Television icon Andy Griffith revealed how he wanted to continue working with Don Knotts after The Andy Griffith Show came to its end. Discussing his costar Don Knotts on the Morning Exchange, Griffith had nothing but praise for his costar.
“Don is a splendid actor,” said Griffith. “He played [the] role of a psychopath on a soap opera in the early’50s. I don’t think anybody works together quite like we do, and I’d like to try that again.”
Though the chemistry looks natural onscreen, Griffith said that he and Knotts did plan their jokes ahead of time. Additionally, he described the entire cast as talented, saying that the chemistry was excellent. Even so, he and Knotts were really the two driving forces behind the show, acting-wise. Fans responded to them as a duo. As a result, he was concerned when Don Knotts announced his departure.
“When Don left after five years, I was very nervous,” Griffith once said. “There was a lady from TV Guide [who] came in and she said ‘what’re you gonna do when Don leaves?’ I said ‘I don’t know what we’re gonna do when Don leaves’ and I got up and left. She wrote it just that way. Best article was ever written on me. She said ‘he got up and left and didn’t even say he appreciated it.’”
Of course, Griffith never meant to hurt the reporter’s feelings. He simply held a deep regard for his costar, and he was afraid of how the show would look without him.
Andy Griffith Goes Behind the Scenes on His Favorite Joke
In addition, Andy Griffith revealed one of his favorite jokes from the series. Alongside Knotts, he often acted as the “straight man,” which is the serious character who allows for the setup of a joke. This joke was no different. It came from an episode called “Barney’s First Car.”
“Barney was going to buy a used car for his first car,” the actor continued. “Not to put him down, but it was a 52 Ford. One of the jokes we had I was sitting on the porch, and this lady was going to bring the car over for Barney to look at. He was pacing back and forth, and I said ‘sit down, Barney, she’ll be here in a minute.’ He finally sat down and said ‘I’m sorry. I’m a little nervous. He said ‘ this is my biggest investment since my mom and dad’s anniversary.’ I said ‘what did you get them?’ and he said ‘a septic tank.’ I sat for a long time and then finally I said ‘a septic tank.’ He said ‘yeah, it was all steel reinforced, they were really thrilled.’”
Aside from the cast, Griffith revealed the other reason he felt the show resonated: the writers. The writing staff of The Andy Griffith Show was well-received critically, and they won numerous awards, including one for “Barney’s First Car.”
“Our show I always felt fit into a special category because of the splendid writing that we had,” said Griffith. “We had the best comedy writing at that time. The writer’s guild [has] a writer’s dinner every year in which they give out their own awards to their own people. Our show, that is, the writing on our show, got the award. One year, we had two scripts up for that award, so I always thought our show was a little special that way.”