A Tribute to the Andy Griffith Show
Don Weed
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Andy Griffith has always brought a lot of delight to me. I am currently going through the Andy Griffith Show DVDs and still appreciate the humor and the cast of one of the best sit-coms ever done. It waned a little in the later seasons with the departure of Don Knotts, but he did make several guest appearances in later episodes. It was a nice touch rather than today's stars leaving shows and never being seen again.

I also have lived in North Carolina and visited Mount Airy - the town that Mayberry was loosely based on. There is a Floyd\'s barber shop there right next door to the a Snappy Lunch. And just down the street is the Andy Griffith Museum. Where else will you get to see his gray Madlock suit and an intact wrapper of Andy Griffith Sausage?

The intent of this list is to memorialize the running plot lines that played out through the series. No one episode is stressed but there were some events that recurred that gave the show its quaint continuity. It reminds me of the simpler times of my childhood because my hometown was not too different from Mayberry.

Hope you enjoy looking it over as much as I enjoyed putting it together and add your own if I've forgotten any.
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1. Board Game: Strat-O-Matic Pro Football [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:3060]
Don Weed
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Andy Griffith got his start as a storyteller/stand-up comic from North Carolina. North Carolina has a long history of high regard for good storytelling. There's even competitions and many of the stories are derivitives of "Jack Tales". Jack tales are stories of a guy named Jack who is embarking on making his name in the world. Trust me, there's entire books of the compilations of these stories.

One of Andy Griffiths most famous stories was "What it was, was football", relating a backwoods fellas (sic) account of his first football game. It is very reminiscent of the Jack tales.

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Don Weed
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Andy was on Broadway in 1955 and got his first movie in "No time for Sargents". A movie that was most notable as the first time that Andy Griffith and Don Knotts worked together. I think you can see the chemistry even then.

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3. Board Game: Mayberry-opoly [Average Rating:3.00 Unranked]
Don Weed
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The Andy Griffith Show first aired in 1960 and ran for eight years and was in the top ten rated shows every year. It got its start from the Danny Thomas show where Danny Thomas was arrested in Mayberry for running a stop sign. Danny Thomas was a great help in getting Andy Griffith his big breaks in Hollywood.

The show itself survived major cast changes and spun off two other shows: Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. (a direct decendent of No Time for Sargents) and Mayberry RFD which picked up where Andy Griffith left off. Not bad for a half hour comedy show.

Mayberry was probably as big a star as any of the cast. Who wouldn't have wanted to live there. Life was simple and full of colorful characters. Everyone knows each other and pull together in times of need.



There are a lot of Monopoly variants out there that picture towns and cities. is this the only fictional one?
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The opening title is probably known to more people than any other and it consisted only of a guy whistling accompanied by an acoustic guitar. I can name that tune in three notes.

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Don Weed
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Now on to the main gist of the list - the running plot lines.

Raising Opie.

Opie (is that short for something? I could never figure that out) was a stereotypical boy who was not afraid to say what he wanted in front of anybody. There were a lot of shows that had morality lessons for Opie's benefit with Andy giving him a lecture about how to do something only to be caught by Opie later doing the very wrong thing that he was lectured about. I'm sure that we all benefited from these morality plays when our parents saw them.

My favorite Opie story (and probably the most critically acclaimed one) was when he killed a mother bird with his slingshot. Guilt caused him to raise the fledglings himself and eventually release them. When he did he told Andy "The birdcage sure looks empty", to which Andy rejoined "Yeah, but don't the trees look full".

Of course, everyone knows that Opie was played by Ron Howard who went on to star in Happy Days and is now one of Hollywood most successful directors.

This is a condensed version of another example, 'Opie and the Spoiled Kid'.

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Barney Fife

In many ways the Andy Griffith Show characters were an ongoing plot device. Many shows gravitated around their personality quirks or dug deeper into the personalities. Barney epitomized this. How many times did he stick his foot in it and Andy would have to help him out, often without Barney's direct knowledge. The first two shows mentioned that Barney was Andy's cousin but later shows seemed to say otherwise.

Don Knotts played the character that stereotyped him for life. It's my understanding that Don knotts was quite the ladie's man in high school. His great acting and physical comedy abilities are unsurpassed. Don Knotts passed away in 2006 but his performances here will always be remembered.



And I had to include this, forget 'Luther' this is Barney Fife in another life. I saw this as a kid and loved it:



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Otis Campbell

Otis was the most common and amusing prisoner in the jail. He was totally inoffensive, knew the consequences of his actions and knew his place. Alcoholism is not funny but the show made him a three-dimensional character by featuring stories about him over the years. He turnrd out to be a pretty decent sort when sober.

Hal Smith played Otis and was about as antithetical to the character as you could get. A devout Christian he later went on to play Whit in Focus on the Family's Adventures in Odyssey, a long-running Christian radio program.

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Floyd's Barber Shop

I always loved the character of Floyd Lawson. An extravagant conversationalist with never an original thought of his own. What he said would often take time to register but he had an unmistakeable delivery. His Barber shop was the congregation point for many of the Mayberry Men. Many mal-concieved plots and suspicions were hatched there.

Actually, the character Floyd's first appearance was played by an older actor (Walter Baldwin) who was replaced by Howard McNear in the next episode.

McNear and had a stroke during the run of Andy Griffith. You may notice that in later episodes Floyd was always sitting. This is was because he was unable to walk or stand after his stroke. I think it says a lot of the actor's and writer's creativity and endurance to keep the character even after this tragic occurrance. Howard McNear died in January of 1969.

I don't know if I care for the demonizing of Floyd in the attached video but you have to admire the editing. Enjoy.

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Aunt Bea

Who doesn't have a maiden aunt like Aunt Bea. A fiesty fussbudget that keeps the family in line. Aunt Bea had the focus for a few episodes but really was played as a rather low-level character. Francis Bavier's portrayal was good but she never got to show other sides of Bea's character. A missed opportunity but the show would have been much less without her.

When she did get attention sometimes it wasn't wanted:


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10. Board Game: Fantasy & Romance [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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Romance

Andy & Ellie, Andy & Helen, Barney & Thelma Lou, Barney & Juanita, Barney & Earnest T (well, that was a set up), Howard & ANYBODY (please), etc. etc. Almost evreryone in the cast had some kind of serious romance during the show and that includes Opie and Aunt Bea. There was never any resolution to them or the formula would have to change. Still, it made for some funny moments.

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Gomer Pyle

Gomer was played by Jim Nabors and the character was mainly played for laughs. But, when people heard him sing they were amazed. Nabors had a long career as a singer with a voice that belied his "aw, shucks" Gomer. He later was spun off on his own series when the character joined the marines and was replaces by his cousin Goober (George Lindsay). It just shows that the series wasn't quite ready to lose the character.

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12. Board Game: The Andy Griffith Show Trivia Game [Average Rating:5.19 Unranked]
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Fun with the show

Just to show how the show is ingrained in the public memory. These are some youtube videos I found that are spins on the series. There are some really ingenious ones out there.

For those Cthulhu fans out there:



Cruder but funny:



To reenactments:

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