Monday, February 27, 2006

Don Knotts: Memories of Bumbling

One of my favorite comedic actors from childhood has passed away, and it's put me into a very somber mood. Don Knotts died this weekend at the age of 81, and there's not much more to say about that part of it.

I'm not going to attempt to write an obituary, or to sum up his career in the appropriate alloted time. I'm not that type of writer. I consider myself to be a comedic writer, and so the best way I can think of to pay my respects to Don would be to focus on how he was able to make me laugh.

-The Andy Griffith Show (1960-68)

We've all seen this show, at least once. This black and white 60's show about a perfect town where nobody swears, sins, or has group sex capivated audiences for years, with one of the best known characters being the bumbling deputy Barney Fife, played by Don Knotts. This show helped Don achieve fame, and it is probably his most well-known role. I'm sure he'll be remembered most from here.

-The Incredible Mr. Limpet (1964)

You might not have seen this movie, but I did and I loved it. It's a movie about a guy who turns into a fish and works for the Navy to help out submarines. Not just a fish, mind you...a cartoon fish. He was the first overly patriotic cartoon fish working for the Navy ever, and that's saying something.

-The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (1966)

One of my favorites. I used to watch this movie all of the was scary and funny and even a little bit sexy. In my opinion, this was one of Don Knotts' best performances. Every scene cracked me up, and I can remember the movie like I just watched it yesterday. It's a movie about a nice quiet town with a dark past: A haunted house where a murder occured. Don Knotts (Mr. Chicken) is a wannabe journalist who is desperate to make his big break. He's so desperate, in fact, that he takes a dare to spend one night in the haunted house and report back to his editor. He takes the job and wackiness ensues. Nobody has ever made me laugh so hard from being so scared. Classic stuff, this movie. Check it out sometime.

-The Shakiest Gun in the West (1968)

Another movie you might not have seen...Don plays a dentist heading west to help "fight oral ignorance". Along the way, he meets up with a gun-weilding bad girl on a mission from the government to stop a bunch know, nevermind. The plot isn't imporant. Just know that Don Knotts is funny, and he's the best dentist-turned-gunfighter around. Another great movie that makes me smile to think of.

-The Apple Dumpling Gang (1975)

Ok, if you haven't seen this movie, there is no comedic hope for you. I grew up watching this movie at least once per week for 27 years. Ok, maybe not that long...but a long time. I loved this movie, and I loved the characters that Don Knotts and Tim Conway played. This comedic duo of belly laughing fun played Amos and Theodore...a couple of would-be thieves with enough brains each to fill a tablespoon. Every single plan they attempted failed miserably, and yet they kept trying. Watching them together made for great entertainment and chuckles galore. Sers'ly, go see this movie. If you don't laugh at least once I'll pay you a dollar.

Ok, that's not true. I don't have any money. But it's still a funny movie and you should see it.

-Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (1977)

We all know the Herbie movies...we all watched them. This one wasn't the best one I've ever seen, but it was a good one nonetheless. Don plays the (you guessed it) bumbling mechanic for Herbie and hilarity ensued. The movie was ok...but Don was funny as always.

-The Private Eyes (1978)

Ah, the year of my birth. This movie is another one that I bet you've never seen or even heard of. That's a damn shame, really. This movie teamed up Don with Tim Conway yet again. This time they are a pair of incompetent and funny Private Detectives working a case of murder in a rich, scary mansion setting. There's lots of hilarious and sometimes scary moments to keep you entertained. I personally loved this movie and watched it often, I still remember certain scenes and quotes from it. Bow down, bitches.

-Three's Company (1979)

Ah, who can forget the television show that proved that a man can live with two sexy women and not have any group bunny. I didn't think this was possible, but apparantly nobody was having sex in the late 70's. I'm sorry, but if I lived with 2 hot girls there is no way that I wouldn't get a little sandwhich action going within the first month of living there...let alone 7 friggin' years.

But I digress. Don Knotts jumped back into television with his role as Mr. Furley, the landlord with swinger spunk who popped in and made things funny whenever he could. He was WAY better than that other couple who used to play the landlords...way better. Don't you agree? Yes you do. Now go bake me muffins.


Well, that's it. That's my little "Ode to Don Knotts" rememberance post. As you can see, I was a big fan and I'm quite upset that he has passed on and left us. But, just thinking about all of these movies has put a smile on my face...and I'm sure that's what he would have preferred.

We'll miss you, Don. Keep up with the funny wherever you are.


Don Knotts 1924-2006


See some CNN video clips of Don Knotts here


Kay said...

I didn't know he'd left us! That's horrible.
I love Don Knotts, I watch the Andy Griffith show every morning that I'm late to work (at least once a week), and I've seen the Apple Dumpling Gang, and The Shakiest Gun in the West at least a bazillion times.
I love your tribute, thank you.

Maccafreak said...

This made me SO sad this weekend. He was such a great comedic actor and such a kind man. I remember when I met Don Knotts. This was about 9 or 10 years ago when he was doing a play in KC. He was just so sweet. He just made you want to smile. It always makes me sad to see these legends go because we seem to have lost the class that these performers held back in the golden days of Hollywood.

Nice tribute Shan!

Jen said...

I had forgotten about a couple of the movies you listed. I remember laughing SO MUCH as a child when I watched Mr. Chicken and Apple Dumpling. I'm sorry he's gone, but I'm glad that he was around long enough to share so many of his talents.

Crystal said...

Don Knotts rocked. I LOVED the Apple Dumpling Gang.

I also liked him in his tiny part in Pleasantville. He handled that wonderfully.

Penny Shagwell said...

I remember The Private Eyes. My eldest brother took me to see it. Actually, I think he used me as an excuse to go see it - I was 8, he was 24!

Mr. Knotts will surely be missed.

Think Frustrated said...

RIP, Mr. Furley.

Callie said...

I adored Don Knotts. Mr. Limpet was my favorite. We have it recorded, and watched it in memory of the great man. I remember my mom taking me to see Apple Dumpling Gang. It's one of the few kid movies she took me to see that wasn't animated. Such a good memory.

And his turn in Pleasantville was fantastic.

What's even more amazing was the fact that he was a DI in the Marines. It's so hard to believe when watching him.

Wonderful tribute, Shanshu.

Juliabohemian said...

this is an older post but I have to say that Private Eyes was one of our favorite movies growing up. I must have seen it a hundred times. I love the ending (: