‘Matlock’: Andy Griffith’s Goal Was To Make the Show Funnier Than ‘Perry Mason’

by Joe Rutland

Everyone who grew up at the time will remember Andy Griffith playing in Matlock. But he had a goal: Be funnier than Perry Mason.

It would not be a real stretch, either. Raymond Burr played a by-the-book defense attorney in Mason throughout the CBS series’ run. Ben Matlock did have a sense of humor and displayed it in his office and the courtroom, too.

Let’s read a little more about this from an article by MeTV.

When talking about Matlock, Griffith talked about it with the Archive of American Television, “I let my imagination roam. I never worried about the law.

“They said that Raymond Burr did, but I knew that somebody else was there to look after the law part,” Griffith said. “I just wanted it to be entertaining within that framework.”

Remember, too, that Andy Griffith had a comedic background as a stand-up comic. Oh yeah, there’s also that historic sitcom, The Andy Griffith Show.

Griffith’s attempts at adding humor to the show did go on. He even reworked scripts to get his character to read right.

“I would orchestrate those fights often,” he says about Ben Matlock. “I would get myself thrown out of the courtroom. Put in jail. Because it was funny. Hot dogs. This character loved hot dogs. That’s funny.”

Reruns of Matlock and Perry Mason as well are on TV sets around the world. You can judge which one had more humor in it.

‘Matlock’ Star Fought To Get His Old Friend Don Knotts On The Show

Want to know how much Andy Griffith card about Don Knotts? He fought to get his old sitcom costar and friend on Matlock.

While there were some rumors that Griffith was jealous of Knotts, all that got debunked by Karen Knotts, Don’s daughter, when speaking to FOX News in 2018.

“One thing I will tell you, and one thing that is different from what has been written in books, was that Andy was never jealous of my dad,” Karen Knotts says. “He was his biggest fan and mentor. Everything later he was in, he wanted to get my dad in, too… He was in my dad’s corner.”

Matlock debuted in 1986 and Griffith insisted Don Knotts join him once again.

“Even when he was on Matlock, and my dad wasn’t working at the time, [Griffith] went to producers and said, ‘I want Don Knotts on the show,'” Karen Knotts says. “They said, ‘No, this is a dramatic show, there’s no part for a character comedian.'”

Griffith kept fighting and got his buddy on the show for 1988-92. Both of them did their best to rekindle the old magic from their Mayberry days.