Nearly all of the cast of The Andy Griffith Show would agree that actor Don Knotts, who portrayed Barney Fife on the classic comedy, played an enormous part in its success.
From his rubber-faced expressions to his manic scene-stealing moments, Knotts was a fan favorite.
Here’s the Griffith Show episode that Knotts admitted was one of his favorites.
Knotts ‘made the show a hit’
One would need to go no further than The Andy Griffith Show star himself, who told the Television Academy Foundation at one time that it was Knotts who made the show what it was. If not for him, Griffith said, the show wouldn’t have made it even into a month.
“What made the show a hit was Don,” Griffith said. “What I didn’t like about the show was they had me as sheriff, justice of the peace, editor of the paper, and I tell little funny stories about people around town. That would have lasted maybe two weeks.”
Griffith acknowledged that he disliked the show’s concept a great deal at first, until Knotts joined the show.
“It was just too homey,” Griffith said of the show’s pilot, which appeared on The Danny Thomas Show in 1960. “When Don joined the company, the second episode was called “Manhunt,” and I knew by that episode that Don should be the comic and I should play straight for him. That made all the difference.”
The episode that was one of Knotts’ favorites
Knotts, who died in 2006 at 81, had a number of episodes in which his comic talent shone brightly. The episode he considered one of his best-loved, however, didn’t necessarily feature him in the majority of scenes. It was “The Pickle Story,” an episode centered on Aunt Bee’s efforts to win a ribbon at the fair for her homemade pickles, unaware that no one likes her pickles at all, as Knotts told the Television Academy Foundation.
“[Aunt Bee] made these pickles every year and they were terrible,” the actor explained. “And Andy and I, we had a scene where we had to eat some of them. Then she decided to enter the pickles in a pickle contest. We thought, ‘Lord, she’ll be terrible,’ so we sneak some store-bought pickles in for hers. It was a nice, sweet story but it had a lot of fun to it, too. It was one of my favorite episodes.”
Asked if he had to eat a lot of pickles for the episode, Knotts laughed and said, “Oh yeah, because we had to keep shooting scenes over and over again. I don’t know how many we ate that day.
This ‘Griffith Show’ actor wasn’t crazy about ‘The Pickle Story’
Ron Howard wasn’t as fond of “The Pickle Story” as Knotts was. It wasn’t so much the episode’s plot as the sour, mouth-puckering content.
“I hated pickles so much,” he told the Academy. “Biting those pickles was just an unbelievable burden. It was a chore, painful. What I remember of the pickle episode is just all the wincing and frowning,” he said, laughing. “The acting came in trying to act like I enjoyed the pickles.”