During its initial run on television, “The Andy Griffith Show” was very, very popular with its audience. And, that popularity continues to this day as more and more people are drawn to Mayberry and its lovable residents.
What may surprise you is that the cast of the show was “surprised” that it was successful as it became. Don Knotts, who famously played Deputy Barney Fife on the show, talked about this during a March 1996 interview. That interview was with Matt Lauer for “The Today Show.”
And, unsurprisingly, Andy Griffith was by his side while Knotts talked about the show with Lauer.
It was Lauer who brought up the topic of the show’s success during the interview with the two television icons.
“You won, I think Don, something like five Emmys for this show,” Lauer said. “Were you surprised at how well this show took off – at how well successful it became?”
And, according to Knotts, he was surprised at the success of “The Andy Griffith Show.” Interestingly, he wasn’t the only actor who felt that way.
“I think we all were, really,” Knotts said of feeling surprised about the show’s success. “I think when we first started out we were just hoping that we would stay on the air.”
Andy Griffith Shares Story About Crew Member Who Predicted Success for ‘The Andy Griffith Show’
Andy Griffith then shared a story about a crew member who shared a very accurate prediction about the sitcom’s success during that 1996 interview.
“We had a gaffer, Frank …” Griffith recalled. “He wore a felt hat (and) didn’t speak to me for the first six weeks. And, I ran into him in the men’s room one day and he said, ‘You’ll be in the top 10 in six months.’ And, we were.”
“You knew you had something good going,” Lauer said in response.
“We were never out of the top 10,” Griffith also said.
Also during the interview, Lauer asked Don Knotts if his Barney Fife character from “The Andy Griffith Show” was still the one most people identified him with.
“Oh, yes, yes, ” Knotts said in response. “I hear about Barney more than any of the characters (I have played).”
Andy Griffith’s singing career was also a topic of conversation during the interview. The beloved actor showcased the album of hymns that he created. He said at the time that it had sold between 300,000 and 400,000 copies.
You can watch Don Knotts and Andy Griffith talk about “The Andy Griffith Show” with Matt Lauer during 1996 below.