"Tied Up In Knotts."

That's the title of the dramatic tribute to comic genius Don Knotts. You know him as Barney Fife, deputy to Sheriff Andy Taylor in fictitious Mayberry, N.C.

The one-actor show stars Karen Knotts, Don's daughter. She performs the tribute to her famous father right here in Alabama on Saturday, February 3.

The venue is Pursell Farms outside of Sylacauga.

The evening is a dinner show. In Hamilton Place at The Farm, attendees will eat a Mayberry-style meal and watch a Las Vegas-style show. Hamilton Place is usually a wedding venue. Maybe the idea is to finally get Ol' Barn married off.

Chefs Sean and Will Bevil have put a menu together straight from Mayberry:

Cornmeal Fried Catfish / Hush Puppies

SweetTea Brined Fried Chicken

4 Cheese Mac | Brown Butter Cornbread Crumb

Smoky Pintos

Fried Green Tomatoes

Edna Lewis Collard Greens

Skillet Cornbread

Grandma Willy's Pound Cake Trifle

The Pursell Farms website describes the event:

"A must-see for kids of the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s who grew up laughing at Don Knotts as Barney Fife on the Andy Griffith show!  It’s a father-daughter story about growing up in a celebrity ‘Diva’ world with the love of Mayberry.

We love the connection that Don Knotts had with Pursell family friend, Jim Nabors! Now enjoy a one-woman show from someone who was on the set with Andy Griffith, Jim Nabors and Don Knotts!"

Details on the Alabama performance can be found here.

One of the Mayberry characters who acted with Don Knotts was Jim Nabors. He was born and raised in Sylacauga. He played the part of a goofy garage worker, Gomer Pyle.

Nabors never forgot where he came from. He kept in touch with Sylacauga and, especially, the Pursell family. When "Jimmy Nabors" was growing up in Sylacauga, he knew Jimmy Pursell as the operator of Parker Fertilizer. After Nabors went to Hollywood and Hawaii, he and the Pursell family stayed in touch.

Jim Nabors, Gomer, later spun off his own show from "The Andy Griffth Show," "Gomer Pyle, USMC."

Nabors was also a singer in nightclubs, variety shows and recordings. His singing voice was a deep baritone, almost operatic. It has been described as "like the voice of God." His singing voice was the opposite of his Gomer Pyle voice, a high-pitched comical squeal – Surprise, surprise, surprise. Shazaam!

You will get a surprise if you tour Pursell Farms. After the death of Jim Nabors in 2017, the Pursells were entrusted with unusual Jim Nabors memorabilia, including his famous pool table. You can see the items in the main restaurant at The Farm.

Pursell Farms is located 12.5 miles west of Sylacauga on the Fayetteville-Sylacauga Road. It is about 50 miles south of Birmingham, off US Highway 280 East. 

Pursell Farms is a multi-purpose venue. It is principally known as a golf course, "Farm Links." It also has hotels, cottages, restaurants, archery, axe throwing, tennis, pickleball, yoga, spa, UTV riding, fly fishing, shooting grounds, petting zoo, farm shopping and romantical sunsets.

There is another strong Alabama connection with Don Knotts. Another co-actor on "The Andy Griffith Show" was Alabama native George Lindsey. He played Goober, the cousin of Gomer Pyle. Lindsey was born in Fairfield, raised and buried in Jasper, and played football and acted at Florence State University, now the University of North Alabama.

For 17 years, Lindsey conducted an annual million-dollar charitable program in Montgomery, the George Lindsey Celebrity Weekend and Golf Tournament. The names of entertainment and sports celebrities he brought to Alabama to donate their time is amazing. One of those celebrities was Don Knotts.

Karen Knotts is described on the Pursell Farms site:

"Karen Knotts is a hilarious performer. She has a one-woman show and has written a book, both entitled “Tied Up In Knotts”, as a tribute to her beloved father Don Knotts.

In the 1950’s, Don Knotts was making the rounds of casting directors’ offices in New York City. Destiny knocked on Dad’s door when he got a small part in a Broadway play starring Andy Griffith. In the 1960’s, Andy was set to star in a sitcom about a small town sheriff. Dad called him and asked, ‘Could you use a deputy?’  …and Barney Fife was born! I have fond memories of visiting the set of Mayberry and seeing cast members like Ron Howard (Opie), and Frances Bavier (Aunt Bea). They were not like their TV characters! Fast forward to the 1970’s, I was a teenager attending Beverly Hills High and later USC, while Dad was doing variety shows with Bill Cosby and Tim Conway and making friends with movie star divas. As an adult, Dad encouraged me with both my acting and librarian careers! I love revisiting these memories of our special father-daughter bond.  Baby boomers grew up with great shows on TV!" 

Karen Knotts, 68, was born in 1955. She was raised in Beverly Hills and graduated from Beverly Hills High School and the University of Southern California in Cinematic Arts. Her father opposed the idea of her becoming a child actor but relented and fully supported her career as an adult.

Don Knotts died in 2006 at age 81.

Most deceased folks have a memorial or celebration of life one time. Don Knotts has one every time his daughter performs "Tied in Knotts."

Book your dinner and show tickets now by phone at (256) 208-2040 or email [email protected].

Jim Zeigler is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at [email protected].

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