''The Andy Griffith, Don Knotts, Jim Nabors Show,'' the story of the one-off reunion in '65
Griffith, and Nabors, and Knotts. Oh my!
All good things must come to an end. The age-old proverb rings true for all of life's best splendors. Nothing lasts forever, not even beloved television series. In the case of The Andy Griffith Show, the end came on a few different occasions. For fans who loved seeing Jim Nabors in Mayberry, 1964 may have felt like the end, when the spin-off series Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. sent his character packing, first to Camp Wilson in North Carolina, and then to Camp Henderson in California. For fans of Don Knotts' Barney Fife, the following year might have felt like the end, when the star left Mayberry in pursuit of motion picture stardom, only to return for occasional guest spots. And any Andy Griffith fan knows that the show as we know it ended with the eighth season, as Griffith prepared to leave. If all good things truly come to an end, then the best things end in threes.
Luckily for us, Mayberry Mania didn't have to die when these characters went their separate ways. The men behind them remained good friends, and would occasionally appear in projects together. The first of those reunions was 1965's The Andy Griffith, Don Knotts, Jim Nabors Show.
For the first time since Knotts and Nabors left The Andy Griffith Show, the pair joined Griffith onscreen for what became a full hour of comedy. October 7th, 1965 saw the first airing of the pals' production, which featured songs and jokes meant to strike just the right notes of nostalgia for a rabid viewing audience.
"We're not like college grads heading for the school reunion, ya gotta understand," Griffith told the Chicago Tribune. "We're three good friends getting together on a night club act we did at Lake Tahoe. You could call it a reprise of the act--taking the viewers to the Harrah's club in Tahoe without their leaving their living rooms."
Andy Griffith's manager, and the man who discovered Griffith, Richard O. Linke, describes the venture as such: "This is the first time the boys work together doing comedy, singing, and dancing outside the framework of The Andy Griffith Show itself. And it isn't a copy of The Andy Griffith Show by any means."
What it was, though, is an evening of comedy with friendship at its center. Griffith performed two monologues, one about "Brutus and Caesar," and a second, "The Lion and the Mouse," which he'd also later perform on The Carol Burnett Show.
In addition to the monologues, the night saw a sketch that took place at a family picnic. Griffith starred as the father, while Knotts, naturally, played the family matriarch. Nabors rounded out the cast as, in his words, "the nutsy son."
Knotts also performed a scene of two astronauts bickering in outer space, and Nabors sang songs from his album "Gomer Says Hey."