The two men became best friends as soon as they met while working in the Broadway production of No Time for Sergeants. They shared similar childhoods, both poor and underdogs in their small hometowns. The creativity that existed when these two worked together is legendary in the entertainment business.
Each man's childhood and early adult life is portrayed separately until they meet and the story becomes a joint biography.
The book is a delightful and interesting journey into the birth and evolution of television in America. It was fun to discover how deals were struck, and all that goes into a show before it ever hits the screen. The most enjoyable part of the book is the middle portion that describes the years that The Andy Griffith Show was in production.
Although they both had similar qualities of the characters they played on TAGS, their dark sides are explored. Both men drank excessively, cheated on their wives, and married younger and younger women each time. Andy Griffith had a serious anger problem, and Don Knotts was a neurotic hypochondriac. Although their relationship was often fraught with competition and rivalry, Andy and Don remained best friends until Don's dying day. Andy was the last to visit him on his death bed.
The biography indicates that Don Knotts made peace with his past in his declining years, and Andy Griffith returned to his life of faith.
This writer is a life long fan of The Andy Griffith Show. So much so that I've written a pre-quel (fan fiction about Andy and Barney growing up in Mayberry in the 1930s) that was published as a serial in our local newspaper.
"Daniel de Visé is an author and journalist. His first book, I Forgot To Remember (with Su Meck), began as a front-page article de Visé wrote for the Washington Post, part of a 23-year career spent at the Post, the Miami Herald and three other newspapers. De Visé has won more than two dozen national, regional and local journalism awards, including a shared 2001 Pulitzer Prize for deadline reporting. His investigative reporting twice led to the release of wrongly convicted men from life terms in Florida prisons. Andy & Don, his second book, began as a journalistic exploration into the storied career of his late brother-in-law, Don Knotts. De Visé lives with his wife and children in Garrett Park, Maryland, where he can sometimes be found managing his son's youth baseball team or playing with the Stepping Stones, a Monkees cover band." Amazon