Don Knotts grew up getting free haircuts in his uncle's barber shop

Like Floyd's Barber Shop in Mayberry, Knotts spent many hours there.

One of the most cherished episodes to take place in Floyd’s Barber Shop is "The Bookie Barber," which came in the second season of The Andy Griffith Show.

In the episode, Floyd hires a second barber, who it turns out is actually a bookie.

This prompts Deputy Barney Fife to go undercover, appearing at the barber shop not in his police uniform but disguised as a woman.

For Don Knotts, who played Barney Fife, hanging out in a barber shop wasn’t a new activity when he arrived in Mayberry.

In the book Andy and Don: The Making of a Friendship and a Classic TV Show, author Daniel de Visé wrote that as a young boy, Knotts would scurry off from his childhood home frequently to hang out for hours on end at his uncle’s barber shop.

Knotts’ uncle was not called Floyd, but at Uncle Lawrence’s barber shop, Knotts found a community to nestle into just like Mayberry had in Floyd’s.

It was possibly while there that Knotts learned how to hold an audience rapt.

"Uncle Lawrence, in some ways an antecedent to Mayberry’s Floyd, would keep the customers laughing for hours with jokes and tall tales, while Don sat and soaked it up," de Visé wrote in his book.

It was also at Uncle Lawrence’s where Knotts, who rose to fame in part because of his striking appearance with protruding ears and wide eyes, would get his famous ears lowered.

According to de Visé, if Knotts hung around long enough, once the last paying customer had left Uncle Lawrence’s chair, young Don would be invited to hop up at last, don a cape, and enjoy a free haircut.

You might think that maybe Uncle Lawrence helped inspire the character of Floyd the Barber, being so close to Knotts’ heart growing up, but there’s long been a mild controversy over who exactly inspired the beloved Mayberry barber.

It might be best to avoid the trouble and say all barbers did.

The controversy started when a barber in the real world named Russell Hiatt, who has a shop in Andy Griffith’s hometown Mt. Airy, famously claimed that he cut Griffith’s hair as a boy when The Andy Griffith Show first became popular.

He renamed his shop Floyd’s Barber Shop, and since then, his connection to the character has been stamped into history under the feet of tourists, as many fans of The Andy Griffith Show consider Hiatt’s shop part of TV history.

Griffith has disputed that Hiatt ever cut his hair, though, and all we really know for sure is that the barbers who cut Andy’s hair when he was growing up served as inspiration for Floyd, whoever they were.

It’s possible that having that shared experience as a boy who spent all his time in a barber shop meant that when Knotts looked at Howard McNear, he saw a little of his Uncle Lawrence.

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kendel7 28 months ago
My father was a barber, so my cuts were also free......
eugenebelvinandmoosefan8 29 months ago
Andy Griffith and Don Knotts were
Wonderful Actors and I miss both of them and I miss other actors I liked also. As long as film and tapes exist
Andy Griffith and Andy Taylor and
Don Knotts will LIVE FOREVER ON
FILM. The good thing about movies and video tapes is that actors like
John Wayne ETC and other actors is
that all of these actors can entertain
Us decades after they pass away.
As long as film and tapes exist
these actors like Andy Griffith and
Don Knotts will always be with us.
These actors and actresses will also
Live in our hearts and minds and
Memories Forever.
Andy Taylor and Barney Fife will
ALWAYS be a part of our TV and
Movies History.
Andy Griffith
Don Knotts
Farewell to two wonderful actors!!
eugenebelvinandmoosefan8 29 months ago
Unique Question:
What does Mr. Schump from The
Andy Griffith Show have in common
With Moose on Happy Days?
cantorpennerandpeeweefan 29 months ago
Sorry to disappoint, No vanishing, From February 4, 2022.
cantorpennerandpeeweefan 29 months ago
Does anyone know if Svengoolie has ever shown The Ghost And Mr Chicken with Don Knotts.
I wonder if Svengoolie got his name
From the similar name of SVENGALI
Which was a 1931 movie with John Barrymore as SVENGALI and actress
I wish that Svengoolie would show
the 1931 movie SVENGALI.
Much like MeTV's homepage, Svengoolie (although a Saturday evening scheduled program) has a (website, homepage)of their own, with a Contact link for your questions and wishes. There is also a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section about programs, schedule and general questions. It appears Rich Koz does answer questions posted to the page.
obectionoverruled 29 months ago
If ever a person was born to fulfill a role, Don Knotts aka Barney Fife was the guy! Andy Griffith was nothing without him. Everything funny on this show revolves around the facial expressions, idiotic schemes and melodramatic actions exhibited by the small town assistant sheriff with the single round kept securely in his shirt pocket.
Steve2021 29 months ago
Don always had his hair comb back,except when Skippy had her hand in his hair.
Zip Steve2021 29 months ago
Or when he would get miffed and brush his hair backwards with his hands.
daDoctah 29 months ago
I always felt that Floyd was part of the inspiration for Archie Campbell's barber shop storytelling on "Hee Haw".
Andybandit 29 months ago
I hope Don Knotts's Uncle had the same personality as Floyd the Barber. He was a nice and funny guy.
Pacificsun 29 months ago
Loved the story. Such a great example of how talent can become inspired.
MrsPhilHarris 29 months ago
I think “Floyd The Barber” was more Howard McNear’s doing than anyone else. He started out more straight laced, but soon became the Floyd we all know and love. The original Floyd was not Floyd-like.
Pacificsun MrsPhilHarris 29 months ago
You're right, he created a very unique and memorable character!
Floyd developed his odd character long before he appeared on Andy Griffith. He appeared in countless radio show renditions as an oft miffed and scatterbrained character actor. Most notable appearances were on Johnny Dollar and Gunsmoke. He was a peculiar but hilarious addition to any script.
Love your avatar so I had to respond! 😉
Didn't know about his radio career. But that's the thing with these character actors, who used their voices and nuances and didn't depend on their looks! By the time we got to see them in wonderful television episodes they had developed their character-personalities. And usually played them throughout their career. Which is how the classes of "supporting" and "featuring" came to be regarding billing. In the long run they probably got more screen time than major players!!
He may have had some scatterbrained characters but most of the otr shows I have heard him on, he wasn’t so. He was on Yours Truly Johnny multiple times and I don’t remember any Floyd-like characters. His Doc on Gunsmoke was pretty straight laced. That said he may have portrayed some befuddled characters, but I think he refined Floyd after a half season or so of the Andy Griffith show, and thank goodness he did. One of my fav
Weird thing about this website. Somehow it ‘assigned’ my user name, and misspelled it along the way. No idea how I got named this (?). And the avatar is not my selection either.
Well that practice must've started with the change in the comments platform.
ELEANOR 29 months ago
Don Knotts had a terrible childhood as his father was not fun to be around. Possibly his uncle's barbershop was his salvation and refuge, and only later became a place where he learned to hold an audience.
MrsPhilHarris ELEANOR 29 months ago
Zip 29 months ago
The funniest bit with Barney at Floyd's Barber Shop was I think the episode with Barbara Eden as that manicurist(I think), when Barney was getting a haircut and Floyd was talking and waving the scissors around, almost stabbing Barney with every gesture, or at least Barney thought he was going to get stabbed by them.
Runeshaper 29 months ago
If Knotts looked at Howard McNear and saw a little of his Uncle Lawrence, that is really special (-:
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