‘The Andy Griffith Show’: Why Don Knotts and Griffith Would Have to Come Up with Scenes on the Fly

by Will Shepard

We sometimes wish we could travel back in time, just to enjoy episodes of The Andy Griffith Show as they came out. However, looking at the show in the twenty-first century provides us with unique insight that the 60s didn’t provide.

Andy Griffith and Don Knotts were the focal points of the show for its run. Even though Knotts missed a lot of episodes, the two of them were incredible together. In fact, when it was needed, the two could reportedly come up with scene ideas off the top of their heads. Knotts and Griffith were an unstoppable duo together.

During an interview in 2006 with CNN, Ron Howard talked about Knotts and Griffith and their influence. He shared a new perspective alongside Griffith on what happened when The Andy Griffith Show was stalled.

Howard was essentially interviewing the show’s leading actor. He said, “Every once in a while, Aaron would come down to the set and say, ‘The show is running a little short.'”

The actor who played Opie continued, “I have these vivid memories of you, [Andy Griffith], and Don and Aaron going off to the side and cooking up some of these really classic two-person bits. I always wondered, did you have those in your hip pocket, or did you just generate them from scratch? It was always amazing to watch these scenes emerge.”

Griffith chimed in to explain what would happen.

“The three of us would get together. Aaron was a brilliant comedy mind himself. One of us would come up with an idea of what direction to go. Then, the three of us would write it, and then we’d go in and shoot it right fast.”

Ron Howard Talked About How Much of Andy Griffith’s Performances Went Unnoticed In “The Andy Griffith Show”

During an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Ron Howard talked about Griffith. He talked about how much of the star’s acting people didn’t understand during the show.

“I would suspect that when people watch an Andy Griffith performance, that they don’t realize how dedicated, how focused, and analytical he really was about what he was doing,” Howard said. “It was always an act of creation, a creative decision.”

The actor who played Opie in The Andy Griffith Show then explained that people only saw the surface of Andy Griffith. He said that there was more to him than what came across on the screen. Griffith’s talent ran deep in his career, and people never truly got to see that.

Howard also cited that this rang true with the star’s work on Matlock as well. He acknowledged that a lot of his work was off the cuff, purely improvisational work. Now he is a director and noted that talent is a rare skill in Hollywood.