Here are 11 facts you didn’t know about the inhabitants of the small town of Mayberry, North Carolina and one of America’s best shows of all time.
The Andy Griffith Show was so popular that the beloved American comedy series was still number one on television the year it finished. (Needless to say, CBS would have probably liked to have kept it around.)
The series was produced by Sheldon Leonard and Danny Thomas and featuring Andy Griffith as Sheriff Andy Taylor, Ron Howard as Opie Taylor and Don Knotts as Barney Fife.
1. Aunt Bee and Andy Griffith Didn’t Get Along…
Sweet Aunt Bee and Andy were not friends! During filming, Andy Griffith and actress Frances Bavier, Aunt Bee, did not like each other. Frances Bavier was apparently not a fan of his personality. The feud lasted so long that no one apologized until she was pretty much on her deathbed.
2. Don Knotts Left the Show Because of Some Bad Communication
When the show started, Andy Griffith informed Don Knotts he just wanted to do it for five years, so both of them signed agreements for five years. Knotts began searching for a fresh job at the end of five years and signed a three-year photo contract with Universal. But Griffith wanted to maintain the show going by that stage. He provided a new agreement to Knotts, but it was in conflict with the one he had just signed with Universal, so he had to quit the show. Therefore, in the last few seasons of the show, Deputy Barney Fife was not in it.
3. Opie Pretty Much Never Had a Mom
Talk about a pretty bad backstory. All we know about Ron Howard’s character’s mother is that she happened to pass away when he was a “speck of a boy.” They never even gave her a name. Poor Opie.
4. Andy Griffith Thought He’d be the Funny One on the Show… Then Don Knotts Happened
Andy Griffith was a famous stand-up comic at the moment of the show’s premiere. He thought he was going to be the show’s primary comedic character, particularly since it was his show, you know. But along the way, a funny thing occurred. Barney Fife became the fan’s favourite, comedy-wise, far and away, so Griffith decided to become the straight man to Fife’s comic relief in the interest of the show.
5. The Andy Griffith Show Shared a Minor Character with Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C
His name was Mister Schwamp, and he pretty much only sat on a bench. Sheriff Taylor or Barney Fife would say “hi” to him sometimes, but that was all about it. He turned out to be the production manager of the show. Also in the series there was a character named Goober Pyle.
6. Sheriff Andy Taylor is a GOAT Dad (Greatest Of All Time)
Andy Taylor was ranked number 8 in TV Guide’s list of the “50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time” (June 20, 2004 issue). His son Opie did not have a mom, but he sure was a great dad.
7. The Show Filmed on the Same Set as an All-Time Movie Classic
The Andy Griffith Show was actually shot on the same set as the film Gone with the Wind. This begs the question if every studio in Hollywood just had one “small town” set they shot everything on.
8. The Show Won Two Emmy Awards
Don Knotts and Frances Bavier each brought home an Emmy for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series and Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, respectively. Andy Griffith was never actually nomindated. The show was also once nominated for Best Comedy Series, but it lost.
9. One of the Most Popular Characters was Out of Line with the Show’s Conservative Themes
The Andy Griffith Show and Mayberry’s inhabitants were renowned (and loved) for upholding the 1950s and early 1960s rigid moral codes. The Andy Griffith Show was regarded as clean even for the time’s television shows. Despite that, Otis Campbell, the city drunk, performed by Hal Smith, was among the favourite characters of the audience.
10. The Andy Griffith Show Didn’t Really End When it Ended
Maybe the Andy Griffith Show finished in 1968, but Mayberry R.F.D. instantly followed it. Although Andy Taylor was no longer the primary character (he appeared in five episodes), there were still other favourites such as Aunt Bee and Goober Pyle. Nevertheless, the show was never as popular as the original and lasted only three seasons.
11. Aunt Bee Once Smacked Someone With an Umbrella for Cursing
Mayberry on camera may have been a pleasant location, but the actors spoke off camera like, well, comedians. As much as Frances Bavier was not a fan of this, it happened.