the centrifuge and is subject to high winds pushing him down the hall, you can clearly see 2 shirts and a pair of boxer shorts are attached to a single wire and quickly pulled down the hall. See more »


Rush: [reading sign next to mock up] "Representation of Lunar Surface"
Buck Fleming: This here, is what your moon looks like.
Rush: Oh...
Plank: [steps up onto mock up] Take a picture of me standin' on the moon!
Rush: Aw, that ain't really the moon!
Plank: We don't have to tell anybody.
See more »


Featured in Ironside: Five Miles High (1969) See more »


Space Song
Music by Joseph Gershenson
Lyrics by James Fritzell and Everett Greenbaum
See more »

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User Reviews

One for the Late-Nite Stoner Brigade
1 May 2011 | by (Aulendorf) – See all my reviews

Alan Rafkin (1928-2001, who mostly directed television shows and was nominated for four Emmies and won one in 1982) directed his last bit-screen film with "The Reluctant Astronaut" in 1971. Taking place in a small fictional town, a bungling city accountant, Hollis Alexander Figg (Don Knotts), becomes the unwitting patsy of the town's mayor (Mayor Chisholm played by Edward Andrews), the town's wealthiet man (Old Charley Spaulding played by Parker Fennelly) as well as several other high-ranking city officials who have been embezzling the town's money. To prevent from being caught, the embezzlers fire all of the town's accountants, except for Hollis so that he can operate their newly purchased (but used), room-filling computer known as LEO. While demonstrating the computer to his friend Prentiss Gates (Frank Welker), Hollis stumbles upon a questionable city contract that Prentiss (who works for the city's sanitation department) has in his waste collection cart. To keep Hollis from finding any other questionable financial statements, Mayor Chisholm appoints Hollis to be a commissioner with his own private secretary, Glorianna Hastings (Yvonne Craig, who is better known as Batgirl/Barbara Gordon in the 1966-1968 TV series "Batman") to the chagrin Hollis' girlfriend, Ema Letha Kusic (Elaine Joyce), who works as a diner waitress. Hollis remains oblivious to being used until Old Charley Spaulding is ready to lower the boom upon him and is forced to find a way to prove his innocence. "How To Frame A Figg" isn't known as well as some of his previous films ("The Incredible Mr. Limpet" in 1964, "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken" in 1966, etc.) due to its somewhat weak plot, but it's still a very funny film that can entertain both children and adults alike. Memorable scenes in the film include Hollis' fingers getting stuck in a bowling ball, Old Charlie Spaulding using his cane in city hall meetings, the ketchup scene at the diner, the garbage truck delivery, and the search for extension cords. Overall, I rate "The Reluctant Astronaut" with 4 out of 5 stars. Other memorable characters in the film include Kermit Sanderson (Joe Flynn, 1925-1995), Commissioner Henderson (Bill Zuckert, 1915-1979) and Dr. Schmidt (Pitt Herbert, 1902-1980).

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