Old School Americana & Nostalgia


‘The Andy Griffith Show’: Why Don Knotts Drove Andy Griffith to Punching Walls

‘The Andy Griffith Show’: Why Don Knotts Drove Andy Griffith to Punching Walls

Among the great television duos to come across screens, one has to rank Andy Griffith and Don Knotts up there. The magic that they concocted while working together on The Andy Griffith Show is so funny. Some shows may not hold up due to the passage of time. Some think the same thing applies to Griffith’s show. Yet the plots and dialogue still hold up pretty well.

There’s a lot of laughter that goes on when watching this show. While we as viewers have been guffawing at Andy and Barney forever, they, too, were having a good time. Griffith simply could not contain his laughter.

If one didn’t know better, a person might think old Andy was having a fit. And not in a good way! Never fear, though. Griffith just simply enjoyed being around Knotts and his humor.

Andy Griffith Could Not Hold Back His Laughter

As an example, let’s take a look at Karen Knotts’ book Tied Up In Knotts: My Dad and Me. Yes, Karen is Don’s daughter and meticulously offers tender details about her father and his work. One area where she made sure to be extra careful was writing about Don’s time on The Andy Griffith Show.

One day, Karen was on the Griffith show’s set. She recalls what happened while she was there.

“At the end of the dialogue, everyone stayed mouse-quiet until the director yelled, ‘Cut!’” she wrote. “Then a roar of laughter erupted from the crew – they were laughing at Dad’s performance!”

The laughter, as we noted, could get the best of Griffith, too. “Andy went into hysterics at just about everything Dad did,” Karen Knotts wrote, according to MeTV. “I’ve never seen anyone laugh like Andy; it was an event. First, he’d throw his head back and laugh, ‘Ha, ha, ha, ha!!’ Then, he’d start to stomp around. I was shocked at his next move — he punched a hole in a set wall.”

Knotts knew that Griffith did this and it amused him. But Don Knotts had an incredible knack for making material work. Whether it was through a facial look or a physical pratfall, Knotts could do it and make it look real.

Don Knotts Probably Was Amused By Andy’s Actions

When Griffith would go punching holes in the set walls, they needed to be fixed. Knotts knew this. That’s what led him to say this to his daughter. “When I mentioned it to Dad, he said, ‘You know who really loves Andy’s laugh? The grips on set who make overtime pay patching up those holes,’” Karen Knotts wrote.

Looking back on the show’s first season, Griffith and Knotts were figuring out how they would work well together. At first, Griffith tried to be the funny one while also having Knotts and his humor, too. Pretty soon, though, Griffith saw himself as being a straight man to Knotts. That means Andy would forego trying to get the laughs for himself to a degree. He was OK to let Knotts tie himself up in different ways to get that laugh. It worked like magic.

Knotts left The Andy Griffith Show after five seasons, heading out to have a movie career. He made occasional guest appearances during the show’s final three seasons. It allowed the show’s fans to see Andy and Barney working together one more time.