Opie's friend Joey reached out decades later to remember that time Don Knotts dressed up as an old lady
Child actor Joe Stannard was also frequently Ron Howard's stand-in.
Read to Me
There's a moment in "The Bookie Barber" that every Don Knotts fan remembers with a smile.
The camera shows a close-up of the courtroom door, which opens a crack to reveal one of Knotts' tense eyes, dancing from side to side.
As the door slowly opens wider, we see a woman's floral hat atop Knotts' head.
Then the camera zooms out and we discover he's wearing a matching floral dress, with lace and a pretty brooch. Knotts, keeping his cool, slides on a pair of dark satin gloves, then exits the courthouse onto the Mayberry main street, focused on his "undercover" mission, disguised as an old lady.
On The Andy Griffith Show, we saw this more feminine side of Barney Fife a handful of times, but "The Bookie Barber" is the first, so it's perhaps the best remembered.
That certainly is the case for the child actor Joe Stannard, who played Opie's friend Joey and became one of the first Mayberry residents to encounter Barney Fife undercover as a woman. This being Stannard's only television role, it's a moment the otherwise unknown child actor will never forget.
In the scene, Barney leaves the court, and immediately the first person he has to fool with his disguise is Opie.
We see Opie next to his friend Joey, both with mouths turned down in uncertainty, as they approach this oddly familiar figure. Knotts' eyes go shifty as Opie bursts out, "It is, too, Joey!"
Joey answers, "It is not — you're crazy!"
"I'll betcha!" Opie insists. "I'll betcha that's Barney!"
The boys get closer, real close, and then Opie says, "Barney?"
Barney's eyes roll, unable to hide his identity.
Well, you might not have realized it, but the boy who played Joey in this scene had a much bigger role on The Andy Griffith Show than this small cameo suggests.
Decades later, a much older Joe Stannard tried to reconnect with Ron Howard the same way we all do, by reaching out on Facebook. When he did, he gave us a glimpse behind the scenes of the show. Back in 2015, he wrote on Ron's page:
"Hi Ron, don't know if you remember me but I worked with you back on The Andy Griffith Show. Several episodes including 'The Bookie Barber' when Don Knotts dressed up like an old lady. (I played your friend Joey.)"
He then went on to jog Howard's memory more, revealing how much time he spent on set beyond his one onscreen appearance:
"I was also your stand-in numerous times back when Bob Sweeney directed. You and the whole crew were some of the nicest people I've ever met. Wonderful memories! Hope to maybe meet you again someday."
Stannard never acted outside this one appearance on The Andy Griffith Show, so this was likely his biggest brush with Hollywood. Next time you watch the episode, you'll know that he was more than just a one-time Opie friend, but also a helpful boy on set, eager to help Sweeney prep Opie's memorable scenes.
Although Howard didn't respond to the post (it's unlikely he sees every post on his page), we hope their paths have crossed again, but either way, they already share one of the funniest walks down memory lane — or at least down Mayberry's main street!