A Ha-Ha-Haunted House Has Got 'Em! ...and it's every ghost for himself!
Francis In The Haunted House
1956 | B&W | 80 Minutes | 1.37:1 | NR | Horror/Comedy | Mono | Universal Pictures
Director: Charles Lamont
Writers: Herbert H. Margolis
Mickey RooneyVirginia Welles
Paul Frees as Francis
Francis in the Haunted House is a 1956 black-and-white comedy film, the last in the Francis the Talking Mule series, but without the talents of previous director Arthur Lubin, human star Donald O'Connor and Francis' best-known voice Chill Wills. In this film, Francis witnesses a murder and befriends David Prescot, played by Mickey Rooney who may be next in line. Francis explains that he once lived on the farm of Prescott's uncle and is protecting his nephew out of respect for the uncle. The mule eventually helps Prescott uncover a mystery involving murder, an inheritance and a spooky old mansion on the edge of town.
The seventh and final entry in the series, Francis in the Haunted House, was made without any of the key creative personnel. O'Connor quit, quoting the actor, "When you've made six pictures and the mule still gets more fan mail than you do...." Mickey Rooney, who according to his autobiography was originally considered for a United Artists "Francis" movie before Universal bought the rights, replaced O'Connor as a new but similar character, David Prescott. Director Lubin and Chill Wills were also absent, replaced respectively by Charles Lamont and voice actor Paul Frees, who did a close approximation of Wills' voice. The movie did not attempt any real explanation as to why Francis had left Peter Stirling. Francis explains that he decided to befriend reporter Prescott because he once lived on a farm owned by Prescott's uncle and wanted to protect his nephew out of respect for the deceased. With the original elements gone, the movie, a standard tale of fake ghosts and gangsters, was poorly received and is widely viewed as the weakest entry in the series.
This should be a safe and fun way to introduce the younger crowd to Svengoolie. Don't forget you can meet Svengoolie at G-Fest Saturday from 1-3. You will need to purchase a ticket to the event.