Phil Vassar Sings Praises of Mayberry
Phil Vassar has written a lot of songs we can't get out of our heads -- 'Carlene,' 'American Child,' 'Love Is a Beautiful Thing' and 'My Next Thirty Years,' just to name a few. So what's the one song he can't get out of his head? 'Juanita' -- the tune that Mayberry deputy sheriff Barney Fife often sang to the town waitress on 'The Andy Griffith Show.'
"Juanita, sweet Juanita," Phil sings, mocking Barney with a laugh. "My favorite was when Barney would talk to her on the phone and Andy would always walk in on him ... It was just so funny! I love when Barney tried to recite the Preamble to the Constitution ... remember that? I love when he got stumped on the Emancipation Proclamation ... and the Mayberry Minutemen, remember that one?!"
A self-proclaimed "Barney Fife freak," Phil can talk for hours about his favorite sitcom character of all time, played by five-time Emmy winner Don Knotts.
"Don Knotts is the greatest character actor ever!" Phil tells The Boot. "I have every Andy Griffith episode ever done on DVD. Andy Griffith was a wholesome show. It was brilliant. I still watch it. I watched it last night, laughing so hard by myself sitting on the couch. Don Knotts ... there's nothing like him, ever!"
Phil also gives a lot of props to the mastermind behind the show.
"Andy was a great comedian, too," says the singer. "He started out as a comedian. He was brilliant. The genius of him is that he saw the genius of Don Knotts and said, 'I've got to be this guy's straight man, he's just so funny.' Those two played off of each other like Laurel and Hardy."
So, would Phil love to have met Don?
"Oh, my God!" he exclaims. "I don't think I could have done it. He's like the biggest rock star ever for me. It would be like meeting Elvis."
But Elvis had something Barney never did -- women! That's something by which Phil is a bit perplexed.
"Mayberry was a great town," laughs Phil. "But I could never figure out why none of [the main characters] were married. They were all single. That seems odd ... but it makes for good comedy."
As a public service, if there's a Barney Fife Fan Club, someone please invite Phil to join.