Don Knotts would remember the first time meeting Andy Griffith of the classic TV show The Andy Griffith Show many years later. Knotts, who played Deputy Barney Fife opposite Griffith’s Sheriff Andy Taylor, shared his recollections with Conan O’Brien. The actor-comedian was appearing on the NBC talk show Late Night with Conan O’Brien.
Don Knotts Of ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Remembers First Meeting Andy Griffith
Their first meeting happened in connection with NBC’s 30 Rock in New York City. “Well it’s kind of a long story but there used to be a drug store down there called Cromwells where all the actors hung out,” Knotts said. “I was in there one day and somebody said, ‘You should go down and see Morris Evans. They’re putting a play on Broadway called No Time for Sergeants.’
“So I ran out of here and went down to see Morris Evans and I got a reading in the thing and got a part in the play,” Knotts said. “And the play starred Andy Griffith. And that’s how we became friends.” No Time for Sergeants was a hit and would eventually be turned into a movie. Griffith played Will Stockdale in the play and movie. Knotts portrayed a character who expressed nervous movements. If one looks at the movie, one could see that the magic between Knotts and Griffith did work.
Knotts Played Barney Fife For Five Seasons Before Going On To Movie Career
They would then share time on the CBS sitcom together for five seasons. Knotts wanted to stay with the show much longer but he thought Griffith just wanted to do it for five seasons and that’s it. Well, Griffith would then say that he wanted to continue doing the sitcom. Knotts didn’t know this right away and he went off to look for more work. It ended up that Knotts got a movie deal with Universal Pictures and his movie career got a big boost from it.
But The Andy Griffith Show was good for Knotts. As a regular cast member, he won Emmy Awards. When Knotts would come back as a guest star on the show, those appearances also would end up bringing him more Emmys. The rubber-faced funnyman would find himself back in a sitcom in the 1970s as Ralph Furley on Three’s Company.
He did work with Griffith again on Andy’s court drama Matlock. It’s been reported that Griffith was not a fan of Knotts’ turn on the ABC sitcom. In fact, when his longtime friend showed up to appear on Matlock, Griffith had to ask Knotts to tone down his performances. He didn’t need to be over the top on the drama, something Griffith felt Knotts did way too much on Three’s Company.