"At the end of the day it doesn't matter how much money people are being paid or how many trucks you have on the sidelines. What'd you get inside the frame? That's all I care about."
About This Interview
A television star by the age of six, Ron Howard recalls that: "people were beginning to come up and ask me for autographs after The Andy Griffith Show aired, and I could print but it just took me forever, so I actually learned cursive writing so that I could sign autographs." In his three-hour Archive interview, Howard reminisces about his early years growing up in Burbank, the son of actor parents, and his own start at age three, using a dialogue scene from "Mr. Roberts" as his audition piece. He describes some of his earliest acting on television including the "live" anthology drama Playhouse 90 and his recurring role as part of the gang on Dennis the Menace. He then talks about his appearance on an episode of General Electric Theater, for which host Ronald Reagan made special note, catching the eye of producer Sheldon Leonard, who cast Howard on the pilot for The Andy Griffith Show. He speaks in great detail about playing "Opie Taylor" on The Andy Griffith Show, describing his work with Andy Griffith and the show's ensemble and discussing moments from the series' production. He talks about using memories of his dog's death to create the emotions necessary for the classic "Opie the Birdman" episode, and truly having to "act" when eating "ice cream" (actually cold mashed potatoes). He briefly describes some television roles he appeared in before taking on his other signature television role of "Richie Cunningham" on Happy Days. He discusses candidly, the shift in the series focus onto the break-out "Fonzie" character, recites some of the series numerous catchphrases and reminisces about memorable series episodes (including "The Howdy Doody Show" and the now-infamous "jump-the-shark" episode, "Hollywood"). He details his transition to behind-the-camera as a director of low-budget features and television movies (including Cotton Candy and Skyward), before becoming one of Hollywood's A-list producer-directors. He lastly notes his work as executive-producer and voice-over narrator on the Emmy-Award-winning sitcom Arrested Development. Gary Rutkowski conducted the interview at the Imagine Entertainment offices in Beverly Hills, CA on October 18, 2006.