Andy Griffith Was Supposed to Be the Comic Lead on ‘The Andy Griffith Show,’ But Don Knotts Outshone Him

by Jeremy Spirogis
Andy Griffith Was Supposed to Be the Comic Lead on ‘The Andy Griffith Show,’ But Don Knotts Outshone Him

When The Andy Griffith Show started in 1960, Andy Griffith’s imaginative and prescient for this system featured himself because the comedian lead of the present.

Once second banana Don Knotts, who performed deputy Barney Fife, arrived on set, Griffith realized the dynamics had modified and so would his plans.

'The Andy Griffith Show' cast members
‘The Andy Griffith Show’ solid members | Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

Don Knotts invited himself to the ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ solid

Don Knotts realized that Andy Griffith was launching what seemed like a really humorous new comedy sequence when he noticed his friend on tv one evening on the Danny Thomas sitcom, The Danny Thomas Show in 1960.

According to Daniel de Visé, writer of 2015’s Andy and Don: The Making of a Friendship and a Classic American TV Show, Griffith’s pilot on Thomas’ present paved the way in which for the newer present’s success.

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De Visé wrote, “As Don beheld Andy on [television], ‘the wheels in my brain began to whirl,’ Don recalled. The part of Sheriff Andy Taylor seemed perfect for Andy. A show like that would be honey to the sponsors, with all its homespun charm. And Don wondered if there might be a place for him in Mayberry.”

Knotts instantly reached out to Griffith, with whom he had appeared on Broadway years earlier within the present No Time For Sergeants. Chatting with Griffith by cellphone, Knotts let him know he’d liked his pilot on Danny Thomas’ present and whereas he was at it, requested, ‘Listen, don’t you assume Sheriff Andy Taylor must have a deputy?’”

Andy Griffith was alleged to be the comedic star however Knotts modified every part

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As a lot as Griffith had the intention on his present of being the comedy lead, he realized when he started working with Don Knotts that, for the sake of the present, he must concede that dynamic to his present associate.

Don Knotts was that good.

“When Don joined the company,” Griffith informed the Archive of American Television in 1998, “the second episode was called ‘Manhunt,’ and I knew by that episode that Don should be the comic and I should play it straight for him and that made all the difference.”

Griffith and Knotts remained pals for all times

Andy Griffith, left, and Don Knotts in 2004Andy Griffith, left, and Don Knotts in 2004
Andy Griffith, left, and Don Knotts in 2004 | SGranitz/WireImage

In a 1999 interview, Don Knotts spoke on Griffith’s comedian timing and his delight merely at being on the present’s set.

Knotts mentioned of his former present associate, “[Andy] was enjoyable. I believe Andy had the time of his life on that present. Andy was very expressive.

“His wife used to say to me, ‘Don’t sit in front of Andy at the movies! If something funny hits him, he’ll hit you right on top of the head.’ That’s the way he is; he’ll hit the wall. If I said something funny to Andy, he’d run clear across the sound stage. He’s just very demonstrative. He’s fun to be around.”

De Visé wrote, “Though their Mayberry partnership lasted only until 1965, the two remained best friends for life. Andy was with Don in 2006 at his deathbed.”

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