Morgantown’s native funnyman, Don Knotts, made dozens of films for TV and cinema over his seven-decade career. Sometimes Knotts was a voice actor, and he often appeared as a comical sidekick—but he was at his lovable best starring as the overconfident bumbler or the reluctant hero.
Take our quiz—or just read about the films below.
There’s a Knotts film for every personality type.
Which one are you?
The Incredible Mr. Limpet (1964)
It’s mid-1941, and milquetoast bookkeeper Henry Limpet would love to join the U.S. Navy, but he’s been rated 4-F—unfit for service. What he most wants is to become a fish and, on a trip to Coney Island, he falls in the water and gets his wish. Limpet the fish helps the Navy sink Nazi U-Boats, forcing the Germans to deal with the Allies’ new secret weapon. It’s all in good campy fun. This was Warner Brothers’ last animated film and, according to IMDB, Stephen Hillenburg studied the film’s backgrounds for Spongebob Squarepants.
The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (1966)
Luther Heggs is a typesetter for his small-town newspaper, but he aspires to be a reporter. He gets his big break when the editor asks him to spend the night at the Simmons mansion—the site, 20 years earlier, of an infamous murder–suicide. His story would be timely because of the anniversary and also because the family heir, Nick Simmons, has returned to town to tear the mansion down. Heggs’ account of his terrifying night in the house leads Simmons to sue for libel—but Heggs, nudged by the social machinations of his friend Kelsey, figures out what really happened that night long ago.
The Shakiest Gun in the West (1968)
Luther Heggs is a typesetter for his small-town Jesse W. Heywood graduates from dental school in Philadelphia in 1870 and goes west “to fight oral ignorance.” Meanwhile, stagecoach robber Penelope “Bad Penny” Cushing is offered a pardon if she will track down a ring of gun smugglers. She tricks Heywood into a fictitious marriage as a disguise, and, with Cushing’s help, he becomes the heroic “Doc the Heywood.”
The Apple Dumpling Gang (1975)
Three orphaned siblings are forced on a confirmed bachelor in the 19th century boomtown of Quake City, California. After an earthquake, the children find a huge gold nugget. Their newfound wealth causes more problems than it solves, so they agree to give the gold to two hapless outlaws—but the only way the outlaws can get the gold is to steal it from the bank vault where it’s being held for safekeeping. What could go wrong?
Break out the Jiffy Pop! All of these films can be rented on Amazon Prime for far less than the price of a movie out. Double feature op: If you watch The Apple Dumpling Gang, follow it up with The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again