Andy Griffith Tells About Moments Before Don Knotts Died

Andy Griffith on the Today show recounting the last few minutes before Don Knotts died at the age of 81 on February 24, 2006.

He also tells how Don Knotts called him to tell him he needed a deputy for the Andy Griffith Show.

Author: Andrew Godfrey

Retired from newspaper work after 38 years. Had served in the Army in Hawaii and Vietnam in the 60's. Am now retired and living in Sulphur, Louisiana.

34 thoughts on “Andy Griffith Tells About Moments Before Don Knotts Died”

  1. I Love the show and to this day, I never miss it. Also wish they would put MATLOCK ON the air.
    Thanks all you folks,for great shows of long ago.

      1. DITTO…besides my Dad, Andrew also who passed18 years ago, always resembled andy Griffith to date. Especially in his movie, No time for Sergeants and of course the Griffith show. Miss them both and I do watch the ‘re-runs always. Thank You Andrew Godfrey.

      2. Doreen, Thank you for the kind words. I liked No Time Sergeants so much, that I watched it three times in a row. It was daylight, when we watched the first show, but after the third time it was dark and we had to walk over a dark bridge over the Red River to get home.

    1. Still watch the re-runs of Andy and surprise my son when I can know their lines pretty regularly from seeing each episode SO many times – 50 to 100 times, maybe MORE!

  2. Andy, I am watching andy Griffith show now on TV Land,till 11am, so it has been wonderful to converse with you. Sometime I will catch up with you again. It has been interesting on what you feel,needless to say. Thanks again,Doreen

    1. Andy Griffith is one of the few shows I never get tired of. Especially the shows when Barney is featured. My favorite episode was Barney singing in the choir. I liked it when Barney volunteered to find out who was singing off-key, when he was the one singing off-key.

  3. Yes, you’re right,but besides andy and Barney…you can not forget Ernest T.Bass, as he’s known as “the nut”I do get a kick out of him! HE is a nut.,Otis also, but my favorite is Opie’ s Charity! When Andy tries to explain to him about ,there’s 2and a half boys which is a ratio, and Opie Says hooray ratio who… and aunt bee the warden great one. TTYL.

  4. Don Knotts and Andy Griffith were two of the best actors in the history of television, I’ve met many of my childhood stars but these two passed before I had the chance, if they were in real life half as nice as on the show they were great (and I’m sure they were) im so sad these guys are no longer around the world got a little darker when they were taken away.
    God bless
    It’s me its me its earnest T lol
    Love that show
    Thanks Andrew Godfrey

    1. Cary, Thank you for the kind words. I first saw Don and Andy in No Time For Sergeants in 1958 movie. It was one of the funniest movies ever, and then 2 years later they were on the Andy Griffith Show.

  5. Yes, you’re all correct! But my favorite shows were when Andy and Barney got in hot water with their girl friends, usually Barney’s fault of course. But what an actor, just came naturally. By the way, Helen (Andy’s girl), and Thelma Lou weren’t bad either, nor the whole cast. They just made you feel like you were actually there, Great scripts and producing, unlike anything I know of at least. Even the preacher at my church has the show’s DVDs, claims they pick up his spirits when he’s feeling down sometimes(not often I hope). I just wish there was a way to dub in different scripts using these original videos, don’t you all. Maybe someone like Steve Jobs will find a way! Till then we can still be greatful for the old originals, but wonder if they have any bloopers on record.Anyone know?

    1. This is one blooper from the show:

      Barney’s Physical – S5-E2
      Other mistake: In this episode (aired Sep. ’64) Barney tells Andy that 5 years ago on May 16 (1959) he joined the sheriff’s office, and later they all have a surprise party for Barney. However, in 4×11 “Citizen’s Arrest” (aired Dec. ’63) Andy tells Barney that he found, “The custody receipt for the first revolver I issued you… August, 1953… 10 years ago last month since I swore you in.” Andy even mentions having a party with a cake that has 10 candles on it.

      This link takes readers to even more bloopers:

  6. Many years go I danced every Saturday night with “Don” at a USO in Chicago. Never knew who he was…no time to talk when dancing! Be it a waltz, rumba, polka, or lindy, he was fantastic. He was always a gentleman and was kind enough to give my friends and I a ride home one rainy night in a fantastic car….He must be really be someone we said!! Years later I realized he was Don Knotts! Thank you Don for letting me be your dance partner….God bless and wherever you are, keep dancing!!!

  7. I’m 57 now and I’ve been watching them all my life. The early ones are the best. I hated to see Don Knotts and Jim Neighbors leave. I love the episode where Gomer is deputized, given a rifle or shotgun, and sent to the roof of the courthouse as a lookout. He’d doze off with the gun in his lap and then when awakened he’d drop the gun off the roof. Or when ole Barn got locked into the armored car with a tommy gun and was taken for a wild ride. Gomer had put gas in the armored car by pumping it into the gun port. Goober was okay but nothing will ever compare to the early regulars. Ron Howard’s dad and little brother were on there also, for a few of the episodes.

