Many years after they first worked together, Andy Griffith would recall the first time that he saw his costar Don Knotts perform. Griffith and Knotts made classic TV magic together on The Andy Griffith Show. It was Griffith as Andy Taylor opposite Knotts’ Barney Fife. They both had careers before appearing in the CBS sitcom. Griffith would remember seeing Knotts when talking with David Letterman on Late Night with David Letterman.
Andy Griffith Remembers The First Time Seeing Costar Don Knotts Perform
“Don is a very good friend of mine,” Griffith said of his longtime costar Don Knotts. “And the first time I ever saw him was the first day of rehearsal of No Time for Sergeants. And Don played a part in that and he and I became friends during the run of that show. When I did the pilot for my old show, I didn’t know he was free and he called me and wanted to be on it. And it’s the best thing that ever happened to that show.”
The pairing of Griffith and Knotts was magical. They worked well off of one another and, in fact, Griffith made a switch in characters. It was in their traits and humor a little bit. When The Andy Griffith Show first started airing in 1960, it was Griffith who would be angling for the laughs. Something seemed a bit off to the show’s lead actor. A switch was made: Knotts would go for the laughs and Griffith would be the straight man. It worked like a charm.
Griffith, Knotts Would Work Together Again In ‘Return to Mayberry’
Both of them would find success apart after the show ended in 1968. By that time, Knotts established himself in the movie world with films like The Reluctant Astronaut and The Ghost and Mr. Chicken. Griffith did come back in the 1970s and try other TV shows. There even was a show titled The New Andy Griffith Show which didn’t have the same cast together as the previous one.
Fans wanted to see them work together again. The Andy Griffith Show would become a classic TV staple across the United States. As you heard in the video, Griffith mentions that at the time of the interview in 1985, the show was sometimes being shown three times a day in some TV markets. That TV movie would become Return to Mayberry and did feature Griffith, Knotts, and Ron Howard as a grown-up Opie Taylor. Also, it had appearances from Jim Nabors and George Lindsey in their roles as Gomer and Goober Pyle, respectively. Seeing Andy Griffith and costar Don Knotts one more time did sit well with their longtime fans and even new ones.