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Monday, July 21, 2014

Summer Nose-talgia #25: The Incredible Mr. Don Knotts -- July 21, 1924 - Feb. 24, 2006

Don Knotts had the perfect face and body for comedy -- skinny, wide-eyed, expressive hands and voice just made for playing the high-strung characters he became famous for.  From his days honing his comic persona on The Steve Allen Show to his long-time reign as one of TV's funniest characters on The Andy Griffith Show and later on Three's Company, West Virginia-born Don Knotts never missed a comedy beat or failed to infuse his portrayals with humanity.

Especially Barney Fife.  Without Knotts' tremendous skill as an actor, Barney would have been just a nervous wanna-be with delusions of grandeur, a pipsqueak bully with a badge.  It was Knotts who allowed us to see Barney's vulnerabilities, and Andy Griffith who understood that playing straight man to Knotts would be the key to success for his new sitcom.  Sheriff Andy Taylor was Barney Fife's rock, and Fife knew it.  And America's TV viewers knew it, too.

So here's a little Don Knotts for you.  A brilliant comedian, a talented actor, a funny guy.

As is written on Don Knotts' headstone, "He saw the poignancy in people's pride and pain and turned it into something hilarious and endearing" -- so true.

We fondly salute Don Knotts, born this day in 1924.

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