Don Knotts Was Almost in Disney’s Haunted Mansion (2003)
Don Knotts is a frightening legend. We love him for his unique ability to tremble because, in those moments, he is our over-the-top audience surrogate. When things get scary, Don Knotts gets scared we. He is a very human performer and reflects our emotions back to us, amplified in his eyes and antics.
Knotts was a veteran of the horror genre as well, having starred in 1966’s Ghost and Mr. Chicken. In the film, he played Luther Higgs, a small-town letterman who spends the night in a haunted house. The horror-comedy has grown to cult classic status and is one of Notts’ best-remembered films.
Near the end of Knotts’ career, Disney greenlighted a feature film version of the theme park ride The Haunted Mansion. The 2003 film, which starred Eddie Murphy, was a light, family-friendly comedy with some scary elements. Murphy was experiencing a career renaissance. After struggling to find dramatic roles in the early to mid-1990s, Eddie Murphy had some of his biggest successes in family films, doing voice work in Mulan And a partnerAnd starring in films such as Father’s Day Care And Dr. Doolittle.
The studio itself was also in the midst of the Renaissance. Although the theme park adaptation failed at box office Bears countryearly special effects shots from Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl It was so promising, that Disney greenlit it The mansion is haunted also. the Pirates The franchise would carry the studio to its greatest success in the early 2000s.
So, with the stars aligned for a family-friendly feature film Haunted Palace, the film’s creative team looked to the past to fill in the spooky territory. While the film borrows gags liberally from old haunted house movies, it almost borrows a familiar face as well.
according to Entertainment WeeklyMr. Chicken himself, Don Knotts, almost appears in the film as the palace guard. Fans of the ride will remember the character shakily holding a lantern while his skinny dog brayed at the eerie apparitions. However, the cameo wasn’t supposed to be at the end.
“One of the frightened faces you won’t see around the house is that of Don Knotts. Minkoff, who is passionate about Knotts’ 1966 Ghost and Mr. ChickenHe wanted him to play groundskeeper, but he said, “There wasn’t enough for him to do, according to his agent.”
For those of us mourning the prospect of Don Knotts’ existence in A Haunted Palace, we can always take solace in 999 other happy places in the movie. After all, there’s always room for someone else!
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