Early in the series, Andy and Barney state that they are cousins. The reference was meant to be a joke concerning small town government positions being given to relatives, but when a substantial chemistry formed between the two, their relationship was changed to childhood friends.
The writers used several episodes to muddy the lineage and suggest that Barney may not be directly related to the Taylors. On “Aunt Bee’s Invisible Boyfriend”, Barney tells Andy, “If she (Aunt Bee) were my aunt, I’d wanna investigate this fella” (no familial Taylor ties). In one porch dialogue, Barney speaks to Andy about buying his folks a septic tank for their anniversary. Andy does not refer to them as aunt and uncle. On several occasions, Aunt Bee reminded Andy that, “he’s YOUR friend” (suggesting no blood kin to either Taylor). In another episode, “Cousin Virgil”, Andy is introduced to Barney’s backward cousin, who is obviously not related to the sheriff. Genetics aside, the two are best friends, having grown up together in Mayberry.
Don Knotts Worked Without a Contract
There was a possibility that Barney Fife could have only lasted for one episode! Don Knotts was one of several cast members who showed up on the first day without an actual contract.
After seeing his chemistry with Andy, the producers instantly offered him a one-year contract. We can't even imagine 'The Andy Griffith Show' without Barney Fife.
Floyd Retired On and Off the Screen
After repeated health complications following a stroke, actor Howard McNeal was eventually written out of the show. The last appearance of Floyd the Barber on The Andy Griffith Show was in the final episode of the seventh season. It was announced on the series that Floyd had retired because he had earned enough money. Shortly after leaving the show, Howard sadly passed away.
To try to fill in his loss on the series, a new character named Emmett Clark (a fix-it man) was brought in. Emmett (played by veteran character actor Paul Hartman) moved his fix-it shop into Floyd's old barber shop location in Mayberry.
Andy Was Originally Intended To Be the Comic
When the show first aired , the concept was for Andy Griffith to be the comedic lead and the funnyman who made constant jokes concerning the characters. But once Don Knotts proved his natural comedy, it was quickly decided that Barney would be the funnyman to Andy’s straight man. It was discovered that the show was funnier with the roles reversed.
As Griffith maintained in several interviews, "By the second episode, I knew that Don should be funny, and I should play straight". Knotts also revealed in an interview a little trick he did as an actor that was rooted in this special chemistry. Knotts said, "Andy found Barney funny. I think that helped, too. I could see sometimes when Andy’s eyes were just trying to keep from laughing, which would help me try and make it even funnier."
Star Trek Came To Mayberry
Ever wonder what 'The Andy Griffith Show' would look like after an apocalypse? When Star Trek first aired, the show was so underfunded that they were forced to use the set of the town of Mayberry in a few episodes. The lot was used in four Star Trek episodes — "Miri," "The City on the Edge of Forever," "The Return of the Archons" and "A Piece of the Action" — but Mayberry can best be seen in the first two.
William Shatner and Joan Collins can be seen going for a stroll outside of Floyd's barber shop in "The City on the Edge of Forever. "Miri," on the other hand, gives us a glimpse of what Mayberry might look like after an apocalypse. The dilapidated Bartlett Stables in "Miri" shows what was once the stomping ground of Opie.