Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Apple Dumpling Wake

I've got little time or respect for Hollywoodia, yet today - the passing of Don Knotts - is a sad day.

I'm too young to have much memory of his biggest role as Barney Fife in The Andy Griffith Show, and was never into Three's Company, but I loved watching him and Tim Conway ham it up in the Old West as part of the notorious Apple Dumpling Gang.

The scene I remember the most is when the sheriff catches them after they're suspected for a bank robbery, but when he realizes he's got the wrong gang after witnessing their witlessness, he tells them to be at the town square at noon the next day for their hangings, and to bring their own rope. Then the sheriff and the posse ride off.

Knotts was one of a precious few actors who could make you smile just by seeing him (Tim Conway, Bill Cosby, and Bill Murray are some other examples). Not for his quirky appearance, but for the obvious joy and satisfaction he found in his work. And the fact that he did it so damn well.

We'll miss you, Don.

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