‘Andy Griffith Show’ Star Don Knotts’ Daughter Remembers Feeling Disappointed Discovering Mayberry Was ‘Fake’

by Matthew Memrick

The daughter of “Andy Griffith Show” star Don Knotts recalled feeling disappointed when she learned Mayberry was fake.

Karen Knotts said Mayberry “looked so real on TV.” The 67-year-old said she remembers watching the show on a black-and-white TV. 

But it was a different story when she experienced the set the first time. She recently talked about this in an interview with The Dominion Post.

“Then you get there, and you see it’s fake, with all the plywood and cardboard cutouts,” Karen Knotts told the West Virginia newspaper.

Last February, Karen Knots wrote a book called “Tied Up in Knotts” about her famous father and her life on the Mayberry soundstage in Los Angeles.

‘Andy Griffith Show’ Daugther Caught Aunt Bee Smoking

Karen Knotts soon found out the actors were genuine. When she visited the show, she remembered being shocked at Aunt Bea, played by Frances Bavier, smoking during takes.

She remembered going on behind-the-scenes tours of the set with star Ron Howard. The two were the same age, and Knotts said the boy pointed out all the shoes nailed to the floor as pranks. She also saw where Andy Griffith and her dad threw darts between scenes. 

Karen Knotts said she “never knew a kid like Ronny before” and that “he was still a little boy (back then), but he had a certain gravitas about him.”

The woman talks about her life with dad in the newly-released book, saying Don Knotts was “a serious actor who happened to do comedy” and that he was constantly rehearsing his lines for the show. That hard work earned him five Emmys on the iconic 1960s sitcom.

She likened him to a “classical musician” in how he performed. She said he “would rehearse and rehearse” to get things right and would work on the “right inflection and the right nuance” until he got it right.

Karen Knotts said her dad’s show had its slapstick moments, but that star Andy Griffith worked hard to keep the show from being silly. She credited its “sharp writing and all those great actors.”

Knotts Had A Few Favorite Episodes

The charm of the show came through the writing and great episodes. One of Don Knotts’s favorite episodes was “Barney and the Choir.”

It was the 20th episode during the second season.

The plot revolves around Barney Fife wanting to join the town’s musical despite his tone-deaf disadvantage. The town tried to work around it because no one wanted to tell Don Knotts’s character the truth.

In reality, Knotts could sing well. He sang badly for that show’s plot, according to IMDb.

“That was sweet, ” Karen Knotts told the newspaper. She added that the characters “didn’t want to hurt Barney’s feelings and that they cared for one another. That’s how (well the show was) written.” 

The Morgantown, W.Va. native will also perform her one-woman show that shares the book’s name. She’ll act it out in February and March in that city.