Over the years, viewers loved the classic American TV show, The Andy Griffith Show. The small town of Mayberry, North Carolina was cheerful and charming. The friendship between Sheriff Andy Taylor and Deputy Barney Fife was heartwarming and hilarious. What makes it even better is that, off-screen, Andy Griffith and Don Knotts were real-life best friends.
In remembrance of Griffith and Knotts, enjoy the above clip from the 1965 CBS special "Andy Griffith, Don Knotts, and Jim Nabors Show," in which Don Knotts hilariously can't remember The Gettysburg Address. This clip showcases the magical chemistry this duo had.
The comedic duo first met in 1955 after starring in a Broadway play together, No Time for Sergeants. After that, they found successful careers in Hollywood together.
"They were two Southern guys alone in Manhattan, so they were drawn to each other instantly," Daniel de Visé, Don's former brother-in-law told Closer Weekly.
Knotts grew up in West Virginia with a father who suffered from mental illness and alcohol abuse. He dealt with his traumatic childhood through therapy and found comfort in the world of entertainment and making other laugh -- especially Andy Griffith.
Ron Howard, who played Andy Taylor's son Opie, told Closer Weekly that their friendship was obvious behind the scenes of The Andy Griffith Show.
"There was a lot of playful, chaotic, rambunctious fun around the set, and Don was always willing to join in. Andy was the world's greatest audience for Don. He had Andy literally in tears once a week."
The book Andy & Don chronicles the kinship between the two men.
The comedic timing of the duo was perfect on the sitcom. Griffith as the straight man was the ideal launching pad for Knotts to shine as his kooky friend. Their bond turned The Andy Griffith Show into something special. There's a reason people continue to watch reruns decades later.
Outside of laughing at the antics of Barney Fife, the Taylor family, Aunt Bee, Gomer Pyle, and others, it created a world that you wished you could be a part of. The small-town life and its charming cast members give us a glimpse of a less chaotic existence than our daily lives; it's hard not to be captivated.
This article was originally published in March of 2020.