Don Knotts once embarrassed his daughter at college by driving to campus in a Mayberry squad car

Imagine: A cop crashes your college party, but that cop is Barney Fife.

Having famous parents can feel like a dream come true, but for a child, it can sometimes feel overwhelming, even if you think you've gotten used to it. 

Karen Knotts, daughter of Don Knotts, loved having Barney Fife as a father. In her book, Tied Up in Knotts: My Dad and Me, she remembered her father's fame fondly for the most part, and even remembered great moments when she accompanied her father to work as a child on sets like The Andy Griffith Show. While Karen itched to see where her father worked, Knotts was hesitant to bring her along at first. She wrote, "Dad didn't take us to the set for at least two seasons. He didn't want us to miss school and I was getting impatient. He finally announced that when we had our next school vacation, we would make our first visit to the set."

But once Knotts brought his daughter to the set, she became enthralled with Mayberry and the actors who inhabited the set, like Betty Lynn and Ron Howard, then better known as Ronnie. Knotts' celebrity status was something that Karen Knotts was aware of, but it didn't distance her from her father like some might expect. She wrote, "Having a comedy star for a dad naturally affected me; Dad and I were very close."

However, Karen seemed to believe that when she grew older and began attending college, it might be an opportunity for a fresh start. College is often a place for young people to reinvent themselves, and for the daughter of a television star, it might be the first opportunity to meet people without your father being the first thing they know about you. Karen explained this in her book and wrote, "As much as I loved Dad and was proud of his success, I longed to be in a place where I could just be Karen Knotts for a change." 

While attending college, Karen decided to pledge to a sorority, though she was in for a surprise. She was waiting in line for a sorority rush when she was shocked by a familiar sight: The Mayberry police squad car. Celebrity does not mean a parent is incapable of embarrassing their kid, it just means that they get to do it with a bit more style. Karen recalled, "I heard someone say, 'It's Don Knotts!' I followed their heads, and sure enough, there was my father. He'd been following me!"

The car was brought to Knotts by a nostalgic Andy Griffith, and Knotts was eager to show his daughter. A parent showing up unannounced at a college event is embarrassing enough and could be grounds for annoyance. However, Knotts's reasoning for surprising his daughter was so sweet, that she couldn't find it in her to get upset with him.

Karen recalled that her father said, "Well honey, I want to make sure you're gonna be OK your first week on your own. You're independent now. But if you ever need me, I'm just a phone call away. I'm a Knotts, and that's plural, not possessive."


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17 Comments

cperrynaples 5 months ago
Fun Fact: Karen had a cameo in Return To Mayberry!
Moody 5 months ago
What a dad won't do to embarass a daughter.
Lisagm 5 months ago
I love this story! What a great dad! 🌹
FrankensteinLover 5 months ago
Would have loved to have met him, love these behind the scene stories.
justjeff 5 months ago
"...that's plural, not possessive." What a GREAT line! I wish people could learn the proper usage of plural and possessive 's' in common English when you see sentences like "It was on the stores computer's...
harlow1313 justjeff 5 months ago
I feel some concern, thanks to technology, that writing is a fading art. Is Grammarly a good thing? No, I'm afraid not. As AI grows and spreads, what will we humans do? Eat Cheetos with a thumb inserted in rectum.
justjeff harlow1313 5 months ago
...or just leave out the Cheetos...
Wiseguy70005 harlow1313 5 months ago
What's worse is the constant use of double negatives. Not only is it ungrammatical but the user is stating the opposite of what he means.
Big3Fan 5 months ago
Citizen's arrest! Citizen's arrest!
Jerryfan 5 months ago
It's really nice to hear that he really did sound like a great dad and a stand up guy in general.
Irish 5 months ago
What a wonderful story! Sounds like Don was a great dad.❤️
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