There’s little doubt Andy Griffith had respect for Don Knotts. He used a scene from “The Andy Griffith Show” to show Knotts’ diversity.
“Barney could do everything,” Griffith said during an interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer in 1996. “We had that show called ‘Barney and the Choir’ and Barney sang off-key and didn’t know it. We tried to find other places to rehearse so he wouldn’t be there, and he’d show up.
“And so finally I said, ‘Make him the soloist,'” Griffith said of his Andy Taylor character. “And then I talk him into speaking his solo. And so I talked him into believe the microphone was so, so hot, so sensitive he didn’t need to make hardly a sound at all.”
‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Episode Turns Barney Into Frank Sinatra, Sort Of
“Finally, no sound,” Griffith said. “And when it came time for his solo, we put a man behind the curtain with a microphone and when Barney heard that voice, he became Frank Sinatra. It was wonderful. Being the straight man, I got to be in the show and had the best seat in the house at the same time.”
Here’s a clip from that infamous episode from “The Andy Griffith Show.”
Knotts and Griffith had incredible timing together on the show. Actually, Knotts was picked to join the show’s cast based on both actors previously working together in “No Time for Sergeants.”
Why Griffith chose to talk about this specific episode is not known. One might believe he thought it truly highlighted the different things Knotts could bring forth as an actor.
“Barney and the Choir” was the 20th episode during the second season of “The Andy Griffith Show” on CBS. Its original air date was on Feb. 19, 1962. Knotts left the show after five seasons but made guest-star appearances during its remaining three seasons on the air.
Andy Griffith died on July 3, 2012, at 86 years old. Don Knotts died on Feb. 24, 2006, at 81 years old. Both men provided hours of fun and entertainment not only on “The Andy Griffith Show” but beyond it, too.
Griffith, Knotts Had Success Prior to Joining Up on TV Series
Now both men did bring a lot of success from their individual careers into “The Andy Griffith Show.”
Knotts was part of a number of comedians and actors who had recurring roles on NBC’s “The Steve Allen Show.” Allen was the original host of “Tonight,” which eventually would become “The Tonight Show.” One of the characters which Knotts played regularly was a nervous, twitchy bystander who appeared in the “Man in the Street” skits.
He stayed with Allen from 1956 through 1960, when he joined Griffith’s show.
Griffith had built up credibility through his nightclub act, appearances on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in the early 1950s, and movie work. We mentioned earlier about his work in “No Time for Sergeants,” but Griffith played a really different character in one movie.
He appears in director Elia Kazan’s “A Face in the Crowd.” Griffith played “Lonesome” Rhodes, a country bumpkin who finds his ego growing with influence, fame, and fortune. It falls apart in the end, though, making Rhodes look bad after people covered up for his behavior. The movie, which premiered in 1957, was Griffith’s film debut.