Wishing a very happy 85th birthday to TV legend Andy Griffith!
Andy Griffith, who was born on June 1, 1926, began his long career with the now-classic comedy bit, “What it was, was football” and then garnered his first success on Broadway in “No Time for Sergeants.” The two hits led to many appearances on live TV shows, including U.S. Steel Hour, The Steve Allen Show, and Playhouse 90. A guest appearance on The Danny Thomas Show served as the pilot for the eight-season run of The Andy Griffith Show. He continued to star in many TV and film productions including his successful crime series, Matlock.
The town of Mayberry featured in The Andy Griffith Show stemmed from Griffith’s own hometown of Mt. Airy, NC. In Archive his interview he notes:
“At first, producer Sheldon Leonard didn’t want it to be in North Carolina. He just wanted it to be somewhere in the south. And I hate these made up names. So we did have Mt. Pilot which there is a place called Pilot Mountain up near Mt. Airy, but I gradually started slipping in real towns in North Carolina like Asheville and Raleigh and Silver City. And so it became during that first year, it became a town in North Carolina.”
Here’s a special video (edited by Steve Wyant) of selections from Andy Griffith’s Archive of American Television 1998 interview: