If you’ve dreamed of seeing Don Knotts in an advertisement for a truck, then we’ve got you covered thanks to Dodge and 1965.
In that year, Knotts, who became a household name as Deputy Barney Fife on “The Andy Griffith Show,” found himself going into movies. He’d signed a five-film contract with Universal Pictures after he thought Griffith was going to end the show after five seasons. Well, he didn’t and Knotts could not get out of his movie contract.
Dodge apparently wanted a big-name star to help promote its 1965 Dodge 4×4 truck.
They called on Knotts, who agreed to do it. He’s joined in this 20-minute promotional film by character actor Dick Wilson. Now that name might not ring a bell, but if I used the name “Mr. Whipple” then you probably know Wilson.
Don Knotts Does His Best To Pitch Dodge Trucks
Wilson played Mr. Whipple in 500-plus Charmin toilet paper commercials in 25 years. His first stretch was between 1965-89 and last one was 1999-2000.
Clearly, Knotts is the drawing card for Dodge. He is driven into a movie studio at the beginning, where he gets out and starts barking out orders like a boss. Knotts passes by a couple of women and makes, well, less-than-politically-correct comments toward them. There’s a lot of double entendre taking place, for sure.
Make sure and check out the scene where Knotts, in the driver’s seat of a Dodge truck, is in a battle with Indians.
All of this promotional film, which was professionally shot for Dodge, is geared toward getting people to buy this type of truck. Remember, also, when this film was done. Things in 1965 were viewed quite differently than they are in 2021.
Machismo May Not Be Knotts’ Forte’ But He’s Here
Another point to ponder is that one might not put machismo in the same category as Knotts. It’s a bit of a weird mix, seeing Knotts behind the wheel of a truck and steering all over the place. You’d probably be expecting movie director Roger Corman to stop the film on the film and call it a big joke.
It’s not a joke, Corman doesn’t appear, and the film rolls on. This is 20 minutes of pure promotional pushes for Dodge. Get your popcorn ready.
You might not be ready for this film, but here it is. Don Knotts delivers the goods for Dodge with Dick Wilson right by his side. Take a look at how Dodge spent some of their advertising dollars back in 1965.