Ghost & Mr Chicken

This website's Main Pages (click to go there)   Home 主页    Current Update 当前更新    Resources 学习资源    Photos 影集 

  Links 友情链接    Things We've Written 我的文集   Special Features 本站特色    Site Map 本站导航    Real World 英语写作 

I've stopped updating this website, though it's pages will remain for a while. See "current update" for details.

Visit instead: and

EFL Movie Study Guides (for English learners)

Sister-pages:   Home Up Baby's Day Out Air Bud--World Pup American Tail Ben-Hur Chariots of Fire A Christmas Carol Cool Runnings Ever After Facing the Giants Family Man Far and Away Fantastic Voyage Fiddler on the Roof Finding Forrester Finding Nemo Finding Neverland The Flaw Ghost & Mr Chicken Greatest Story Ever The Grinch Groundhog Day Gua Sha Treatment Home Alone House MD--pilot House MD--maternity House MD--Christmas Jungle Book Last Holiday Lost Worlds Narnia Narnia--Caspian October Sky (temp) Oct Sky Patch Adams Paulie Return of the King The Robe Rudy Russians are Coming Sand Lot (1) Secondhand Lions Sherlock-Blind Banker Snoopy's Christmas Steel Magnolias Titanic Unstoppable White Christmas Wonderful Life

(▲ Links to the pages at the same level as this page. If you can't see the label, put your mouse over a button and look at the bottom of your browser.)

EFL Movie Study Guide for: The Ghost and Mr Chicken



Story: Luther, a timid typesetter for a small town newspaper, gets a big break when the editor asks him to spend a night at a haunted mansion, 20 years after a murder. Local citizens call Luther a hero after he writes about his ghost-filled adventure, but the owner sues the newspaper for libel. Misunderstandings, exaggerations, courtroom foolishness, shy Luther’s love for Alma, and the many funny faces of comedian Don Knotts bring lots of laughter as the real mystery unravels around our reluctant hero. As the tag line says, Luther is in the middle of a mystery, but he doesn’t have a clue! (1966; Don Knotts; Universal Pictures; comedy/mystery/romance?; family; 90 min; color)

Setting: Rachel, Kansas (a small town in mid-America), mid 1960s

Note 1: Comedian Don Knotts was a popular star in the 1960s, both on TV and in the movies. He represented "the common man" who is a bumbling yet trusted friend and sometimes becomes an unlikely hero.

Note 2: Several of the characters live together in a boarding house (a private home with rooms rented to various people, who often eat together). This was not un-common in the 1960s, but I suspect that the boarding house was used in this film to allow characters to interact in a way that would have been difficult otherwise.


People and proper nouns:

Luther Heggs: typesetter at the center of this story

George Beckett: Luther’s boss, the editor of the Rachel Courier Express (newspaper)

Ollie: The main reporter at the newspaper

Alma: an attractive woman, whom Luther loves from afar

Nick Simmons: owns the Simmons Mansion (the haunted house, and scene of a murder/suicide); he sues the newspaper for libel after they trespass and write a story about the ghosts, he is the nephew of the deceased couple and wants to tear down the old house

Mr. Kelsey: former gardener at the haunted mansion, now janitor at the newspaper

Milo and Halcyon Maxwell: he is the bank president; his wife is the leader of those who believe in “the supernatural”



coward: someone who is generally afraid

to curb: to temporarily stop sth (often some characteristic: e.g., enthusiasm, imagination, pride); to limit or stop the growth or influence of sth (like spending or taxation)

garden shears: scissors used to cut flowers or plants

maniacal: (laughing or acting) like a mad/crazy person

manifestations: a clear sign that something exists or is real (ghosts, emotions, economic trends, etc.)

the occult: related to the use of mysterious powers or supernatural beings (e.g., magic, demons, spirits, ghosts, etc.)

séance: a meeting where people try to communicate with ghosts or dead people

spunk (you’ve got spunk): (AmE, slang) courage

superstition: [迷信] irrational but strong belief that some objects or actions are lucky, are unlucky, or cause events to happen (this is different from “religious practices” based on a belief that some actions are right or wrong according to God or religious teachings)


Sentences/dialogs from the movie: (see below the “discussion” section)



1. 1. Would you be afraid to sleep in a place like the Simmons Mansion? Why or why not? What if your boss told you to do it?

2. Luther said, “I just don't happen to believe in ghosts... particularly.” Was that true? Do you believe in ghosts?

3. The actor who played Luther (Don Knotts) was very popular in the 60s and 70s. What did you think of this performance? What makes an actor popular?

