‘The Andy Griffith Show’: How Mayberry’s Barber Could Have Been Based on Don Knotts’ Uncle

by Matthew Memrick
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Did a haircutting uncle of Don Knotts find his way onto “The Andy Griffith Show” back during the second season?

Longtime actor Howard McNear played Floyd Lawson in the show. The barber had his shop and starred in 80 episodes. However, his first appearance was in the first season, starting with the “Mayberry Goes Hollywood” 13th episode. He also went by the name Floyd Colby then.

MeTV reported on the Knotts and his uncle’s possible connection.

Memorable ‘Andy Griffith Show’ Episode Involves Second Barber

The April 16, 1962 show’s “Bookie Barber” episode involves Deputy Barney Fife disguised as a woman and Floyd hiring a second barber that turns out to be a bookie.

It’s funny because Floyd always talked about getting a second chair, and now he has one. Also, Fife going undercover as an old lady to capture the bookie seems so natural. If you could imagine Knotts having a sister, what would she look like? Too bad he only had a brother, William.

Anyway, Knotts grew up in West Virginia, hanging out in his uncle’s barbershop. According to author Daniel de Visé, Knotts would leave his home as a kid and spend hours at Uncle Lawrence’s barbershop. The author guessed that’s where Knotts learned how to captivate an audience.

Reportedly, Uncle Lawrence had his customers laughing for hours with jokes and stories. Little Don likely learned a thing or two there. Plus, get his hair cut on occasion. According to de Visé, Knotts could stick around until closing and get a free haircut.

Controversy About Mayberry’s Barber

Maybe Knotts told his “Andy Griffith Show” best friend about Uncle Lawrence, and somehow he ended up in the show. Or maybe Knotts got in the ears of show writers Harvey Bullock and R.S. Allen. We’ll never really know. It’s only been 60 years since the show hit black-and-white TV screens.

But all we know is that a barber from Griffith’s hometown of Mount Airy, N.C. was not the inspiration. Well, that is according to the star.

The story goes that Russell Hiatt was a real barber there. He claimed he cut Griffith’s hair as a boy when “The Andy Griffith Show” got famous. Hiatt did what he could to bring in customers, changing the name of his shop to Floyd’s Barber Shop. It stuck so quickly that many show fans consider Hiatt’s shop part of “Andy Griffith Show” TV history.

However, Andy Griffith refuted Hiatt’s claim to cutting his hair. But who’s to say. We know that Uncle Lawrence had a barbershop in West Virginia, and Don Knotts went there a lot.

By the way, February is a particular month for Floyd Lawson. According to IMDb, the calendar in Floyd’s Barber Shop is always in February. It sounds like a good month if you ask me.

Outsider.com