Jim Nabors first appeared on “The Andy Griffith Show” in 1963. He was a late addition to the cast but proved to be an incredibly significant one. And the talented singer, while gifted comedically, didn’t have much of an acting background when he landed his role on the iconic show. As a result, he experienced a few scary moments on set.
Many of them took place in the iconic Mayberry Courthouse, where Sheriff Andy Taylor and his Deputy Barney Fife worked. In 2003, Andy Griffith, Don Knotts, Ron Howard, and Jim Nabors got together during a reunion show to reminisce.
They all sat together in the very same courthouse in which Jim Nabors made his acting debut.
“You know I think some of my scariest moments of my career have been in this room, and some of my nicest moments have been in this room,” Nabors said in 2003. “Scary because the first time I ever tried to act I think was right in this room.”
‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Newcomer Couldn’t Keep a Straight Face Around Don Knotts
Apparently, Jim Nabors struggled mightily to stay in character and keep himself from laughing whenever he shared a scene with Don Knotts. Can you blame him? The hilarity of Barney Fife would be too much for anyone.
“You know being totally inexperienced, it’s the hardest thing in the world for me to do, is to do a scene with Don. Because I started grinning in every one of them,” “The Andy Griffith Show” star said. “I’d start to laugh every time. Especially Citizen’s Arrest.”
The scene Jim Nabors referenced is an iconic one from the series. In it, his character, Gomer Pyle, spots Knotts’ Barney Fife pulling an illegal U-turn. Doing his civic duty, Gomer attempts to make a citizen’s arrest of the deputy. The people of Mayberry cheer him on in his endeavor. But apparently, Jim Nabors couldn’t keep up his Gomer facade.
“They finally had to break away from me and do it as a single shot,” Nabors continued. “I couldn’t help from laughing.”
Nabors goes on to tell about how interviewers always asked him if he thought he was a good actor. His answer? “God only knows, I never did but one part.”
He did that part exceedingly well though. So well, in fact, that his character from “The Andy Griffith Show” was given his own spin-off a few years after his first appearance.