Thursday, May 2, 2013

Jesse, The Chicken Plucker...!

I reckon that not many in the entertainment field are remembered as fondly as this gentleman.

I first saw him doing a stand up piece on a television show back in the 1950s and he was funny even then! I kinda wish we had a few more like him!

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
he 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 overcome 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

Jesse Don Knotts.

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There is a street named for him and his statue in
Morgantown, West Virginia, his place of birth.

   Jesse Donald "DonKnotts (July 21, 1924 – February 24, 2006)

I always thought the man was funny, but I'll admit that I had no idea of his back story! Sort of gives you a whole new respect for the man and what he accomplished, doesn't it?

Coffee out on the patio this morning. It's supposed to go back up into the 80s, so let's take advantage of it!


Anonymous said...

Did you ever see that 'Candid Camera' video of him pretending to be a very nervous person who pierces ears ? Funny!

I had no idea of us upbringing - thanks for writing this up.

Sixbears said...

Great story Hermit! I didn't know that. Great when someone rises above their hardships.

Momlady said...

He was my favorite character on the Andy Griffith show.

Chickenmom said...

I loved Don - he was just so darn funny! Thanks for the info on his life - never knew that.
Patio is fine today - Whatever you're having, I'll take two!

linda m said...

I had no idea about his background. What an accomplishment. I loved him as Barney Fife. Starting to warm up around here finally but cold weather has set in again for a few days. I will be off line for about a week - going on vacation - see you when I get back.

JO said...

Great story. I always loved watching him on Mayberry.
Thanks for the story.

I would love some coffee on the patio.

Dizzy-Dick said...

I always liked him. I believe that when I was a young boy, he was on a soap opera that my Mom watched. He even made some really funny movies and of course we all remember Barney and Andy.

Anonymous said...

brought tears to my eyes. thanks.
deb harvey

MuddyValley said...

Enjoyed the story. I always liked his character. I have seen more than a few "Barney Fife"'s. Because of them he will never be forgotten, :-)

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

You had me wondering about Jesse's identity until I got to the end, HJ. Kudos to Mr Knotts for proving that you don't can make a difference in your own life and lives of others. His funniness was a gift to all of us. By the way, the image did not display after the story.

Anonymous said...

Howdy Hermit,
Don Knotts WAS a character, not only as an actor, but in real life.. Most comedians have life stories like this
one, sad lives that they overcome with laughter.. Don had a few very good roles in movies, but was mostly a 'Barney'-type... I sure wouldn't have wanted to be in his shoes, when he was growing up in West Virginia, among the 'knuckle-draggers'.....
We finally got some 'rain',THANK YOU, JESUS, BUT SURELY DO NEED A LOT MORE, to fill the stock tanks!!
butterbean carpenter, RunningStar Ranch