Don Knotts: ''I ruined a lot of takes laughing with'' this actor

It might not be who you expect!

CBS Television Distribution

The Andy Griffith Show found its footing as it progressed through its second season. The first few episodes when the series debuted in 1960 don't reflect what the series would become. In the beginning, Sheriff Taylor was the focal point of both the show's plot and its comedy.

Griffith initially presented his character as a redneck fool, happily playing the butt of the joke for a laugh. But as the show developed, it became apparent that The Andy Griffith Show was at its best when Andy was surrounded by funny people. It took the pressure off of his performance and allowed his character to be the sharp center of every episode. Rather than hilarity, moral fortitude became Sheriff Taylor's contribution. 

The standout comedic performances on the show typically come from Don Knotts. The way he vacillates from wildly over-confident to jittery and back propelled many scenes to hilarious heights. While he's surely the audience favorite, you might be surprised to learn who made Knotts laugh the most on set.  

"Howard McNear is one of the funniest men I'd ever want to see," Knotts told the Archive of American Television. "He was hysterical."

While Knotts and Griffith shared a personal history that translated into onscreen chemistry, Knotts made it clear later in life that his favorite performer on the show was the actor who played Floyd the Barber.

"Howard— you really and truly couldn't tell what he was going to do. What reading he was going to give you... What gesture he was going to give you... Because he didn't know himself! And when they'd turn the camera on him he would just sometimes crack you up so you couldn't finish the scene."

While McNear's antics certainly delighted his castmates, he may have cost the producers a considerable amount of time and money.

"I ruined a lot of takes laughing with Howard."

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15 Comments

Ilovereruns 2 days ago
This article makes me curious to watch the beginning episodes of the series again, because I don't ever remember Andy Taylor being a redneck fool. An easy going country boy? For sure. But, a redneck fool?
Buzzyleonard 9 days ago
Had to be fun to work with.
Isn't that a nice man?
kuwimo65 Buzzyleonard 4 days ago
"uh....he fell down"
edcrumpacker 9 days ago
Great article. I never knew that.
JamesW5150 9 days ago
I recall Andy saying just about the same thing about Howard McNear. When he would "go off on his Floyd-isms"
JHP 9 days ago
didn't read the article but it had to be Hal Smith
SteveMcQueen99 JHP 9 days ago
Maybe read the article! Because you are incorrect!
JHP SteveMcQueen99 8 days ago
I know - BUT I just guessed it because of the on-screen bickering those 2 characters did - which was almost every ep
tootsieg 9 days ago
Floyd and Barney with the women escaped convicts??!!! Just thinking about how funny it is has me laughing. 😆
McGillahooala 10 days ago
I would love to see that blooper reel.
McGillahooala 10 days ago
When I read the headline I correctly guessed he was talking about Howard McNear. He is the funniest guy on the show. He comes off like he is completely demented.
When I read the headline, I guessed Howard Morris.
MrsPhilHarris 10 days ago
Floyd the barber is my favourite TAGS character.

FrankensteinLover 10 days ago
I love hearing these Stories, so many on that show were soooo funny. Still my favorite Show ever, no matter how many reruns I've seen.
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