Of all the tributes I've read to Don Knotts maybe the nicest was by the New York Times' television critic Virginia Heffernan, who displayed nothing but human appreciation for a beloved American performer, who died last Friday at 81:
"He was absolutely flappable. No one had a better tremor or double-take, and with his unmistakable homeliness...he didn't bother to play the wise fool; he wisely stuck to just the fool....
"He was a generous performer who likes to share the stage, and he thrived in duets, teams, variety shows, ensembles.,,,
"As Barney, he satirized swagger and self-importance....Mr. Knotts, over and over, was willing to play the desperate, pathetic low-man-on-every-pole. He did it so well...that his talent for abasement became a source, paradoxically, of great authority."
She ends by noting that once he even got to play the hero, "saving the day" in one Andy Griffith show when, "playing an achingly melancholy song on his harmonica, he leads a dangerous goat, which has swallowed dynamite, out of town."