The Immortal Knotts
When the time comes to be shed of February, it’s never too soon. Not that February 2006 was an especially hard example of that kidney stone of a month. In fact it wasn’t bad at all, compared to other years that I remember. Little snow or ice, and some days above freezing. But that doesn’t change the month’s essential bleakness.
Lilly recognized the late Don Knotts’ photo in the paper, because we happen to own a couple of Andy Griffith Show DVDs that I got for a small price some time ago. Sure, he was best known as Barney Fife. But how many remember Knotts’ immortal performance in The Reluctant Astronaut?
Not many, probably. Doubt that I could stand watching it now, but when I was eight or nine it kept my attention one Saturday afternoon, and it’s surprising what sticks with you. It’s not mentioned in the imdb description, but I’m pretty sure that Knotts also interacted with another character who was supposed to be his grandfather, “a hero of the Great War.” At one point, perhaps when Knotts is obliged to confess that he’s not a real astronaut, his grandfather confesses that he was not, in fact, a hero of the Great War, but some kind of menial behind the lines.
I’m not sure, but I believe that was the first time I’d ever heard World War I called “the Great War,” a name that had fallen out of fashion by the time that I came along, for obvious reasons. So I learned something from that movie. Just goes to show you that those Saturday afternoons I spent watching old movies weren’t completely wasted youth.