Old School Americana & Nostalgia


Don Knotts Once Mortified His Daughter by Crashing Her College Campus in a Mayberry Squad Car

Don Knotts Once Mortified His Daughter by Crashing Her College Campus in a Mayberry Squad Car

Don Knotts may be viewed only through his Barney Fife character in Mayberry yet he did embrace this role for The Andy Griffith Show. He knew that people loved his spot, And having a long friendship with Griffith ended up paying off in a big way.

Karen Knotts, Don’s daughter, has shared some of her thoughts and experiences in the book Tied Up in Knotts: My Dad and Me. Several events she writes about revolve around her father and that famous sitcom. Karen, though, shared about one time when her dad showed up while she was in college.

She wanted some type of independence and separation from her father. That’s what college-age kids usually want. “As much as I loved Dad and was proud of his success, I longed to be in a place where I could just be Karen Knotts for a change,” she wrote in her book, according to MeTV. She joined a sorority to get a life of her own.

Students Turn Their Heads, Find Don Knotts in Car

As she was waiting in line to go to a sorority rush event, Karen noticed people’s heads were turning around. They were moving left and right. “I heard someone say, ‘It’s Don Knotts!’ I followed their heads, and sure enough, there was my father. He’d been following me!” Karen Knotts wrote.

Karen could have gotten angry with Don at this moment. When he reached her, though, Karen wrote this is what he said. “Well honey, I want to make sure you’re gonna be OK your first week on your own. You’re independent now. But if you ever need me, I’m just a phone call away. I’m a Knotts, and that’s plural, not possessive,” Don Knotts said, according to Karen.

Well, Karen Knotts must have felt good that her father loved her enough to show up that way. She loved hanging around with him, especially on the Griffith show’s set. But Don had some reservations about her time on the set. “Dad didn’t take us to the set for at least two seasons,” Karen Knotts said. “He didn’t want us to miss school and I was getting impatient. He finally announced that when we had our next school vacation, we would make our first visit to the set.”

Don Knotts Left Show, Went On To Make Films

When she got to the set, she became fast friends with Ron Howard and Betty Lynn.

Don Knotts left The Andy Griffith Show after five seasons. He went on to star in movies like The Shakiest Gun in the West, The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, and The Love God. In everything that Karen has shared about Don, it shows that he took time to be with her.

Knotts last played Fife in The Andy Griffith Show reunion movie, Return to Mayberry. He had made a name for himself on TV with his contributions on The Steve Allen Show. Knotts also spent time with Griffith playing in the Broadway play No Time for Sergeants. His final full-time TV role came in Griffith’s legal drama show, Matlock.

Knotts’ book is full of stories and anecdotes about her father. It’s obvious that they had a very special relationship, one she still holds onto dearly.