‘The Andy Griffith Show’: What Was Barney Fife’s Middle Name?

by Clayton Edwards

The Andy Griffith Show is a timeless classic. When it premiered in 1960 it was utterly different than most shows on television. It didn’t strive to tackle modern issues. It didn’t even do so through the lens of a bygone era. The series stayed far away from social commentary and, therefore, avoided being dated. So, the show served as an escape for viewers. It was a tumultuous time in America. So, to many fans that weekly trip to Mayberry was a way to get away from it all.

Today, people can enjoy The Andy Griffith Show for the same reason. We live in crazy times. However, we can still travel back to Mayberry for a short visit and forget our modern woes.

If you’re a fan of the series, you know that you don’t need to look hard to find out anything you want to know about the citizens of Mayberry. Many folks who love the show are full of trivial knowledge about The Andy Griffith Show. One thing that has some fans either scratching their heads or debating is Barney Fife’s middle name. So, what is it?

What Is the Iconic Andy Griffith Show Character’s Middle Name?

There’s a good reason that Barney’s middle name has fans of The Andy Griffith Show debating or scratching their heads. That’s because it’s disputed. Shows of the time didn’t focus much on continuity. Other than two episodes of the show, each installment is a stand-alone story. Even in those two episodes, the continuity is tenuous. Needless to say, they weren’t paying attention to a small detail like Barney’s middle name when whipping up scripts for the show.

Barney had three middle names over the course of Andy Griffith Show, IMDb notes. At different times, his middle name is given as Milton or Oliver. At one point, it’s just the initial P. The latter brings to mind Roscoe P. Coltrane, the sheriff from Dukes of Hazzard. Come to think of it, Barney P. Fife sounds the best out of the three.

What isn’t disputed is Barney’s importance to the Andy Griffith Show. Don Knotts helped to make the show what it was. Andy Griffith talked about it in an interview a few years before he died. He said that Don Knotts wasn’t on the show until the second episode. After they had the first one in the can, Andy didn’t feel like the show would go on for very long. He just didn’t think his humor could carry a series. So, when his old pal Don called up and asked if he needed a deputy, Andy told him to call up showrunner Sheldon Leonard. Before long, they were America’s favorite comedy duo.

Don Knotts’ comedic prowess and Andy’s cool-headed charm was an unbeatable combination.

Barney’s middle name might be up in the air but no matter what you call him, he helped to make The Andy Griffith Show a timeless classic.