‘The Andy Griffith Show’: Don Knotts’ 1 Complaint on the Show Set That He Finally Needed To Vent About
In his five seasons on The Andy Griffith Show, actor Don Knotts who portrayed eager yet bungling deputy Barney Fife loved being part of the cast on the classic television comedy.
His star on the rise, Knotts eventually left the show and began his film career.
During those five years, however, Knotts had one issue on the set of the show that he ultimately needed to get off his chest.
How Don Knotts wound up in Mayberry
The actor had seen Andy Griffith on the show’s pilot episode on The Danny Thomas Show and contacted Griffith to suggest that perhaps his Sheriff Andy Taylor might need a deputy.
According to Daniel de Visé, author of 2015’s Andy and Don: The Making of a Friendship and a Classic American TV Show, Griffith’s response was “Lord! Call [show producer] Sheldon Leonard.”
Knotts in time did have a meeting with Leonard.
“There was no formal audition,” de Visé wrote. “Sheldon dismissed Don coolly, telling the fretful actor that his idea ‘would be taken under advisement.’ He kept Don waiting for three agonizing weeks.”
When Knotts finally learned the part was his, he was beyond happy.
De Visé writes, “I had a good feeling about this,” Knotts recalled. “I had a real good feeling, even before it started.”
His 1 complaint about working on ‘The Andy Griffith Show’
Knotts spoke with author Richard Kelly for the latter’s 1981 book, The Andy Griffith Show and explained the issue that finally drove him to protest to the set propmaster.
“My only complaint about the whole show,” Knotts said, “was that I would get fatigued from the physical workouts. I would get irritable by the end of the day, even though I was having a hell of a good time.”
The future Three’s Company star told the propmaster, Reggie Smith, “Hey Reggie. Come here. I want a chair with my name on it.”
Knotts’ request was turned down – at first
Smith was reluctant to get the star a seat because, as Knotts pointed out to Kelly, “This subject had never come up before and we were in our third year. I’m thinking, ‘I’m out of line here, because the star hasn’t asked for this and I have.” Smith, however, repeated that it simply wasn’t done on this set.
Knotts was indignant. “We’re going to do it now…I’d like to have a chair by tomorrow, with my name on it. That’s where I’m going to sit from now on.”
Andy Griffith himself, Knotts realized later, had been standing behind him during the whole conversation, “and it really delighted him.” Griffith told the propmaster, “Reg, I want one, too.”
The two stars got their chairs and soon, the idea took off.
It turned out everyone on set appreciated the idea of taking a seat once in a while, from Aunt Bee actor Frances Bavier to the show’s producers.