Though both star Donald O'Connor and director Arthur Lubin had said goodbye to the "Francis the Talking Mule" series, Universal-International wasn't about to give up on so valuable a property. Thus, Francis in the Haunted House starred Mickey Rooney, with Charles Barton calling the shots. Likewise missing from the earlier series entries was the voice of Francis, Chill Wills; he is replaced by the ubiquitous Paul Frees, who also narrated the film's promotional trailer. The plot and comic content of Francis in the Haunted House is summed up by the title, as Francis and his new buddy David Prescott (Mickey Rooney) try to corral a gang of art thieves. Along the way, they get mixed up with a phony heiress (Virginia Welles), a series of murders (one of the victims is Richard Deacon!) and, of course, a spooky old house. Most of the "scare" gags in Francis in the Haunted House had been done earlier, and better, by Universal's own Abbott and Costello.