Don Knotts was a go-kart spokesman while working on The Andy Griffith Show
Watch him zip around the racetrack!
Don Knotts could make you laugh in any kind of film. We cracked up watching him on The Andy Griffith Show, of course, but we even chuckled at his antics selling everything from Atari games to convenience store hot dogs.
Knotts began his commercial work in earnest during his time in Mayberry. The cast of the sitcom all pitched in to promote sponsors such as Post Cereals and Gaines Dog Food. Those spots could be seen during the broadcasts.
But the actor earned some extra income on the side by lending his celebrity to some unlikely products. Like go-karts and go-kart engines.
In 1962, the West Virginia native was the "ambassador" for McCulloch racing karts. The McCulloch Motors Corporation manufactured little racing motors (Knotts could hold one in a hand) from 1959 to 1977. Just as The Andy Griffith Show was taking off in the early Sixties, a go-kart boom swept America. Young Boomers were obsessed with motor culture. When they weren't harmonizing about surfing, the Beach Boys were singing odes to amusement parks and Honda scooters.
During that kart-racing craze, McCulloch went from manufacturing motors to constructing full frames and karts. (Today, the Wisconsin-rooted firm makes chainsaws.) The brand roped Don Knotts to help sell its karts.
In this 1961 promotional film, Knotts hardly speaks. He relies on his one-of-a-kind expressive face and body language to generate laughs, as one of those "Sixties Educational Films" voice guys extols the superior qualities of McCulloch karts.
Yes, Knotts dons a helmet, slips behind the tiny steering wheel, and zips around the track. He even gets the checkered flag — and the girl — in the end, too. Take a look.