Andy and Don: The Making of a Friendship and a Classic American TV Show

S. & S. Nov. 2015. 320p. notes. index. ISBN 9781476747736. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781476747750. TV
Andy Griffith (1926–2012) and Don Knotts (1924–2006) worked together in the 1950s Broadway hit No Time for Sergeants. When Knotts heard that Griffith planned to appear in a TV series playing a small-town Southern sheriff, he asked Griffith if he could use a deputy. Thus was born one of TVs most beloved and enduring comedy teams. This book by a Knotts in-law shows how the magic was created. Knotts played a nervous, excitable but good-hearted character, while Griffith, the "hardest working straight man on television," was the contrasting rock of calm and kindness, forever bailing Knotts out of trouble. Offscreen, their relationship was equally warm but complex. In spite of his affable image, Griffith had a hot temper and held grudges. Knotts was plagued by childhood insecurities, hypochondria, and assorted anxieties. Knotts longed to make feature films, while Griffith wanted to return to his days as a respected, serious actor, as in Elia Kazan's film A Face in the Crowd. The author chronicles their parting of ways, career and marital ups and downs, cast reunions of the old show, and later their reteaming in Griffith's popular series Matlock. de Visé examines the childhood, early careers, and outsize ambitions of both men, explaining why their chemistry made them click. Includes analyses of the 20 best episodes of The Andy Griffith Show.
VERDICT By turns humorous, informative, and poignant, this book is recommended for public library readers.
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