R.I.P. Don Knotts

Let me join my voice with others in mourning the passing of a comic legend, Don Knotts. While he’s best remembered as Barney Fife, his original comedy on The Steve Allen Show was what rocketed him to stardom, and those who’ve never seen his bits have missed some real comic genius. Here’s a graph about the show from The Museum of Television Communications:

And on the new show, Allen’s man in the street interview segments launched the careers of comedians Bill Dana, Pat Harrington, Louis Nye, Tom Poston and Don Knotts. Dana played the timid Hispanic Jose’ Jiminez, and Harrington the suave Italian golfer Guido Panzino.

Characters created by Nye, Poston and Knotts were the best known of the group. Nye portrayed the effete and cosmopolitan Gordon Hathaway whose cry “Hi Ho Steverino” became a trademark of the program. Tom Poston was the sympathetic and innocent guy who would candidly answer any question but who could never remember his name. Probably the best remembered character was the nervous Mr. Morrison portrayed by Don Knotts. Often Morrison’s initials were related to his occupation. On one segment he was introduced as K.B. Morrison whose job in a munitions factory was to place the pins in hand grenades. When asked what the initials stood for, Knotts replied, “Kaa Boom!” Invariably Allen would ask Knotts if he was nervous and always got the quick one word reply, “No!!!” Allen characterized the cast as the “happiest, most relaxed professional family in television.”

I remember these segments vividly and also how our whole family would roar with laughter, especially over Knotts’ character.

I will also fondly remember Don Knotts in The Incredible Mr. Limpett, a silly 1964 film in which Knotts’ character gets his wish to become a fish. It still brings a smile to my face.

Rest in peace, Don Knotts. You are remembered with much love.

Comments

  1. I also remember those man on the street interviews so well. I just don’t remember why my mother would let me stay up so late on a school night.

  2. He mad me laugh when my mother passed, he lifted me up when i needed it the most, his photos on my walls bring me much joy , Don was and will always be my hero . His clean shows are always enjoyed, by respectful people all around , never to frown upon , love and respects to all family , Russell ;Thanks for all the laughs Don You will be missed

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