Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Loss of Knotts

Where I come from, this man is a God. That's because, along with every other resident of the Tar Heel State, I grew up watching in awe as Jesse Donald Knotts embodied the greatest television character of all time, Deputy Barney Fife. Now Mayberry's finest is gone and I myself am ready to turn in my badge. Having interviewed Howard 'Ernest T. Bass' Morris and even Andy Griffith himself, I'd always hoped to meet the man at one of the Mayberry Day events I cover in Mt. Airy from time to time. Alas, it will never be, for we have lost a statesman. Don Knotts was born in West Virginia - but he'll always be a North Carolinian to me - a squirrely, nervous, bug-eyed deputy whose misplaced machismo is outmatched only by his comic timing and physical brilliance. If anyone needs me, I'll be in the den, watching my Mayberry DVD's and clutching a single, unspent bullet.


Jorge_Guapo said...


It's all about "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken"...that movie inspired me as a young man driven by the comic genius that is Don Knotts. He is on my top five list of people to meet on "the other side."

Colonel Corn's Camera said...

Amen brothers. We have lost a great one.

jamey tucker said...

Barney Fife: TV's Greatest Character.

I did have the extreme pleasure of meeting Mr. Knotts several years ago. My videographer didn't make it across the ropes but I wouldn't let that ruin my chances of interviewing him. Like a newspaper reporter, I asked questions and jotted down his responses. Not that I ever used the interview for tv but it was one of my all-time favorite interviews. Very polite. I got the feeling he was embarrassed by the attention and didn't feel deserving of even being interviewed. Very humble and charming.
Favorite Don Knotts movie: "The Private Eyes" with Tim Conway. Last time I checked, only an old VHS copy is available on ebay for the price of $80.

susan said...

I can't even imagine Don Knotts together with Tim Conway. Where are the outtakes? This is a great tribute. If you turn in your badge I'm afraid there'll be a revolt.