In the weeks preceding Mayberry Days this year, I’ve been taking a different look at what some of the stars of “The Andy Griffith Show” have done outside of the confines of the show — and I have to admit, it’s been pretty cool.
Some of my co-workers started teasing me when they learned that I had never seen, “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken.” Fellow Reporter Tom Joyce told me that it was running on AMC and that I should check it out.
While searching for the movie to DVR it, I also ran across “The Reluctant Astronaut” and “The Shakiest Gun in the West.” After watching all three, I felt like I got to see a whole other side to Don Knotts.
Even before these movies, the boyfriend wanted me to check out one of his all-time favorite movies, “The Apple Dumpling Gang” that Don Knotts also appeared in. I have to say, that was truly a great movie as well.
A few years ago during Mayberry Days, I had the pleasure of meeting his daughter Karen Knotts. She is just the sweetest person and I’m looking forward to seeing her again this year. If you haven’t had a chance to check out her one-woman show about her life with her father, make plans to go see it this year. It’s Friday at 12:30 p.m. at the Earle Theatre.
Now that I’ve started watching her dad’s movies, I believe I’ll keep going and check out others such as “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,” “How to Frame a Figg,” and “The Love God?” Those look pretty funny as well.
The other night, I started looking up old footage of Doug Dillard. I met him and his brother Rodney several times, but I never realized what truly talented musicians they are. The lead singer of the Dillards band Ginger Boatwright, and Dean Webb, who played mandolin with the Darlings on the show, will both be joining other talented musicians for two Friday tributes to Doug at 2 and 7 p.m. on Friday at the Andy Griffith Playhouse.
It was fun and interesting going back to look at that old footage. It made me realize how much that Andy Griffith really tried to promote the arts by having the Darlings play pretty regularly on the show.
During my interviews leading up to Mayberry Days, I spoke with Professor Neal Brower, who is an expert on all things related to “The Andy Griffith Show” and he said something that really stuck with me. He said even though Andy Griffith, George Lindsey and Doug Dillard are gone, we will always have them through their work. And, as long as people keep on loving the family values and comedic talent of “The Andy Griffith Show,” Mount Airy, too will always be a Mecca where people can come to remember simpler times.
Let the Mayberry Days fun begin!
Mondee Tilley is a staff reporter with The Mount Airy News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 719-1930.