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Don Knotts

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As a boy, Jesse was a chicken plucker. That's right.
He stood on a line in a chicken factory and spent his days
Pulling the feathers off dead chickens so the rest of us
Wouldn't have to.
It wasn't much of a job. But at the time,
Jesse didn't think he was much of a person.
His father was a brute of a man.
His dad was actually thought to be mentally ill
And treated Jesse rough all of his life.
Jesse's older brother wasn't much better.
He was always picking on Jesse and beating him up.
Yes, Jesse grew up in a very rough home in
West Virginia. Life was anything but easy.
And he thought life didn't hold much hope for him.
That's why he was standing in this chicken line,
Doing a job that darn few people wanted.

In addition to all the rough treatment at home, it seems
That Jesse was always sick.
Sometimes it was real physical illness,
But way too often it was all in his head.
He was a small child, skinny and meek.
That sure didn't help the situation any.

When he started to school, he was the object of every
Bully on the playground.
He was a hypochondriac of the first order.
For Jesse, tomorrow was not always something he
Looked forward to.

But, he had dreams. He wanted to be a ventriloquist.
He found books on ventriloquism. He practiced with
Sock puppets and saved his hard earned dollars until
He could get a real ventriloquist dummy.
When he got old enough, he joined the military.
And even though many of his hypochondriac symptoms
Persisted, the military did recognize his talents and
Put him in the entertainment corp.
That was when his world changed.
He gained confidence.

He found that he had a talent for making people laugh,
And laugh so hard they often had tears in their eyes.
Yes, little Jesse had found himself.

You know, folks, the history books are full of people
Who overcame a handicap to go on and make a success
Of themselves, but Jesse is one of the few I know of
Who didn't overcome it. Instead he used his paranoia
To make a million dollars, and become one of
The best-loved characters of all time in doing it!
Yes, that little paranoid hypochondriac, who transferred
His nervousness into a successful career, still holds the
Record for the most Emmy's given in a single category.
The wonderful, gifted, talented, and nervous comedian
Who brought us
Barney Fife (The Andy Griffith Show)
Jesse Don Knotts.
Jesse Donald 'Don' Knotts
(July 21, 1924 - February 24, 2006)
There is a street named for him and his statue in
Morgantown, West Virginia, his place of birth.
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Robyn you are very welcome. I'm so glad you loved reading it. I did, too.
Yes, I feel for anyone who had a terrible childhood as well. Thank you for your comment!


Hi DixieGal. whoever wrote this is a very gifted person as s/he knows how to pull on the heart strings. I loved reading it and seeing this old photo of Don. My heart ached for him and what he went through, and no doubt it always lurked in the background no matter how successful he became. I feel deeply for all who had a terrible time as a child. I'm very glad he lived into his 80's, had success and happiness in his life. Thanks so much for sharing this story. :) Robyn


You're welcome, Judy. I agree, it was a wonderful show. :) ~ Dottie

Thanks for sharing DixieGal! Barney was well loved by all! Wonderful show!


Hi Lori! You are so welcome! I feel the same way about 'Barney'. He brought so much humor to that show. Thank you for your comments. :)


Thank You, Dottie, for doing that research & sharing it with all of us! (He REALLY made lemonade out of THOSE lemons!) I still watch "The Andy Griffith Show" reruns on T.V.~ 'Barney Fife' is a fantastic character. ~ Just recently saw Dick Cavett interview with Don Knotts on 'Decades' channel from 1970's...hilarious! Great Post! ~ Lori


What a great story, Haney. I would love to have met him. Thanks for sharing this with us. :)


Thanks, Dottie. Don Knots was one of my favorite people. Years ago he would come to the Greater Greensboro Golf tournament and play in the Pro-Am tournament. Spectators would ask to see the bullet Andy gave him and while walking down a fairway he would pull the bullet from his shirt pocket and hold it up to the delight and cheer of the crowd. A great man and actor! Haney:-) PS- Mount Airy (Andy's home town) is just to our north in NC,


You are welcome, cevas!

Thank you for the 'Happy Fall', ByHisGrace, and the same to you! I love your 'name'.

dbnc, you are very welcome!! Thanks for stopping by!

I never knew, either, phlloxie! You are welcome!!

I've heard that, too, RockysRider. It was always one of my favorite shows too! Thanks for stopping by!


I was told by a therapist that the 'funny' people have usually had the hardest time growing up or just living...they hide their pain with humor. I love the Andy Griffith Show, especially when Opie was young and it was in black and white. Don Knotts went on to excel in his craft. Making people laugh is a talent and a blessing.


I never knew!!! thanks for this story of a man I remember since I was a little girl. :)

thanks for the history of one of my favorite people

DixieGal, thanx for posting this pic and inspiring story about Jesse 'Don' Knotts. I always liked his spirit and am glad to learn more about him. Happy Fall to you and yours (Oct 2016).


Wonderful old photo !!! I didn't know his history.
Thank you very much Dixiegal. ☺

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