In a new interview with Yahoo! to promote her upcoming book about visiting the set with her father, Karen Knotts spoke about her late dad’s work. “My dad was a serious actor who happened to do comedy,” she explained.
While the Andy Griffith Show was known for its slapstick scenes, the majority of those were created by Don Knotts. They knew just how to hit home without going overboard. According to Karen, his dad learned to keep his comedy in check “because of Andy.” The two actors were serious about their acting work while also appreciating comedy. They were some of the first in Hollywood to cement the fact that comedic actors can be serious thespians.
“It was because of the sharp writing and all those great actors,” she added.
Meanwhile, growing up as a kid she would visit the CBS backlot which held the town of Mayberry. While it looked so real on TV, it wasn’t in real life.
“Especially on black-and-white TV. Then you get there and you see it’s fake, with all the plywood and cardboard cutouts,” she noted.
One of her standout moments was witnessing Aunt Bea light a cigarette and take a drag between filming scenes. While her character was described as pious, she was a tough woman with her past work being featured in New York City theater before moving to Hollywood and television.
‘Andy Griffith Show’
Besides the core cast, actress Mary Lansing was the most used Andy Griffith Show guest star. She appeared on the show as thirteen different characters over the span of the series.
Arguably one of her most memorable roles was Martha Clark, who ended up being featured in several episodes. She was even brought on to the show’s spinoff, Mayberry RFD. Prior to Martha Clark’s creation, she appeared as a guest star for a single episode.
While most of the episodes aired with spaces, so fans didn’t think twice, in one instance, two episodes aired back to back. In the first episode, she appeared as the owner of a clothing store that is one of Aunt Bee’s favorites as Mrs. Lukens. In the following episode, she appeared as a woman getting her hair done, named Mrs. Rodenbach. Aside from that, she portrayed one-off characters including Miss Primrose, Miss Roundtree, Dorothy, Mary, and Mrs. Mason.