Sunday, February 26, 2006

Pistol Packin' Barney Fife Meets His Maker

"Oh my Barney,
Oh my Barney,
Had a jail and couldn't lock it,
Had one bullet for his pistol,
Had to keep it in his pocket"

This was Andy Taylor's sung response (to the tune of "Oh My Darlin' Clementine") to Barney's own Ballad of Barney Fife and Barney's recent self-shooting (in the foot) with the one bullet he was allowed to carry. Many residents of Batesville mourn the loss of Don Knots, the humorous lynchpin that held the Andy Griffith Show together. Without him, Mayberry would have been just another charming small town. But then again, don't all small towns have their Barneys?

For my money, he ranks right up there with Jack McFarland and Miss Jane Hathaway in terms of character-acting goodness. Though we might rather forget his stint as the swinger-wannabe Mr. Furley on Threes Company back in the 1970s (way creepy) he built up much love-capital with Barney and his later Disney and other movies. In honor of him, here is a snippet of script from one of the Andy Griffith Show, courtesy of my Mayberry Cookbook (beloved gift to me many years ago from fellow Batesvillian, Mandy Jones-Pascoe).

High noon at the courthouse. Aunt Bea is late with lunch. Barney is uptight because he has low sugar-blood content.

Andy: A few minutes one way or the other shouldn't make any difference.

Barney: Well, it does to me. I've got a clock in my stomach.

Andy: You must have.

Barney: I go by that clock, too. Tick, tick. I know it's time for lunch. Tick, tick. I know it's time for dinner. My mother was the same way.

Andy: I remember that about your mother.

Barney: She had a clock in her stomach.

Andy: Hey, Barn? These clocks you and your mother had in your stomachs? Did the tickin' keep your father awake at night?

Barney: You wanna get facetious? You wanna get facetious about the whole thing? Is that what you want to do--get facetious?

Andy: No.

Barney: Well, just don't get facetious. That happens to be a very common thing: clock in the stomach.

Andy: I know, I know, I know. Aunt Bea had an elephant she kept on the mantelpiece, and it had a clock in its stomach. Now don't get mad. I was just kidding.

Barney: I don't mind you kiddin' me about my stomach, but don't kid about my mother's stomach.

Makes me sad that he is gone. It's like he's left for that big Mt. Pilot job in the sky.


Blogger Cuz said...

Sigh... it is sad. Don Knots has always been one of my favorite unsung tv/movie characters. It still love to see the Ghost and Mr. Chicken when ever I catch it on one of the old movie channels. I also make sure the boys watch Andy Griffith show when I find it on. So sad. I wonder how many reruns of the AG show I saw when I was a kid...


5:31 PM  

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