4. Talk about the relationship between Luther and Alma. Why were they attracted to each other? Do you think they would make a good couple/parents? Explain.

Sentences/dialogs from the movie: (mostly from; imdb's website is a great place to find movie facts and more)

1.   Suzanna Blush: It's Calver Weems! He's DEAD! He's been MURDERED!

      Luther Heggs: Well don't panic! DON'T PANIC!

      Suzanna Blush: Oh Luther! Luther! It was terrible! He was walking along the street when: BANG! Right on the head! With that!

      Luther Heggs: Well did you see who did it?

      Suzanna Blush: No, it was just: BANG! Right on the head! With that!

      Luther Heggs: Well I'll just get a picture of it. Let’s see... f32... and it's dark, it's been raining... and uh... Oh for heaven's sake STAND BACK Suzanna! Stand back! Get out of the way! And for heaven's sake don't TOUCH anything! This is all EVIDENCE!

      Suzanna Blush: He was just walking down the street when: BANG! Right on the head!

      Luther Heggs: All right, I'll get a picture of the murder weapon...

      Suzanna Blush: BANG! Right on the head! I was just getting ready to brush my teeth and watch Lawrence Welk (on TV), then I looked out the window and: BANG...

      Luther Heggs: For heaven's sake Suzanna, pull yourself together! I'm going down to the Police Station! Now you get on the phone and call my editor!

      Suzanna: Who?

      Luther: George Beckett! tell him to get down to the police station as soon as possible! And for heaven's sakes, whatever you do, KEEP your HEAD! 

2.   Luther Heggs (excitedly trying to explain the murder to his editor): Calm? Do "murder" and "calm" go together? Calm and murder? Murder?

3.   Luther Heggs: [while being heckled for thinking Weems had been murdered] All right, you two guys! You'd just better watch it. You see these two hands? They're just as hard as steel!

      Heavyset Man: Hey, look at him, Billy Ray. He's a karate champion! We'd better watch ourselves.

      Billy Ray Fox: Yeah, go ahead, Luther!

      Heavyset Man: Do something!

      Luther Heggs: [chickens out] Why don't you run up an alley and holler fish!

4.   Milo Maxwell (bank president, talking to Mr. Simmons): Oh, I'm so sorry that I'm late, but we had a séance at the house last night and it ran on until all hours.

      (Later we find out that Milo’s wife “owns 51% of the bank stock” and deeply believes in supernatural “manifestations”; she forbids her husband from signing papers that will allow the Simmons House to be torn down)

5.   Luther Heggs (calling himself an idiot): Mr. Boob, that's me. B double-O B = boob!

      Kelsey: You know why you thought you saw a murder out there, Luther? Because that's a murder house. (He then explains the history of the murder/suicide.)

      Luther Heggs: Well, me, I just don't happen to believe in ghosts... particularly. 

6.   George Beckett (talking about who should spend the night in the haunted house, and then write about it for the newspaper): What we need is someone with a wild imagination. Someone who’s a bit of a coward. Someone who’s a little superstitious.

7.   Mrs. Hutchinson: I was only two blocks away that awful night, at my sister Clara's. We were sort of... listening to the organ, you know... the midnight bells were ringing... I turned to Clara and said, "Clara; the organ music sounds strange tonight!"...

      Mrs. Natalie Miller: Well... what did Clara say?

      Mrs. Hutchinson: She said, "Yes, it does!" You know Clara!

      Mrs. Natalie Miller: Well, they say there are still bloodstains on the organ keys...

      Mrs. Hutchinson: That's right; they've never been able to get them off.

      Mrs. Cobb: And they used Bon-Ami!

      Mrs. Natalie Miller: Everybody says he still comes there and plays, at midnight...

      Mrs. Cobb: He doesn't play as well as he used to!

8.   Luther Heggs (describing his night in the mansion): It was terrible. It was just terrible. I'll never get over it as long as I live.

      George Beckett: Hey, great opening line (for the article)!

(continued in the other column)

(dialogs--continued from the other column)


9.   Police Chief Art Fuller: I'm sorry Mrs. Maxwell, Nicolas Simmons gave me strict orders. No one's allowed on this property.

      Halcyon Maxwell: Oh, Mr. Fuller you don't seem to understand. We're followers. We're on the path of the occult.

      Police Chief Art Fuller: I'm afraid you won't find anything like that around here.

      Halcyon Maxwell: Oh, well it's obvious you don't understand. Our society is dedicated to contacting the other world.

      Police Chief Art Fuller: The communists?

      Halcyon Maxwell: No! The spiritual world!

10.  Halcyon Maxwell (to her husband, before forbidding him to sign Simmons’ papers): You don't seem to realize the cosmic importance of this.

11.  Luther (after dinner at Alma’s house, trying to explain how he feels about her; he can’t even look at her): The thing is this, Alma. You’re a darned attractive girl.

      Alma: Thank you.

      Luther: Me, I’m a guy…. You take your average guy, and your above average girl… What I’m trying to say is that “average” is just darn lucky to sitting on the same porch with “above average”…

      Alma: Luther, are you trying to say you like me?

      Luther (shyly): Yeah.

      Alma (after kissing him): I like you too, Luther.

12.  [In court, lawyer Springer calls his "surprise" witness to the stand, Gaylord Patie.] 

      Springer: And what is your occupation?

      Gaylord Patie: I'm a certified public accountant for the state.

      Springer: Now then, I understand that you, Mr. Patie, have heard the organ playing in the Simmons Mansion. Am I correct, sir?

      Gaylord Patie: You are. I have heard organ music coming from the tower of the Simmons Mansion on three separate occasions. [gasps of awe come from the audience] That's why I came to you, Mr. Springer.

      Springer: And at what time did you hear this music?

      Gaylord Patie: At the stroke of midnight. [more gasps of awe come from the audience]

      Springer: And what else have you heard coming from the Simmons Mansion, Mr. Patie?

      Gaylord Patie: On the first occasion, a woman's scream. And on the second and third occasions, a man's scream. [even more gasps of awe come from the audience]

      Springer: And what kind of screams were they, Mr. Patie?

      Gaylord Patie: Oh wild, maniacal screams. [audience is really excited now]

      Springer: Thank you. Your witness.

      Whitlow: [cross-examining] Mr. Patie, I understand that you're president of the International Conclave for Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs).

      Gaylord Patie: That is correct, sir.

      Whitlow: Where was your last meeting held?

      Gaylord Patie: On Mars. [courtroom erupts in laughter]

13.  Luther Heggs (in court, Luther is bragging about his love of journalism, unintentionally making himself look bad): I guess if you cut me, I'd bleed ink…. When you work with words, words are your work.

14.  Whitlow: I'm asking you a question, Heggs! Can't you curb your imagination for one minute?

      Luther Heggs: Can't you curb your tongue for a minute?

      Man in audience: Atta boy, Luther!

      Whitlow: Isn’t it true that you were offered a full-time job as reporter if you brought back a sensational story from that house? A story that you made up out of your own head?

      Luther: No, that’s not true! I saw those things. I heard those things. Those church bells rang. The organ played. I saw the bloodstains on the keys, and they are still there. And when I came downstairs I came face-to-face with a painting of Mrs. Simmons; there was a pair of garden shears stuck in her throat, and blood gushing from the wound. (audience is extremely excited)

      Judge: Quiet down! I’m not sure whether I believe in ghosts or not…, but I do know there’s only one way of finding out if there’s something going on in that Simmons place. This court hereby orders the jury and interested parties to meet here at 11:30 tonight. And we’re going down to the Simmons house, and see for ourselves. Court’s adjourned!

15. Luther Heggs (describing how he stopped “the bad guy” near the end of the film): That's right, karate... made my whole body a weapon.

See our Website Standards and Use Policy regarding the sources of definitions used on this website.


This resource was created for our students under our understanding of "fair use" for educational resources. 

This page does not imply any consent from or relationship with the publisher(s) or producer(s). 

2011 Michael Krigline. As far as I am concerned, people are allowed to print/copy it for personal or classroom use.

 (see Website Standards and Use Policy)


Back to EFL Movie Study Guides index page

Click in the boxes below to go to some of our most popular pages. If you get lost, just click "Home."

(There is a "search" box on the home page)


Site map (To search within any page, type "ctrl + f")

Current Update

& how to contact us

Resources  for students & teachers

Links for English Learners

EFL Movie Study Guides

Better Writing Study Guide

Our Students photos

Photo Index

South Carolina & USA photos

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Favorite Links

Things We've Written (articles)

Introduction to China

Life in China photos

Music Page & mp3 downloads

Archive Index

Real World Writing (my textbook)

See our Policy regarding the use of materials available at or