Today is one that is close to our hearts here at the Hotel Thompson. Today, we focus on one of the all time greatest movies, “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken”. What, you don’t believe me when I say it’s scary? Let’s discuss shall we. What is a hero – snorts.
This movie came out in 1966 and starred Don Knotts as Luther Heggs. It starts off with Luther driving down the street and hearing screams of, “Murder, murder” from a neighbor. He takes pictures, gets the story from the neighbor and then goes to the local police station to report the crime. While he’s reporting the crime, who walks in but the local ‘victim’. The town thinks he’s a laughing joke. And to top everything off, the full time writer for the paper, Ollie Weaver, lives in the same boarding house as he does and tells everyone over breakfast the next morning about what Luther did the night before. This is also the time that you get to meet Ollie’s girlfriend, Alma Parker, who Luther has a secret crush with.
Poor Luther. He works as a newspaper typesetter and wants to be a reporter so bad. The staff of the newspaper want to increase sales and sees an opportunity for Luther to help out…even if it’s a joke Ollie challenges Luther to spend the night in the local haunted Simmons mansion on the 20th anniversary of the murders that took place in the home. The story was that Mr. Simmons murdered his wife and then jumped to his death from the organ loft of the home. Legend says that you can still hear the ghost of Mr. Simmons still playing the organ at night, a haunting macabre tune. Luther takes the bait and accepts the challenge of staying in the haunted house all by himself.
So the night comes and Luther goes into the haunted Simmons mansion. He looks around and you visibly see that he’s scared by his shaking. He settles down on the sofa in his sleeping bag for the night. At midnight, it starts. Luther hears the old organ begin to play from the loft. He goes up to the loft area and sees the organ playing the haunting melody by itself. He runs down the stairs and sees the painting of Mrs Simmons on the wall with hedge clippers sticking in it and ‘blood’ like material dripping out of it. The newspaper starts flying off the shelves of Luther’s story of his night in the haunted Simmons mansion. So much so that Nicholas Simmons (the nephew of the deceased couple) sues Luther for libel. When it goes to court, the judge orders the courtroom to the Simmons mansion at midnight to prove Luther’s story. Nothing happens and Luther looks like a fool.
Everyone leaves the house except for Luther who is moping around feeling sorry for himself. Soon after, the organ begins to play the haunting macabre tune from the loft area again. Luther runs upstairs and behold he sees Mr. Kelsey (who is the newspaper janitor) playing the old organ.
Mr. Kelsey and Luther talk about what happened and guess what? They confront Nicholas Simmons and we learn that he was the one that killed his aunt and uncle and have been trying to cover the story all of these years. How did he get away with the murders you ask? There was a secret passage from the study up to the organ loft that had been his alibi. Mr. Kelsey knew the secret and wanted Luther to be the one to open the case wide open. Just by luck, Luther knocks out Nicholas Simmons with a body slam and becomes the local hero.
And yes. Luther even got a girl out of the ordeal. He marries his secret crush, Alma Parker. As they say their “I do’s”, the organ starts playing all by itself the haunting macabre tune that was being played in the Simmons mansion.
It’s a great movie, one that is watched many times here at the Hotel Thompson.