Well, I finally decided to get the "Andy and Don" book.  I debated for a long 
time due to things I'd heard about it, but after reading many fans' positive 
comments, I bought it and finished reading it tonight.  One thing I have to say 
is that it is an engrossing read.  Once I started, it was hard to put it down, 
and I spent most of today reading it.  The author obviously did a thorough job 
in researching the book, as there were things in it that I had never known 
before, some that were fascinating to learn, others that were disturbing to 
discover.  As an old movie and classic TV buff, I have a number of biographies 
and autobiographies of big stars, so I'm accustomed to finding out that actors 
and actresses can be very different from their on-screen personas.  Still, 
there was some information in the "Andy and Don" book that I could have done 
without.  I guess we fans, though we ought to know better, link the men so 
closely with the roles they played on TAGS that finding out they were
  very different people in real life can be a bit disillusioning.  Still, I'm a 
big girl.  I can handle it.  It was interesting to find out that the inception 
of Mayberry Days was somewhat of a fluke, and it's amazing to think how that 
fluke has impacted Surry County, and Mt. Airy specifically, over the years.  
The author described attending the Mayberry Days after Andy's death and 
commented on some of the participants.  I was quite disappointed by his brief 
description of David Browning (though unnamed) as "a Don Knotts surrogate, with 
a few extra pounds on his frame and no magic in his eyes."  I found that unfair 
and rather insulting.  First of all, David doesn't impersonate Don Knotts; he 
does his own version of Barney.  Secondly, he's been doing the Mayberry Deputy 
for many years now and was slimmer when he first started (and he's no more than 
average weight now).  Thirdly, if the author thought David had "no magic in his 
eyes," he must not have looked in them.  Sorry to go on ab
 out that, but in Barney's lingo, that just frosted me!  David is so talented 
with a great personality.  He has added immeasurably to various Mayberry 
functions and celebrations through the years.  (Okay, enough of the rabbit 
trail.)  With nearly all autobiographies I read, my favorite part is the 
beginning and my least favorite is the end, with the decline of a career and 
eventually the death of the subject.  That was still somewhat true with this 
book, but the one thing that was very uplifting about the end of the "Andy and 
Don" book is Andy's return to his boyhood Christian faith.  After years of 
living a Hollywood lifestyle, his illnesses later in life seemed to bring him 
back to the realization that the most important thing is life is the state of 
the soul and preparation for eternity.  He wanted desperately to believe that 
Don would be waiting for him in heaven and regretted that he wasn't able to 
explicitly discuss his salvation or lack thereof before Don's death.  The 
 s account verified that Andy's faith in the Lord was real, and I found this 
touching and comforting.  I realize my report on the book is very late, as most 
of you have either read it or decided not to.  I just wanted to share my 
Thelma Lou
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