Don Knotts said television was ''in a rut'' in the late 1960s
After he left the industry to pursue motion pictures, Knotts saw a big change in television.
Television has changed over time, which is obvious, but many always refer to the '60s as one of the best decades that produced quality television productions. Many of the shows from that decade are considered classics, and reruns could be seen on MeTV for the ultimate memorable television experience.
Every week, from 1960 to 1968, new episodes of The Andy Griffith Show appeared on our television screens, making us laugh and wish there was some way we could all move to Mayberry.
Don Knotts played everyone's favorite deputy, Barney Fife. At the time, fans probably couldn't imagine the series without Knotts' character, but it happened. The actor left the show after the fifth season in 1965 to flourish in a different area — motion pictures.
He left the show because he was under the impression that it would end after five seasons, but Griffith decided to continue. Knotts already signed a five-film contract with Universal Studios.
It's a story we've heard several times. However, in an interview with Pensacola News Journal in 1966, the actor gave his thoughts on the then-current state of television after he left the industry to pursue films.
"The big change in TV today is that they have gone mostly to half-hour situation comedies," he said. "I think TV could be better, but it is in a rut."
You're probably thinking, "Well, wasn't he on a half-hour situational comedy himself?" Yes, he was. Knotts was perhaps referring to the lack of shows in various genres. For example, some people could say the same about the '50s. Although there were a few sitcoms and dramas on then, Westerns pretty much took over.
Knotts also explained why he preferred to stay in movie production, even though he excelled in television.
"I rather make it by the motion picture route. You have more time to develop, and in the long run, it is easier on you. TV is a grind from dawn to night," he added.
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Green Acres and Bev Hillbillies and so many more were great funny shows...Don is a KNOTThead!! As the show went on he was getting more and more moronic and irritating. I got a question for the readers - who didn't BARN yell at? And then came Warren - by far a can of night crawlers in the sun or a rich man's jerry van dyke.
The answer is there wasn't.
And if he would have done his frigging duty instead of yakking to Juanita (on a county funded phone) he would be semi-ok. PeeeeU
Now as I remember - there was a show,,,it was called Laugh In? Maybe I could be wrong - like from '68 to '73?
Very sad that these comments go unchecked.
It’s obvious that some of the commenters aren’t too familiar with Social Media etiquette or acceptable language.
Emma Brand.Pip Pip AND CHEERIO ! CHEERIO.MEREDITH PLAYED
EMMA A DELIGHTUL CHARACTER AND ACTRESS.
Wait a 'sec, why wouldn't sitcoms be mindless, westerns formulaic, and detective series repeatedly catching the bad guy.
Escapism (known as classic TV) has provided relaxation and company to many through the decades. It's notable because of familiar and fun characters. And a tiny bit of moral tales. Why the bad guy always gets caught, the western dude learns a lesson and predicaments which create comedy.
I could see Don Knotts getting tired of his role. But the medium was probably an irreplaceable reflection of the times (it terms of kindness and good character).
It seems Don Knotts made the right decision that worked for him. Enjoyed him on TAGS, and the roles he played in movies as well.
Barney Fife both played by Don Knotts were almost identical characters.
Also I liked Jack Burns as Warren Ferguson was a great character and just because Warren Ferguson was not as popular as Barney Fife was not a good reason to fire Jack Burns.
There no explanation when Warren Ferguson left the show or when Ellie Walker Peggy McMillan and Mary Simpson all left town.
MeTV's Story: "He left the show because he was under the impression that it would end after five seasons, but Griffith decided to continue. Knotts already signed a five-film contract with Universal Studios."
IMO, Don Knotts could be trusted to give an honest opinion, and that's what he was being asked for. The problem is, times change. He'd reached his peak as Barney and he knew it. Universal Studio, was giving him a chance to do comedy features and to put him in the starring role. So "IF" television was falling into a rut, it's because in that day, his fellow actors made their money through those (wonderful) sitcoms too. So they could move on too. Came to a point in their careers however, when movie roles got scarce (for their age). So what did they end up on, but Westerns. No problem, no worries. Viewers love the genre. But let's not knock the medium. There were in fact 1 hour dramas being developed (more of them we'd like to see here on MeTV of course). But, let's face it, the money from movies was richer, publicity more obvious.
If television was such a rut, why did he end up on Three's Company as Mr. Furley, hardly a stellar character to be remembered by.
Well, because, "retirement" bites.