The Real Reason Barney Fife Never Really Showed Up After Season 5
When the show first premiered, Andy informed Don Knotts and the rest of the Griffith Show cast that he only planned on the show running for five seasons so they each signed contracts for five years. At the end of those five years, when season five commenced, Don began looking for other work and quickly found it.
Knotts agreed to a five-picture film deal with Universal. Then, sponsors and network staff persuaded Andy to return for a sixth season. (And a seventh, and an eighth, as it turned out.)
Don Knotts Was Sent Bullets Of All Kinds
One of the classic running jokes in The Andy Griffith Show is that Barney is never allowed to carry more than one bullet in his gun. This was because Barney couldn’t be trusted with a loaded gun (for fear that he’d shoot his own foot or worse) and Andy would relegate him to a single bullet, which he would often have to take away.
In the spirit of an ongoing inside joke, apparently fans of the show from all over the country felt so bad for him that they sent Don Knotts actual bullets! It was both a chide and a gesture of endearment. “Bullet for my Valentine,” anyone?