Film & Water Presents: Turn It Off with Tracy #23



By popular request, Rob and Tracy take in not one, but two horror/mystery themed Don Knotts comedies! First up is the 1966 classic THE GHOST AND MR. CHICKEN, followed by 1981’s THE PRIVATE EYES, also starring Tim Conway! Attaboy, Don!

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24 responses to “Film & Water Presents: Turn It Off with Tracy #23

  1. Fun show! I watched “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken” for the first time as an adult a few years back, and I was kind of surprised how “light” it was on scares. I still enjoy it, despite this. Knotts went “bigger” in his films it seems, maybe due to what was expected of comedy films at the time. His best work was on The Andy Griffith Show where he won several Emmys, even for his return guest spots after he left the series for these films! Knotts’ Barney Fife was a surprisingly nuanced character who often got exasperated, but his most humorous moments were often more subtle.

    I haven’t seen the “Private Eyes” since I was a kid. I remember wanting to rent it with some friends a few years later, and they balked at it, so we rented some gore fest instead. Movies like this, and shows like The Munsters and Scooby-Doo are no doubt the reason The Haunted Mansion is my favorite ride at Disney World, and a mini-obsession of mine.

    I have passed Biltmore several times on my way to family vacations, but never stopped for a tour. I need to rewatch the movie and do this next time!

    For a chaser, I will suggest again the Andy Griffith episode “The Haunted House”, that inspired “Mr. Chicken. You get Knotts, Griffith, plus young Ron Howard and Jim Nabors! Oh, and Otis the town drunk! And I think it’s spookier overall.


  2. It was terrible, yet I loved Private Eyes as a child. I’m sure it’s a terrible movie, but “Don’t throw her into the moat / Or else her bosoms will float” remains one of the greatest worst comedic bits I’ve ever seen. That’s a Conway bit, I bet.

    Mr Chicken is just dull as balls.

          1. After season 3, CFranks calls into the show for its final minute before being replaced by his wackier cousin.

  3. I saw The Ghost and Mr. Chicken for the first time just a few months ago. I agree that it is enjoyable for what it is, but it’s definitely more comedy than horror. If you get MeTV, I believe you can watch The Ghost and Mr. Chicken on Svengoolie tomorrow, July 14, at 8E/7C.

    I’m not a big Don Knotts fan, but I do love Tim Conway, and I do enjoy when the two of them team up together. I have fond memories of watching The Apple Dumpling Gang movies as a kid. So, I may have to check out The Private Eyes for old times sake.

    Just out of curiosity, I’d be interested to hear if people have suggestions about comedy/horror movies that strike a better balance between the two genres?

    Thanks for another great episode.

    1. I watched The Ghost and Mr. Chicken last Saturday night with my daughter, and she found the movie both scary and laugh out loud funny. In particular, she was curled up in the fetal position on our couch for most of Luther’s night alone in the mansion, but only closed her eyes and refused to watch when he went into the organ loft. I think that was because she didn’t want to see the blood on the organ keys.

      Overall, I think she enjoyed her first foray into the horror movie genre.

  4. Another team up that Knots and Conway did before Private Eyes was The Prize Fighter. Enjoyed as a kid but I’m sure it does not hold up now. Even after I saw Private Eyes as I kid, I remember thinking that PE was a better movie than Prize Fighter.
    I would be curious if Piranha (1979) would entertaining enough for both of you all. Gory and funny but not scary.

  5. Watched The Ghost and Mr. Chicken on Svengoolie Saturday night as Brian Linton suggested above. I forgot that several Mayberry citizens had roles in the film, including Aunt Bea’s friend Clara as the woman who witnessed “the murder” at the beginning of the film, and Otis himself as the drunk who gets taken out by the board. Now THAT’S typecasting!


  6. Don Knotts was a guest on a local radio show years ago (The Don & Mike Show, for those curious) and he mentioned being The Ghost and Mr. Chicken as one of his favorite film projects.

  7. I have nothing insightful to add. I have no knowledge of Don Knotts or Tim Conway beyond the usual (Andy Griffith Show and Carol Burnett Show). Also, I have never seen either of these movies.

    What I can add is that I continue to find these episodes with Tracy completely adorable. And I really want Tracy to message me with her secret nickname for Rob. It’s killing me.

    Oh yeah, Rob mentioned Dorf. LOL!!! Bwah-ha-ha!!!

  8. So, I’m a little bit late with this, but to celebrate your 1st podcasting Anniversary (and Tracy’s bravery!), I’ve compiled the “Turn it Off with Tracy” Spreadsheet of Terror, collecting all the movies watched, pause & turn off times, % of the movie watched, some memorable quotes from both Rob and Tracy and other data.

    I’ll keep this updated as new shows come out, but hopefully this will be a useful and entertaining reminder of what has gone before…

      1. I hope ‘Totally Insane” means ‘Crazy Good’ and not ‘You’re Clinically Certifiable’! ;o)

        The movie that nearly killed it off was ‘Creepshow’ – trying to capture information about all five (or is it six?) of those stories was really hard!

        Speaking of portmanteau / anthology Horror movies, did you know about the British movie “Ghost Stories”, released earlier this year? ( Although a few of the actors are well known for being in British TV comedy series, I found it to be really creepy (But I’m a big Horror Film wuss!).

        Don’t know if it’s available in the US, though, but might be one to watch out for.

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