Looks like Don Knotts was a noisy house guest just like Gomer
When Knotts visited his hometown, he stayed at his childhood friend’s house so he wouldn’t disrupt his mother.
In the fourth season of The Andy Griffith Show, Gomer Pyle wound up being welcomed to stay as long as he liked at Sheriff Taylor’s home for an episode called "Gomer the House Guest."
The episode paints Gomer as a loud and intrusive house guest, the kind of prolonged visitor who’s likely to do stuff like run a vacuum or welcome company at all hours.
On The Andy Griffith Show, it wasn’t all that uncommon for Griffith to have a castmate as his houseguest, and as author Daniel de Visé writes in the book Andy and Don: The Making of a Friendship and a Classic American TV Show, it was more likely to be Don Knotts camping out in the guest room.
Knotts became a frequent house guest of his closest friends throughout his life, whether he was crashing at Andy Griffith’s any time filming kept him from home or bunking up at his childhood best friend’s house in Morgantown when he visited his mother in West Virginia.
The story goes that when Knotts first found fame on The Andy Griffith Show, the first thing he wanted to do was buy his mother Elsie a new house. He finally got the opportunity after he made the movie The Ghost and Mr. Chicken.
When Knotts asked his mom where she wanted to live, she was certain she could live nowhere but their hometown. Together they found the perfect house, and Knotts paid $10,500 to move his mom on up in her own modest way.
Because his mom stuck around Morgantown and because they remained extremely close, Knotts returned to his hometown throughout his life to visit his mom, usually in the summertime.
According to de Visé, though, Knotts preferred to stay with his old schoolboy friend Jarvie Eldred on these visits, rather than intrude on his mom’s quiet house.
That way, the old pals could spend time together too, and Knotts wouldn’t disrupt his mom if any of his other friends decided to drop by. These fun-loving friends were much more welcome in Jarvie’s living room.
From the sound of it, Knotts was just as loud a house guest as Gomer was on The Andy Griffith Show, but it seems that Jarvie didn’t mind. Sometimes when Knotts came to town, they’d go out for hot dogs like the good old days, when they were boys and things were simpler.
In his book, de Visé said there were plenty of times when Don’s mom Elsie would make a trip out to see him, too.
During those visits, Elsie would stay with Don and his wife Kay, but she never quite got accustomed to what she viewed as their high society living, in a fancy house with fancy friends.
As uncomfortable being her son’s overly quiet house guest as Don would’ve been bringing his loud lifestyle into her living room, it’s said that Elsie would choose to eat in the kitchen with the housekeeper, rather than meet Don’s famous friends at the dinner table.
On The Andy Griffith Show, Gomer’s depicted as a bad house guest because he runs on his own schedule.
Although this episode centers on Nabors, now we know the premise struck home for Knotts and his family. Whether you’re a loud or quiet type, it’s not easy feeling out of sync with the routines of regular home life, whatever that looks like.