‘The Andy Griffith Show’: An off-air feud causes 1 star to leave the series

‘The Andy Griffith Show’: An off-air feud causes 1 star to leave the series

On October 3, 1960, The Andy Griffith Show debuted on CBS. The show was a spin-off of The Danny Thomas Show, but it quickly eclipsed its popularity. The show will run for eight seasons, with 159 episodes filmed in black and white and the final 90 in color. It became an iconic picture of simple small-town life.

But even in the happy town of Mayberry, conflicts sometimes arise behind the scenes. And for one actor, that caused him to leave the show for good.

Andy Griffith and Don Knotts are friends

The Andy Griffith Show stars Andy Griffith as Andy Taylor, the sheriff of the fictional small town of Mayberry, North Carolina. Sheriff Taylor is a widower, raising his son Opie (played by Ron Howard) with the help of his aunt Bee Taylor (Frances Bavier).

His sidekick and Deputy is the bumbling Barney Fife, played by Don Knotts.

When Knotts showed up for the first day of filming, he did not know if he would be in any of the following episodes. But Executive Producer Sheldon Leonard recognized the chemistry between Knotts and Griffith.

Andy Griffith, Ron Howard, and Frances Bavier of 'The Andy Griffith Show'

By the end of the day, Leonard offered him a one-year contract. That was quickly changed to a five-year contract and Barney officially became a permanent part of the show.

Closer Weekly reported that Knotts and Griffith had a lot in common, as they both came from similar Southern backgrounds and became close friends. In addition, Griffith was a big fan of Knotts’s considerable comedic talent.

“Andy is the world’s biggest audience for Don,” Griffith’s on-screen son, Howard, told Closer Weekly. “Don reduced Andy to tears once a week.”

But despite the pair’s friendship, Knotts ultimately ran into an insurmountable problem with the show.

Contractual differences became an issue
According to Fox News, the two have a “long-standing feud” because Griffith owns 50% of the show. This means he raked in a lot of profit during his popular run on TV.

Knotts, on the other hand, only receives a salary. When his five-year contract ended, he asked for a more lucrative ownership stake but was refused. And so he decided it was time to move on.

The friendship between the two stars remained strong in the years that followed, suggesting their reconciliation or disagreement was entirely professional. When Griffith took the title role in Matlock, Knotts made occasional guest appearances and they enjoyed each other’s company as much as ever.

“He would say his lines the first or second take, then do a little bit of banter and banter,” one of Griffith’s co-stars recalled to Closer Weekly. “They fall into the habit of singing, laughing and telling jokes.”

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Sadly, Knotts passed away from pneumonia in 2006. Griffith was able to be by his side and he said he had the opportunity to tell him he loved him.

Six years later, Griffith died of a heart attack. But even though both talented actors are gone, their work lives on. Fans can still enjoy their friendship by watching them laugh together.

Mayberry’s happy world
According to Biography, the show’s cast seemed to enjoy it as much as the fans enjoyed their work. Griffith was a prankster who loved to tease his co-stars and make them laugh. He was famous for startling Knotts awake while he was napping by dropping a metal box on the floor.

The rest of the cast responded to the joke, once taking one of Griffith’s moccasins and hiding it so he had to take the character’s shoes home. They cast the bronze moccasin and gave it to him at the end of the season.

The cast is very close, but the friendship between Griffith and Knotts is a truly special one.

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