The recipe for "The Andy Griffith Show" was as special as the one for Aunt Bee's fried chicken. Homespun humor sprinkled with a simple message. But the secret sauce, at least for the first five years, was the chemistry between Griffith as Sheriff Andy Taylor and Don Knotts as his deputy, Barney Fife.
The pair's off-screen friendship and the making of Griffith's sitcom are explored in "Andy & Don" (Simon & Schuster, $26) by Knotts' brother-in-law Daniel de Visé. The two actors met during the Broadway run of "No Time for Sergeants" in 1955 and clicked at once. The two kept in touch during the creation of Griffith's show. It was Knotts who suggested adding a deputy, and it was Griffith who realized the show would work best if he played straight man to Knotts.
Not all in the book is as sweet as pie at the Bluebird Diner. Griffith's drinking and infidelities; Knotts' addiction to sleeping pills and his macular degeneration; Knotts' departure from the show for a film career that tanked, and more are covered.
The two stayed friends and Griffith was at Knotts' bedside when he died in 2006. The next day, Griffith was interviewed on the "Today" show, where he said, "I lost my best friend."