Don Knotts said TV was ''like being in a big tomb''

Being deputy of Mayberry was no easy feat!

Don Knotts on the big screen seems now like it was always a sure shot. In what universe wouldn't his talents translate, you know? He's got an entire filmography of great comedies to prove it, but back in 1965, it was anybody's guess. 

"Everything is so uncertain," Knotts told UPI Hollywood Correspondent Vernon Scott before the premiere of The Ghost and Mr. Chicken. "I don't know how I'll do at the box office. This is a whole new experience for me. It's a wonderful opportunity."

One thing was undeniable, though: It took guts to take the kind of risk Knotts was taking. He walked away from one of the most certain jobs in television, as Barney Fife on The Andy Griffith Show. But why leave such a hit series?

"I did a weekly TV show for nine straight years," said Knotts. "Four years with Steve Allen, and then right into five years with Andy Griffith."

Being the star of a hit program has got its perks, but the wear-and-tear was really getting to ol' Barn by this point.

"I can't stand it. The grind is terrible. It's like being in a big tomb. That's how confining it is."

"After this picture, I may go back for a couple of guests with Andy he's the best friend I've got. I'd love to make a movie with him. But I've wanted to be a movie star since I was seven years old. Can you imagine that, me dreaming of being a movie star? And now that it's coming true, I'm frightened to death!"

Obviously, the gamble paid off. But, what if it hadn't?

"There's lots of things I can do," Knotts joked. "like clerking in a department store or something."

Thankfully for us fans, it all worked out in the end.

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6 Comments

JMilburn 2 months ago
Barney and Thelma Lou did end up marrying 20 yrs later in the Return To Mayberry movie. In one of the early scenes in the movie when Andy told Barney that Thelma Lou was coming back to town, they even mention her previous marriage from the show and said that they had divorced after a short time. I agree tho that her marrying someone else on the show sucked big-time! But I thought the Return To Mayberry movie was pretty good--about as good as any Andy fan could have hoped for--for a show that is as iconic and legendary as Andy is, normally the odds are that a reunion movie for it years later would not stand up or compare--but I think Return To Mayberry came as close as any great TV show reunion could.
AltBill 2 months ago
Atta Boy Luther!

Seriously, it should have been called the Barney Fife Show.... and he should have married Thelma Lou.
Bobtruths AltBill 2 months ago
Andy was No Slouch!

In fact, it was Andy who was supposed to be the Funnyman but to his credit, he recognized Knott's talent and graciously took on the role of the Straightman!

But yes!
The stupidest thing in the world was having Thelma Lou marry someone else!
Even Betty Lynn said it herself,

"Thelma was Barney's girl!
She loved him!"
FrankensteinLover 2 months ago
I absolutely love Don Knotts and he mastered the role of Barney Fife.
Runeshaper 2 months ago
Don Knotts was solid in both TV and movies. He was an EXCELLENT actor!
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