Don Knotts asked Tina Louise of ''Gilligan's Island'' out once a week for an entire year

The Andy Griffith Show/Gilligan's Island crossover we never knew we needed.

It's the sort of storyline that almost feels like it could be fresh out of an episode of The Andy Griffith Show. Barney Fife pursues a beautiful woman, unaware that she has no interest in him, for far longer than he should have. In fact, this isn't a funny bit of fiction; it's a real-life anecdote from the life of Don Knotts. 

Despite Knotts's performance as a bumbling comic foil to Griffith's straight man, Knotts himself was actually known as quite the ladies' man. In her book, Tied Up in Knotts: My Dad and Me, Don Knotts's daughter, Karen Knotts, wrote, "Women loved Dad because of his vulnerability and, of course, he made them laugh." Knotts had three wives throughout his life and even more romances. If you don't understand the appeal of a funny man, we're sorry for you, but Karen Knotts was kind enough to include a wonderful explanation from Nancy, the once-wife of John Ritter who had starred with Don Knotts on Three's Company.

Nancy said, "I saw Don as the man who was quiet, kind, respectful, warm with the greetings, self-contained; it's hard to achieve all that. He went from being a highly sophisticated gentleman to the biggest goofball with a rubbery face. There's almost nothing sexier than someone who can be hilarious. He makes you laugh when he's being a pro."

Of course, not everyone was falling for Don Knotts. The book recounted another story, this time from Knotts's friend, Joni Robbins. Robbins recalled Knotts telling her that he had previously tried to win the affections of one Tina Louise, one of the stars of Gilligan's Island, and he was less than successful. The book recalled, "He had a thing for redheads, and she had given him her phone number. Every week, he'd call and ask if she'd like to go out on Saturday night. She'd say, 'Oh, I'm sorry, I have other plans, but could you call me next week?' This went on for about a year until he finally realized how naive he'd been."

So while Tina Louise was immune to Knotts's charms, we need not feel too sorry for him. Because of his humor and big heart, Knotts was never short of love, both from partners and friends alike.

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49 Comments

ColorTVisapassingfad 4 months ago
I met Don Knotts three times, the first was in 1971 backstage on Steve Allen's syndicated program. He always had a beautiful Showgirl on his arm. Clearly he had something going for him.
Beatseeker 4 months ago
aww... come on, tina... once you go fife, ya can't go back....
IndianaRockz 4 months ago
Everybody loves Don Knotts.
After reading the above I realized I too have never heard anyone say they don't like him.
The only other actor I can say that about is Dan "Hoss" Blocker.
They might have made a interesting team together.
obectionoverruled 4 months ago
She got old and dumpy, he just got funnier and funnier, so who really won out?
Actually she looks old in the face, because she's almost 90, but she's actually still slender, and exercises regularly. Too bad they're both not still alive! No need to put her down, but she should've told him upfront that she simply wasn't interested, but after a few times he should've probably got the message!
top_cat_james_1 4 months ago
Sounds as if Donny was hankering for the red carpet treatment.
Tresix 4 months ago
Reminds me of a skit on “The Electric Company”: A man is singing about his pursuit of a girl to his friend. He says the girl tells him “I’m free the second Tuesday of next week.” The friend informs him “There’s only one Tuesday next week!” The man asks “Do you think she’s playing hard to get?” The friend replies “I think she’s playing impossible to get.”
cperrynaples Tresix 4 months ago
How did that get on a PBS educational show? Sounds more like a TCBS sketch! I can picture Harvey & Tim appearing in it!
Tresix cperrynaples 4 months ago
I always felt “The Electric Company” was sort of like “Laugh-In” for children.
MikefromJersey Tresix 4 months ago
There was a "kids" show in the 1960's in Chicago that was known for slipping in adult humor.
Chicago's WGN was the cutting edge for kids shows in the 60's.
WGN did a terrific documentary about it, "Bozo, Gar and Ray" some 15 years ago.
Chicago had the BEST Bozo, Gar was Garfield Goose, Ray Rayner & His Friends was
Ray hosting a cartoon show. MeTV ought to consider rerunning those shows, they
might have the potential to take off and probably wouldn't cost a lot to get.
There was also Diver Dan, I loved him but then my older brothers started calling me
Diaper Dan. Boy that cheesed me off.
Tresix MikefromJersey 4 months ago
WGN shows that doc every year between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. I was around for all three of the shows mentioned.
MikefromJersey Tresix 4 months ago
Hi Tresix,
A fellow fan, glad to know there are others around.
Good to know they still run that documentary, my cable system dropped WGN many years ago.
I think Chicago's Bozo would appeal today, for kids of all ages, it was in color and the cast's genuine affection for each other shown through.
Plus you got a look at all the period toys that were displayed as prizes, when at the end of
each episode they pulled a kid out of the audience. He/she would try to throw a ball
into a row of 5 buckets, a bigger prize with each bucket till you got to the end and won
a red wagon. I recall that vividly because my older brother Greg constantly wrote in
trying to get audience tickets, hoping to get a shot at the goodies, I had visions of
going with him and meeting Bozo.
Tresix MikefromJersey 4 months ago
The Grand Prize Game. I remember a bicycle being the prize for hitting bucket number six. Plus the cash from them adding a dollar until a child hit bucket six. I think in the show’s final season, both the boy and the girl hit bucket six.
MikefromJersey Tresix 4 months ago
You are probably right regarding the number of buckets, it's been a long time since I saw
the show. My oldest bro remembers a bike was the big prize too, but I would have sworn it
was a wagon...maybe one season it was wagons? Anyway, thanks for sharing the memory.
BostonPete 4 months ago
Well at least we know Barney Fife was a Ginger man.
I myself was partial to Mary Ann. Lol.
MikefromJersey BostonPete 4 months ago
Forget Ginger and Mary Ann, Juanita at the diner was the cat's meow according to my
sources in Mayberry.
Runeshaper 4 months ago
I don't like when people lead others on. It's bad form on so many levels.
sjbang88 Runeshaper 4 months ago
She just didn’t want to hurt his feelings
Runeshaper sjbang88 4 months ago
Well, she definitely may have. Either way, I'm glad he found love elsewhere.
dazeofwine 4 months ago
That's hard to picture.
Wiseguy70005 dazeofwine 4 months ago
I still can't picture Ernest Borgnine and Ethel Merman married to each other.
Moverfan Wiseguy70005 4 months ago
As I recall, it didn't even last for two weeks, so apparently they couldn't either...
cperrynaples Moverfan 4 months ago
Yes, in her autobiography, Ethel wrote a chapter titled "My Marriage To Ernest Borgnine"! It was a blank page...LOL!
AgingDisgracefully 4 months ago
Any truth to the rumor Alan Hale yearned for the proverbial "heapin' helpin'" of Frances Bavier?
Well he was on TAGS, so who knows?
JHP 4 months ago
BARN BARN BARN,,,wasn't Juanita, Miss Rosemary, Hilda Mae or Thelma good enuf? :)

