How many hours do we sit in front of the boob-tube, absorbing whatever it might be that the screen feeds us? Probably too many. But through the years we've met some pretty interesting characters.

For me, there has been 3 that have really stood out.

I absolutely loved Festus Hagen on 'Gunsmoke'. He was kind of the replacement when Chester left and went on to become some guy named 'McCloud', remember? Anyway, Festus had that great dumb-country smarts...not a lot of schoolin' in the Hagen family, but somehow Festus always got things figured out and in a good way. And it was great how he could get under Doc's skin week after week. He was always at 'Matthew's' side. A great character portrayed by Ken Curtis.

Second on my list would be Kramer from 'Seinfeld'. When Jerry's apartment door burst open and Kramer slid in, you knew some interesting philosophy was about to be spouted. Whether it was a new hair-brained scheme or fighting with some of the other characters, Kramer always had something to say, something to do. Unfortunately the actor, Michael Richards, damaged his career with some waaaay off base racial comments from which he's never recovered.

I have other all-time favorite characters...geez, Hawkeye, Rockford, Meathead and Archie, Lucy, the Cartwrights, my Cheers gang, and the all time 'love-to-hate' guy, J.R.

But all time favorite?

It has to be Barney. If the Andy Griffith Show is on and Barney Fife is the Deputy, I'm watching. Don Knotts played the bumbling loveable Deputy for 5 years and won 5 Emmy's for Best Supporting Actor. That's right, 5 for 5. Not a bad average.

By the way, if you see an Andy Griffith Show and it's in color...sorry, no Barney. Barney Fife is only a regular in the black and white episodes.

I'm not sure we'd want Barney Fife to guard our town against crime. But he sure would be fun to have a piece of pie with.