    1. You mentioned a lot of the best Andy Griffith shows. Don Knotts for some reason thought Andy was going to end the show after 5 years, so Don had other acting jobs lined up. So there was no Barney in the last 3 years of the show. Andy Griffith was funny, but Barney was the one that made the show so funny.

  8. On my 16th birthday I went to work for Safeway grocery stores as a box boy and shortly there after met Ms. Frances Bavier, ( Aunt Bee ) and she was delighted to be recognized by me and the female checker. As I recall she was very sweet to us. Then when I went to the hospital to viisit my mom I got into the elevator with Mr. Howard Morris, ( Earnest T. Bass ) and had a fun little chit chat. Then when I was Director of Security for a huge media company one of the parking lot attendance notified me that one of the characters of the Andy Griffith show was at the Tiffany Theater, (one of the locations that I was responsible for as well). When I asked him if he knew who it was, he said, ” its the guy who played the deputy “. OH MY GOD!!! I couldn’t run fast enough to the theater. When I arrived through the front entrance I spotted Mr. Don Knotts immediately, sitting on a round sofa. I went up to him and said. ” Mr. Knotts, thank you so much for giving me such great childhood memories and that although all the characters on the show were all wonderful to watch, I liked you the best. And that without him in the show it just was never the same “. He smiled and said in a very soft voice as he shook my hand, ” Thank you so much for saying that it means a lot to me “. Whenever I see a rerun of the Andy Griffith show I always thank god that I had the unbelievable privilege of meeting my favorite character of the show…before he left us. God Bless you Mr.Knotts and hope I we meet again. Just one of your millions of fans…Rick Hernandez.

    1. Rick….Thank you very much for posting your memories of meeting Frances Bavier, Howard Morris and Don Knotts. You got to do what most Andy Griffith Show fans only dream of doing, and that is actually meeting and talking with these icons of the Andy Griffith Show. Thank you for taking time to post your memories. It is very much appreciated.

  9. Both Don Knotts and Andy Griffith were great men, actors and true friends. I will never get tired of watching “The Andy Griffith Show”, as long as they are episodes that have Don Knotts in them.
    And, Mr. Godfrey, thank you for putting up this website. A church prayer group I belonged to a few years ago used episodes of The Andy Griffith Show to teach everyone that we’re missing the good things in life, like family, friends and honesty.

    1. Dave B., Thanks for the kind words. I too think Don Knotts and Andy Griffith were good men. The show was not as good after Barney left after 5 years. However, the ratings were still good the last 3 years after Barney left, but to me Barney made the show.

      I am impressed that a church prayer group used episodes of the show to teach life lessons, about the right way to live with God being their guidepost in living.

      I will never forget when my wife and daughter surprised me back in 2006, when we were visiting in Mt. Airy, N.C., by booking the boyhood home of Andy Griffith for a night. Hampton Inn was in charge of letting families stay at Andy’s real boyhood home. I assume they are still doing that. It was a special night for me, that I will always remember.

      1. I know I left this message 10 years and 8 months after his death.. But I just have to say this man was a major talent.. I just watched a few episodes of Andy Griffith.. And I absolutely love both he and Andy.. Aunt Bee also.. It just made life more bearable.. May all of the cast rest in peace.. Thanks for the memories.. Love Aaron..

      2. Aaron, Thank you for your comments. There were 249 Andy Griffith shows made. Andy was in all 249 episodes, while Barney was only in 150. Don Knotts thought the show was going to run for only 5 years, so signed contracts for movies and other shows like the Don Knotts Show on NBC. There was no way out of those contracts, so Barney was on the show only in guest appearances over the last years of the show. Betty Lynn who played Barney’s girlfriend Thelma Lou, who now is 90, Elinor Donahue played Andy’s girlfriend Ellie Walker is now 79 years old, Jim Nabors who played Gomer is 86, and Ron Howard who played Opie is now 62. I can’t think of any other cast members that are still alive.

        My favorite show is the show with Barney in the choir. That was a classic.

  10. Love, Love, Love the Andy Griffith Show. Watch it twice a day on ME station. All characters blended together perfectly. Andy’s knack for story telling is priceless. Family life lessons he taught through Opie and Aunt Bee interaction will forever leave me feeling warm inside just like they did Mr. Tucker-favorite episode where this businessman headed to Charlotte was forever changed by the Mayberry simple life. I’d gladly watch that episode everyday for a therapeutic reboot. My late husband’s favorite was Barney locking up practically the whole town with the kicker being the Mayor charged with loitering-What a Hoot!

    1. I too loved the Mr. Tucker episode. Jack Burns was not even close to being as funny as Don Knotts was as Barney Fife. I will never forget Barney stopping his own mother at a roadblock and telling her “Us lawmen can’t be too careful”. Another favorite was the Barney and the Choir episode, when Barney was pretending to sing, while a real singer behind the stage was singing. The Andy Griffith Show to me was and still is television at its best, and a show you can watch with anyone. You can’t do that today with the garbage they have on TV today. I am shocked by what they put on TV today.

  11. I loved the episode where Barney and Floyd went fishing and were kidnapped by the lady convicts that had escaped from prison. I still laugh when Floyd keeps calling Barney ‘Al’.

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