LEWIS COUNTY, W.Va. — The daughter of Don Knotts, the late legendary television character actor and Morgantown native, says her connections to West Virginia are directly tied to her famous father.
“It’s pretty nice to come there and feel close to my Dad’s spirit when I visit,” said Karen Knotts. “West Virginia still has that vibe of realness, authenticity and the people being genuine and warm and so that’s why I love to come there.”
Knotts is bringing her one woman show, “Tied Up In Knotts: A Comedy Adventure About Growing Up With Don Knotts” to Stonewall Resort for the West Virginia Comedy Festival on March 31 and Apr. 1.
She’s the headliner on that Saturday night.
“For me, it was a good way to keep him close to my heart,” she told MetroNews of the comedy show she first took on the road eight years ago, in part, as an outlet for the telling her Dad’s stories.
While serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, Don Knotts developed his skills as a comedian and ventriloquist. As Karen tells it, he called in favors from Army buddies to get started on the comedy circuit in New York City following his graduation from West Virginia University in 1948.
He worked in both radio and television, becoming a regular on “The Steve Allen Plymouth Show” and “The Tonight Show” hosted by Jack Paar.
In 1960, his career took off when he was as cast for “The Andy Griffith Show,” a series about a small-town sheriff in a place called Mayberry with Knotts as Deputy Barney Fife — the role that would make him a television legend.
Knotts’ television work opened the door to movies like “The Incredible Mr. Limpet,” which Karen Knotts talks about in her show.
“It’s a whole, kind of in a way, a history lesson of comedy as well as getting to know about how my Dad developed all these characters,” she said.
Don Knotts died on Feb. 24, 2006 at age 81.
“It’s amazing that, after so many years of him not being on this earth, that people still get so moved by his work and they’re so curious about him and love him so much,” Karen Knotts said.
“It’s really been a joyous, heartfelt journey for me to be able to share my Dad with the world, in a way.”
Joining Knotts at the West Virginia Comedy Festival will be Marcus Oglesby & BT; the No Pants Players, an improv group from Charleston, and The Fearless Fools, an improv group from Clarksburg.
Clarksburg’s Vintage Theater Company is producing the event.
For more information, contact Stonewall Resort by phone at 888-278-8150 or go online at StonewallResort.com.