Posts Tagged ‘Andy Taylor’

Andy Griffith turns 85!

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

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:

“The Andy Griffith Show” 50th Anniversary

Friday, October 1st, 2010

After a pilot episode aired on The Danny Thomas Show (“Danny Meets Andy Griffith,” airdate: 2/15/60), The Andy Griffith Show landed on CBS’ following fall schedule, debuting on October 3, 1960. It led to a group of successful “rural-themed” sitcoms (The Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres) that populated the CBS schedule through the ’60s.  Nominated for several Emmy Awards, it brought five consecutive Emmys to ensemble player Don Knotts (as “Barney Fife”), but surprisingly Andy Griffith never saw a nomination.  Perhaps this resulted from Griffith’s own realization early on that his character, Sheriff Andy Taylor, should not be played for laughs, but remain the voice of reason among the off-center denizens of Mayberry.  Mayberry itself became the center of the show and landed in the pop culture annuls— leading audiences to believe it was a real town (as noted in The Musuem of Broadcast Communications’ Encyclopedia of Television, “over the years the writers fleshed out the geography and character of the town with a degree of detail unusual for series television.”)  The Andy Griffith Show was followed by two spin-offs (Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C. and Mayberry R.F.D.) and a highly-rated reunion TV movie Return to Mayberry (1986).  Andy Griffith was later seen on Matlock, Don Knotts on Three’s Company, and little Ronny Howard was just getting started when he starred in follow-ups The Smith Family and Happy Days.  Andy Griffith, now 84 years old, has recently appeared in such feature films as Waitress (2007) and Play the Game (2008).

“I knew that Don should be the comic and I should play straight for him.  And that made all the difference.  All the difference.  Then Mayberry became a living town.” — Andy Griffith

“Mayberry was a little town of yesterday… where everybody knew everybody, and it was full of these funny characters.” — Don Knotts

“Andy used to say that even though we’re making the show in the ’60s, Mayberry is really the town I grew up in the ’40s.  So there was something nostalgic about it already.  It wasn’t trying to be current.  It more reflected his memory of the south that he grew up in.” — Ron Howard

The Archive of American Television interviewed many of the talents behind The Andy Griffith Show, including a rare interview with executive producer Sheldon Leonard (1907-97) in 1996.  Among the many others featured on the Archive’s The Andy Griffith Show show page, include: Andy Griffith, Don Knotts, Ron Howard, Howard Morris, Elinor Donahue, producer Aaron Ruben, writer Everett Greenbaum, composer Earle Hagen (who not only composed the theme, but whistled it, too!), and director Richard Crenna.