Betty Lynn remembered her first time playing Thelma Lou with Don Knotts
Knotts would read Lynn his poetry.
Thelma Lou and Barney Fife were a match made in heaven, and it's so much sweeter to watch these two characters love each other onscreen knowing that in real life, the actors were just as close.
In Karen Knott's book Tied Up In Knotts: My Dad and Me, Knotts' daughter was able to get the inside scoop on the beginnings of Thelma Lou from the woman herself, Betty Lynn. Lynn recounted her beginnings on The Andy Griffith Show and said, "I was kind of shocked when I got called in to read the part."
Karen wrote that Lynn and her father became fast friends when they first met, though Lynn had seen Knotts' previous work in other roles. Lynn said, "I had seen his performances in other things. He was very quiet, very smart."
In her earlier moments on the show, Lynn had what's called a "hold" placed on her as an actress, which simply meant that Lynn had to clear her schedule just in case the creators decided to include her character in the episode and offer her a chance to come shoot an episode on set.
Lynn recalled her and Knotts' working together, and said, "I loved doing it!" She said, "I had never studied acting, and your daddy hadn't either. Both of us, here we are, playing side by side, and neither one of us had gone to acting school."
Lynn also remembered moments on set between scenes when Knotts read some of his original work to her. Lynn said, "Sometimes when we were waiting for them to set up a shot, Don would visit with me. He would tell me he was a poet; he had some poems he'd written, and he would read them to me."