Cant see Tina running around with a.......Squirt
MrSchwamp JHP 4 months ago
Didn't he also have something going with Limley Gilbert?
JHP MrSchwamp 4 months ago
the name doesnt ring a bell - he had the brief encounter with "that college girl" and the couple that had a promise lawsuit (Jackie Coogan was the schist-er hubby)
GoUTVols1961 MrSchwamp 4 months ago
It was Phoebe Gilbert. Her brother was Lemley Gilbert. It was in the episode titled "Opie's Fortune" when he found the $50.00.
Andybandit 4 months ago
I don't mean to be mean, but I don't see TL and DK dating each other. They are too different.
memphiscate08 4 months ago
Don Knotts a ladies’ man? Please. Some people think we’ll believe anything!
memphiscate08 4 months ago
This comment has been removed.
Well,he did do a movie called The Love God! However, there was a question mark in the title...LOL!
JHP cperrynaples 4 months ago
didn't Peter Lorre co-star in that flick? :)
cperrynaples JHP 4 months ago
Not sure, and isn't that a photo of the guy who voiced Jimmity Cricket?
Sooner memphiscate08 4 months ago
My sister sometimes drove a limo for him, and she verifies he did very well with the ladies. I didn't believer her at the time, no matter how much of a favorite of mine he was.
I too, at first, found it hard to believe that Don Knotts was a real ladies man, but I have read references to that for at least 30 years.
justjeff 4 months ago
I think Tina Louise did Don a favor. Her diva-ish mentality was not worthy of Don's charm and talent.

By the way - from personal experience - I have more respect for a woman who directly (but politely) declines to go out with me rather than asks me to keep calling back. My question to that kind of a woman is... "If you weren't really interested, why did you waste *both* of our time by giving me your number?" (Short answer...stroking her own ego! )...
Calhoun1959 justjeff 4 months ago
Totally agree
tootsieg justjeff 4 months ago
Well said.
justjeff tootsieg 4 months ago
Thank you...
cherylgafner 4 months ago
Awwwwwwwww, that makes me a little sad.
FrankensteinLover 4 months ago
She should have just been Blunt and told him to Nip it in the Bud.
FrankensteinLover 4 months ago
This comment has been removed.
JHP FrankensteinLover 4 months ago
thank you so much - you gave me my morning laugh:):):)
cperrynaples JHP 4 months ago
Yeah, and I guess I went too far with the "nip it" joke!
JHP cperrynaples 4 months ago
I dont think so:)
I missed the joke before they removed it lol
McGillahooala 4 months ago
To me that sounds pathetic but these ladies man types often just persist until they wear down the woman’s resolve. Sounds like Tina was just a bridge too far.
JHP McGillahooala 4 months ago
amen-a-roni - DK a ladies man?

"we call barney - the chicken"
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