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snopes 11 January 2011 05:36 AM

A dreamer and his dream
Let me tell you, Jesse hated this job. And you would too, I imagine, if you had to do it. Jesse was a chicken plucker. That's right.

He stood on a line in a chicken factory and spent his days pulling the feathers off dead chickens so the rest of us wouldn't have to.

It wasn't much of a job.

But at the time, Jesse didn't think he was much of a person. His father was a brute of a man. His dad was actually thought to be mentally ill and treated Jesse rough all of his life.

Jesse's older brother wasn't much better. He was always picking on Jesse and beating him up. Yes, Jesse grew up in a very rough home in West Virginia . Life was anything but easy. And he thought life didn't hold much hope for him. That's why he was standing in this chicken line, doing a job that darn few people wanted. In addition to all the rough treatment at home, it seems that Jesse was
always sick. Sometimes it was real physical illness, but way too often it was all in his head. He was a small child, skinny and meek. that sure didn't help the situation any.

When he started to school, he was the object of every bully on the playground. He was a hypochondriac of the first order. For Jesse,

tomorrow was not always something to be looked forward to. But, he had dreams. He wanted to be a ventriloquist. He found books on ventriloquism. He practiced with sock puppets and saved his hard earned dollars until he could get a real ventriloquist dummy.

When he got old enough, he joined the military. And even though many of his hypochondriac symptoms persisted, the military did recognize his talents and put him in the entertainment corp. That was when his world changed. He gained confidence. He found that he had a talent for making people laugh, and laugh so hard they often had tears in their eyes. Yes, little Jesse had found himself.

You know, folks, the history books are full of people who overcame a handicap to go on and make a success of themselves, but Jesse is one of the few I know of who didn't forget it. Instead he used his paranoia to make a million dollars, and become one of the best-loved characters of all time in doing it!

Yes, that little paranoid hypochondriac, who transferred his nervousness into a successful career, still holds the record for the most Emmy's given in a single category.

The wonderful, gifted, talented, and nervous comedian who brought us Barney Fife was ...

Jesse Don Knotts.

Gutter Monkey 11 January 2011 06:33 AM

Knotts won 5 'Best Supporting Actor' Emmy Awards, which is actually the most anyone has won in that category. He did actually join the army and entertained the troops as a ventriloquist.

There's a few references to him getting a job as a chicken plucker (an example) but as for when that was, it's usually mentioned that he took this job when he was told he wouldn't make it as an actor


Don Knotts was told early in his career that he did not have a chance as a actor. He took a job plucking chickens for a market.
I think whoever wrote the glurge changed around the order that things happened so that it looked like Don was a chicken plucker before he started his career, which doesn't seem to be how it happened but it makes for a nice glurgey story.

TrishDaDish 19 February 2011 04:35 PM


Yes, little Jesse had found himself.
This line make me smirk and chortle like an eleven year old. Darn you, Britcoms teaching me slang! :lol:

DawnStorm 20 February 2011 03:23 PM


Originally Posted by TrishDaDish (Post 1411965)
This line make me smirk and chortle like an eleven year old. Darn you, Britcoms teaching me slang! :lol:

When I was a little bitty boy.....
Channeling Chuck Berry's only #1 song.

Rhysdux 10 March 2011 09:38 PM

It's also worth noting that William Jesse Knotts died in 1937, when Don Knotts was thirteen, so he definitely didn't treat Don roughly all of Don's life. Also, his father wasn't merely "thought to be mentally ill." He was a paranoid schizophrenic and alcoholic.

Auburn Red 11 March 2011 12:33 AM

Finally a glurge that has some truth in it. That doesn't make it any better written but still....

Chloe 11 March 2011 12:34 AM

In the glurge, is he plucking chickens as a child? Chickens, then school, then the military? Also, where does the hypochondriac bit fit in?

TrishDaDish 04 May 2011 03:33 PM

Jessie! Now Jerome!

Okay, I'm now officially old for making that reference.

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