For eight wonderful years, The Andy Griffith Show delighted and entertained Americans with tales from the town of Mayberry. It was rich and laden with mid-Century Americana, capturing the true essence of what it was to be American in the decades before it aired. What made The Andy Griffith Show so endearing and special wasn’t necessarily the show itself; instead, it was the personable and relatable acting of one Barney Fife. Fife was relentlessly and suitably perfect in the role of Andy Griffith. But behind the scenes? It was a much different story. These 12 unbelievable secrets reveal who he truly was–number six is especially surprising!
#12 Andy Was Romantically Inept
Fife’s best friend, Andy, had a reputation–and it wasn’t just for his acting chops. Whispers from castmates spread a pervasive rumor that the television hero was a bit inept when it came to romance. He never really seemed to connect with his co-lead, Elinor Donahue, and often came across as a bit of a womanizer.
#11 Fans Sent Andy Bullets
Andy Griffith was only ever permitted a single bullet in his gun (for fear that he’d shoot his own foot or worse). In the spirit of an ongoing inside joke, fans sent single bullets to the deputy through the mail. It was both a chide and a motion of endearment. “Bullet for my Valentine,” anyone?
#10 Andy Got Angry
Though few knew of Andy’s extremely rare flares of anger, Barney Fife often saw them first-hand. At least one confirmed incident exists where Don Knotts became angry enough to punch a wall out-of-character, breaking his hand. Producers covered up the injury by simply writing it into the show’s script as an injury in the line of duty.
#9 Andy and Barney Had Crazy Chemistry
Usually, it’s the producers who write a script and then choose characters to fit it. Andy and Barney had such high chemistry that they frequently adjusted the script to accommodate it instead. Producers appreciated their chemistry so much that they were the first two actors to officially receive one-year contracts on the show–something that was almost unheard of at the time.
#8 They Had Off-Set Chemistry, Too
Andy Griffith and Don Knotts didn’t just have chemistry on-set; they were the true definition of “bromance” off-set, too. Both actors maintained a life-long friendship that extended quite literally until Knott’s death in 2012. Griffith was by the treasured classic actor’s side as he slipped away.