Here we are, the month of April almost over, and we have yet to induct the intended new member into the TV Crossover Hall Of Fame. Traditionally the April inductee fits the role of the classic Fool, and this would have been no different.
But we were delayed in making this announcement by the death of Mike Wallace and as is our new custom, those who pass away who were deserving of the honor (as themselves or for a character) get inducted immediately. So I wanted enough time to pass between both choices to give them the chance to shine on their own.
And so, I'm proud to announce our April Fool 2012:
Don Knotts' portrayal of the jittery deputy from Mayberry deserves every accolade he gets, and the Television Academy agreed - Knotts won five Emmy Awards for the role while he was on 'The Andy Griffith Show'.
Barney and the Taylor family also made appearances in blipverts for Sanka and Post cereals in the early days, back when TV characters often continued their existence in the commercials for their sponsors.
After leaving to seek his fame and fortune in the movies and with a variety show, Knotts returned to Mayberry in the first episode of the sequel, 'Mayberry RFD', in order to stand by Andy's side as his best man.
A few years later, Barney was visiting Greenwood, North Carolina, where he ran into Mayor Andy Sawyer.
They seemed to be old friends, and yet Barney never mentions how similar Andy Sawyer looks to his cousin, Andy Taylor.
My reasonin' is that Andy Sawyer and Andy Taylor were identical cousins, and perhaps on the side of the family which had no blood connection to Barney. So they've known each other for years, but as friends not family, and that any need to mention the similarity in appearance had long since passed.
The IMDb - which as we all know, is SUCH a reliable source! - lists Barney Fife as appearing in an episode of 'The Joey Bishop Show' in its third season. But I haven't found any mention of that elsewhere on the web. So I can't say whether this is possible or not. However, 'The Joey Bishop Show' did have a continuing crossover with 'The Danny Thomas Show' when Rusty Williams moved in as a boarder while going to college, and since that was the show that launched 'The Andy Griffith Show', it's pozz'ble, just pozz'ble.....
Finally, Barney made a "Return To Mayberry" in his old age to run for sheriff, only to find that Andy Taylor returned soon after with the same goal in mind. By the end of the election, Andy had won his old job back and offered Barney the chance to be his deputy once again.
(Personally, that left a bad taste for me. I would have had Andy become the new Mayor of Mayberry, and let Barney become the sheriff. I hated seeing him so disappointed by the outcome.)
Like the actor who played him, Barney is gone now. I like to think he's buried there in Mayberry and Thelma Lou still tends to his grave. But he will live on in our memories and in reruns. And I hope this little salute doesn't do too much damage to his video immortality.