Don Knotts was a skilled ventriloquist
Ol' Barney was no dummy!
"Ventriloquist Barney" may have been a Flintstones episode, but really, it could've easily been the title of an Andy Griffith Show episode as well! That's because, believe it or not, Don Knotts was a real-life ventriloquist, in addition to being bumbling local law enforcement.
Imagine the possibilities as Deputy Barn entertains jail cell occupants with his one-person duets. Or as Sheriff Andy admonishes an anthropomorphic doll for back-sassing! Oh, what could've been...
A 1969 article in the Montgomery, Alabama Advertiser confirms the dummy details, stating that the actor was willing to try anything to get ahead at the beginning of his career. While he traveled the country performing on the nightclub circuit, he broadened his showbiz skills.
"I was technically great at the art of ventriloquism," said Knotts, "but didn't like the dummy to get the laughs."
Knotts also took the opportunity to administer some caustic advice to any young person wishing to make it big in Hollywood.
"Forget it," said Knotts. "No, the only thing I can suggest is for a young person to go there, and become involved somewhere, regardless of how minor a role or place. Become involved; get to know people and names. Get known and time will take care of the rest. It's not easy any way you look at it. Stars must work for years before the break comes."
While Knotts never expressed regrets about abandoning his promising career as a ventriloquist, he did speak about one role he wished he could've played.
"I would have loved a role in The Odd Couple. Lemmon and Matthau were just great."
We think Don Knotts would've made a great addition to the spooky Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode "The Glass Eye."