Don Knotts met a real Barney Fife once directing a parade in his hometown

The Andy Griffith Show star even shared a funny exchange with the local sheriff who had to deal with the deputy.

For The Andy Griffith Show episode "Barney's Bloodhound," deputy Barney Fife takes the lead despite Sheriff Andy's protests, by “training” a dog to track down an escaped convict.

It's one of those perfect episodes that exemplify the extremes of Barney Fife's eagerness as a deputy. Actor Don Knotts said the key to Barney Fife's hilarity was that he represented real people who do the kinds of things that make others shake their heads and smile.

Knotts once explained to The Daily Item in 1964 that he and Andy Griffith had a "pet hate" for situational comedy that relied on hokey depictions of real people to deliver plot points.

He and Andy wanted to forget the plot as much as possible and instead just draw laughs from highly accurate imitations of real people. Knotts gave a really good example that will make any Mayberry fan chuckle.

"What we try to do is make use of those conversational habits people have," Knotts said. "Like Barney telling a joke, hearing laughter, and then telling the joke over again. You've seen people do that. It's terrible, but some can't help it after hearing the laughter — it's a compulsion, and it's funny."

In this interview, the reporter asked Knotts if he'd ever encountered any real Barney Fifes walking around the real world.

Knotts said he absolutely had. Right in his own hometown.

"I ran into one in my hometown, a perfect deputy Barney — ordering people around, acting efficient, loving his job," Knotts said.

Just as in "Barney’s Bloodhound," this deputy was given an inch of authority… and he took it an extra mile.

"They had a parade for me, and the deputy helped put everything together," Knotts said. "After the parade dispersed, the deputy drove the sheriff and myself back, and along the way the deputy hits the siren."

Knotts then related an exchange he had with the sheriff that easily could've taken place in a Mayberry squad car.

"In the back seat the sheriff looks at me and says plaintively, 'I wish he wouldn't do that,'" Knotts recalled.

Knotts said in addition to being a little bossy and way too into his job, Barney's charm relied on his reactionary rawness.

"Barney is a child in a man's body," Knotts said. "If you watch kids, you'll see them react immediately. They don't hide anything. The same thing happens with Barney. He expresses himself right there. If anything, he overdoes it. I think everyone wants to do that, but as grownups, we can’t. That's why it's fun to play the part. Then I'm free to let go."

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AlSwilling 31 months ago
From the late 1950s until today, there have always been some Barney Fifes, especially in the South. That's what makes Barney so funny and fun to watch. Most people in the South see him and right away their mind jumps to one guy in particular, usually a deputy, who fits the Barney Fife character to a tee.
I'm convinced that every southern town From Virginia to Louisiana has its own real-life Barney Fife.
ASFLLM 32 months ago
I've been watching AGS on Sundance ch 239 (directv) in High Def. What a difference! They have most of what we watch in HD. Any idea if METV is planning on upgrading to HD?
AlSwilling ASFLLM 31 months ago
That would be interesting as a novelty, but I think half of the charm of The Andy Griffith Show, like most of the shows on MeTV, is seeing it in its original format.
figoha7883 35 months ago
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DoubleNaughtSpy 37 months ago
I'm no big fan of TAGS, by any means -- if MeTV and TV Land yanked it from the air tomorrow, I'd be dancing in the streets. But am I correct in presuming that Thelma Lou, Charlene Darling, Ellie, and of course, Opie and most of his assorted schoolyard chums are the only surviving regulars or semi-regulars?
JHP DoubleNaughtSpy 36 months ago
its also on sundance and they chop that show to pieces (gee - for what? how about the Ad's) - not a fan either
AlSwilling DoubleNaughtSpy 31 months ago
That sounds about right.
Kenner 37 months ago
I just saw that Arlene Golanka passed away. RIP Milly😢
McGillahooala Kenner 37 months ago
Thanks for letting us know. She was a treasure. I have found that some of the minor characters deaths are not reported for months. If you watch much MeTV, you see her on a lot of shows. I think The King of Queens is the most recent thing I’ve seen her in. She has a very long career and brought a lot of laughter to us. R.I.P.
MrsPhilHarris Kenner 37 months ago
Wow she was 85! I picture her as she was on Andy Griffith and Mayberry RFD.
Kenner McGillahooala 37 months ago
Thanks...That’s right about the king of queens...she was in a season 8 episode called “Inn Escapable” in Nov. of 2005 and looks like her last act. I thought of her as a big sister sort of back in the 60’s.
DoubleNaughtSpy Kenner 37 months ago
Bummer. She was the sole reason "Mayberry RFD" lasted beyond a single season.
AlSwilling Kenner 31 months ago
I'm sorry to hear about Arlene Golanka's passing. She was on a lot of other shows in addition to TAGS. She was talented, and entertaining.
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