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Don Knotts’ birthday

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Don Knotts was born July 21, 1924. Happy #79!!!

Don Knotts developed his basic personnae working on Steve Allen’s show as the Nervous Guy. He made an outstanding cameo as a notably neurotic army psychologist in Andy Griffith’s 1958 early career hit No Time for Sergeants.

This of course led to his casting as Barney Fife in The Andy Griffith Show in 1960, and into the legend books of our culture. Make no mistake, Barney’s fidgeting, incompetent and shame driven (but good hearted) deputy was fully as integral to the success of the show as Andy. Indeed, he was a considerably more interesting character, and nobody could have done it like Don. The show didn’t last long once Hollywood finally lured him away with movie money.

He became one of the biggest names in family movies for a decade or more, though I don’t think most of them were really up to his talents.

He actually did surprisingly well as landlord Ralph Furley on Three’s Company. That homely aging would-be swinger was a fairly memorable character for such a minor sitcom already several years old.

One late period appearance that perhaps hasn’t gotten enough attention was his role as a tv repairman with seeming magic God-like power in Pleasantville. He managed to be just slightly creepy and scary without ever really doing anything harsh.

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  • and let’s not forget The Ghost and Mr. Chicken…i don’t know if it’s aged well but i’d love to see it again.

    i remember that the organ scene scared the crap outa me when i was a little kid.

  • When I was working for an international company, and the offices in the States would be closed for a holiday we didn’t have in Canada, we would just say they were celebrating Don Knotts’ birthday.

  • Eric Olsen

    I love Das Limpet, a magical realization-through-transformation fable and an extremely affecting performance.