In the fourth season ofThe Andy Griffith Show, GomerPyle wound up being welcomed to stay as long as he liked at Sheriff Taylor’shome for an episode called "Gomer the House Guest."
The episode paints Gomer as a loud and intrusive houseguest, the kind of prolonged visitor who’s likely to do stuff like run a vacuumor welcome company at all hours.
OnThe Andy Griffith Show, it wasn’t all thatuncommon for Griffith to have a castmate as his houseguest, and as author Danielde Visé writes in the bookAndy and Don: The Making of a Friendship and aClassic American TV Show, it was more likely to be Don Knotts camping outin the guest room.
Knotts became a frequent house guest of his closest friendsthroughout his life, whether he was crashing at Andy Griffith’s any timefilming kept him from home or bunking up at his childhood best friend’s housein Morgantown when he visited his mother in West Virginia.
The story goes that when Knotts first found fame onTheAndy Griffith Show, the first thing he wanted to do was buy his motherElsie a new house. He finally got the opportunity after he made the movieTheGhost and Mr. Chicken.
When Knotts asked his mom where she wanted to live, she wascertain she could live nowhere but their hometown. Together they found theperfect house, and Knotts paid $10,500 to move his mom on up in her own modestway.
Because his mom stuck around Morgantown and because theyremained extremely close, Knotts returned to his hometown throughout his lifeto visit his mom, usually in the summertime.
According to de Visé, though, Knotts preferred to stay withhis old schoolboy friend Jarvie Eldred on these visits, rather than intrude onhis mom’s quiet house.
That way, the old pals could spend time together too, andKnotts wouldn’t disrupt his mom if any of his other friends decided to drop by.These fun-loving friends were much more welcome in Jarvie’s living room.
From the sound of it, Knotts was just as loud a house guestas Gomer was onThe Andy Griffith Show, but it seems that Jarvie didn’tmind. Sometimes when Knotts came to town, they’d go out for hot dogs like thegood old days, when they were boys and things were simpler.
In his book, de Visé said there were plenty of times whenDon’s mom Elsie would make a trip out to see him, too.
During those visits, Elsie would stay with Don and his wifeKay, but she never quite got accustomed to what she viewed as their highsociety living, in a fancy house with fancy friends.
As uncomfortable being her son’s overly quiet house guest asDon would’ve been bringing his loud lifestyle into her living room, it’s saidthat Elsie would choose to eat in the kitchen with the housekeeper, rather thanmeet Don’s famous friends at the dinner table.
OnThe Andy Griffith Show, Gomer’s depicted as a badhouse guest because he runs on his own schedule.
Although this episode centers on Nabors, now we know thepremise struck home for Knotts and his family. Whether you’re a loud or quiettype, it’s not easy feeling out of sync with the routines of regular home life,whatever that looks like.