By the end of the 1960's, Don Knotts had rode a thunderbolt, taking him from one of Steve Allen's madcap ensemble, to portraying Deputy Barney Fife in the hit Andy Griffith Show, to leading man in big screen comedy features tailored to his mega-nerdy nervous nitwit character like "The Ghost And Mr. Chicken".
But in 1970, that thunderbolt's trejectory was decidedly pointing down. NBC tried to ride on his fame with this lukewarm variety sketch show. No surprises, nothing inventive.
Don's gifts as a comedian were definately as a follower. He hasn't the force of personality to be a lead. His newly appointed "regulars" (including M.A.S.H.'s Gary Berghof and character actor extrordinaire John Dehner) had no chemistry between each other or Don. Seeing him in videotape after all those years on kinescope or film, is somewhat unexpected. He was always an odd, undernourished-looking guy, but here he's starting to look old, shrunken and fairly weird. (it would take several more years to get to "Three's Company" and full scale creepiness).
The funniest segment was it's last, in the final programme, his onetime boss Steve Allen brings along old cast mates Tom Poston and Louie Nye to recreate "The Steve Allen Show" skits and various gags. Steve of course, takes over, and Don shrinks back to his comfort zone where he really belongs.moreless