Saturday, February 25, 2006

Rest in Peace, Mr. Fife

From Reuters
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Don Knotts, who won five Emmys for portraying the bungling deputy Barney Fife on "The Andy Griffith Show," has died, media reports said on Saturday. He was 81.

Knotts died on Friday night at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Beverly Hills, California, of pulmonary and respiratory complications, according to media reports.

Knotts' bug-eyed, high-strung character h
elped make "Andy Griffith," a sitcom about a folksy sheriff in small-town America, one of the most popular U.S. television shows of the 1960s.

Knotts also had a string of successful comedic movies, including "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken" and "The Incredible Mr. Limpet," and later appeared as a regular in the TV comedy series "Three's Company."

Knotts began his entertainment career as a ventriloquist in his hometown of Morgantown, West Virginia, and began working as a stand-up comedian entertaining troops after enlisting in the Army during World War Two.

He landed a small role in the Broadway play "No Time for Sergeants," marking the first time he worked with Griffith, who was the play's star. Griffith and Knotts also worked together in the 1958 movie version of "No Time for Sergeants."

Knotts began perfecting his twitchy, high-strung persona in 1956 as a regular in man-on-the-street interview segments on "The Tonight Show" during Steve Allen's years as host. From there, he ended up on Griffith's new show, which premiered in 1960.

Knott's Fife loved to flaunt his authority in small-town Mayberry and always dreamed of solving a big case but was so inept that Griffith's Sheriff Andy Taylor would not allow him to keep his gun loaded. Instead, Barney carried a single bullet in his shirt pocket.
I'll always remember (even though I was only 6 years old) going to the drive in theater in our brand new Ford Country Sedan station wagon with my parents and my siblings back in 1966 to watch "The Incredible Mr. Limpet," and "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken".. ("Munsters Go Home" was the third feature). "The Shakiest Gun in the West" was another of my favorites, as was "The Apple Dumpling Gang".

Thanks for the laughs.. rest in peace, my friend...

(Filed under miscellany)