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July 28, 2004

Don Knotts

Don Knotts had a birthday recently (July 21st), which i failed to properly commemorate on this here blog. i referenced him briefly in a short post below, and now i'm going to tell you what his greatest role was.

While a lot of people swear that The Incredible Mr. Limpet is the best Don Knotts movie, i think people who think that are all wet. Knotts excelled at the physical comedy of facial expressions. Limpet was a cartoon, so it by definition cannot be the best DK movie.

The Ghost and Mr. Chicken is a strong contender. Knotts' character is named Luther Heggs, a perfect name for a DK character. i loved the whole scene where he spends the night in the haunted house. Remember the crazy organ music? Knotts was at his shaky best.

i liked The Reluctant Astronaut just a little bit better, partly because i like space movies. This one came out in 1967, at the height of the space race. The premise is typically DK: he gets a job at NASA, tells his family and his girlfriend that he is in astronaut training, when in fact he's just a janitor, hijinks ensue, his family finds out about the charade, they're terribly disappointed, then even though he's Acrophobic, he blunders onto a spaceflight, actually becoming a reluctant astronaut , more hijinks ensue. It's predictable, but still a must see.

i also liked The Apple Dumpling Gang, where DK teams up with Tim Conway as a pair of stereotypically incompetent but loveable bank robbers.

But the funniest Don Knotts movie, in my opinion, is the often overlooked How to Frame a Figg, from 1971. Here's a couple of comments from the IMDB page:

'How to Frame a Figg is a vintage Don Knotts - frenetic, farcical comedy, and features him at the top of his form as the hysterical, cat-on-hot-tin-roof nervous, persecuted civil servant Hollis Figg.'

'If folks were really this stupid I could be the SRW - Supreme Ruler of the World. In this one Knotts plays a dimwitted bean counter for some little jerk water town run by a group of crooked simpletons only slightly brighter than he is. When things appear a bit shaky for the crooks they go for a frame-up of the patsy Figg. Plenty of laughs as Knotts does his usual bumbling, stumbling act. I especially appreciated the extension cord scene; asininity at it's highest level.'

The opening scene with the ambulance is pathetically absurd, but i won't ruin it for you, it's one of my favorite comic scenes ever.

Best Don Knotts movie: How to Frame a Figg. Go rent it tonight and let me know if you agree or disagree.

Posted by annika, Jul. 28, 2004 |
Rubric: Let's Go To Hollywood


My favorite was his impersonation of Jimmy Carter at the Democratic National Convention.

Can you believe how much he looked like Jimmy?

Posted by: shelly s. on Jul. 28, 2004

annika, I'm not sure if I should see in you a kindred spirit (your Don Knotts expertise parallels my Joe Don Baker fanaticism) or be frightened.

Posted by: Victor on Jul. 29, 2004

Oh gosh! The Apple Dumpling Gang rocked! Of course you can't forget Mr. Furley.

Posted by: Kin on Jul. 29, 2004

Amazing. I had no idea that Don Knotts had fans under the age of 35. For me, it's a tie between The Ghost and Mr. Chicken and How to Frame a Figg.

One final note: I met Don Knotts once because he used to play the Pro-Am round at the Greater Greensboro Open. Unlike some of the other celebrities, he seemed to appreciate the fans. Of course, it was a one time event for me, so I could be wrong there. Just my opinion, anyway.

Posted by: physics geek on Jul. 29, 2004

You hit all his great ones.

Posted by: Ted on Jul. 29, 2004