‘The Andy Griffith Show’: Barney Fife’s Karate Fight with Andy Taylor Was Redone on ‘Matlock’ Almost 30 Years Later

by Will Shepard

Andy Griffith is one of those rare actors that almost every generation can recognize. His work on The Andy Griffith Show is incredible. His sidekick, Barney Fife, is almost equally recognizable. The two’s chemistry on-screen is exceptional and creates a memorable experience for viewers.

A fan-favorite moment between the two of them comes during a scene from “Andy, the Marriage Counselor.” The scene centers around Andy Taylor and Barney Fife practicing karate. In the ridiculousness of the scene, comedy ensues.

Andy Taylor walks into the jailhouse to see that Barney is practicing his judo. Barney excitedly tells Andy that he is practicing for his judo class. But, the Sheriff is skeptical of his deputy practicing the sport.

Barney, however, tells him that it is the best self-defense practice out there. Moreover, he insists that Andy helps him practice to demonstrate just how good judo is. So, he gives Andy Taylor a wooden ruler. Barney tells him to pretend that it’s a knife and to try and kill him.

Barney says, “Get a running start at me.”

To which Andy laughs and says, “Well, what if I run you through?”

The Andy Griffith Show Lives on in Matlock Scene

When Andy Taylor is all set and ready to charge, Barney chickens out and stops him. But, there is a good excuse. After checking his book, he explains that Andy needs to do it first in slow-motion. Afterward, they can then move up to full speed. It is explicitly clear through their practice that Barney is awful at judo.

Nonetheless, the two practicing is absolutely hilarious. The entire time Andy Taylor is trying not to hurt Barney, but you can certainly tell he is making sure to win.

This episode is from 1961, and 29 years later, the two recreated the hilarious scene. In an episode of Matlock called “The Fighter,” Andy Griffith and Don Knotts do an incredible recreation of the scene.

During the scene, the two actors practice boxing. While the scene isn’t exactly the same, all of the elements are still there. Don Knotts’ character is still haplessly defending himself while Andy Griffith as Matlock tries not to hurt him too badly.

Don Knotts’ character is supposedly a gray belt in karate. His character was hurt by Matlock, and he wants redemption. Moreover, he is out to prove that he knows karate. So, in the scene, he tells Andy to pick up a ruler, and the same fight scene ensues.

The two quickly decide that it needs to start in slow-motion and graduate up to faster speeds. The scene is nearly identical to the one the two did many years before and just as funny.