The Legacy of Andy Griffith and The Andy Griffith Show

Not many people might remember this show since it has been so long since it aired, but The Andy Griffith Show was a classic. It was one of the pioneers in comedy and on television in general. Find out more about this classic show and a few lesser-known facts about it by reading this article!

Image Credits: Getty Images / A portrait of Andy Griffith.


ANDY GRIFFITH AND THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW

Andy Samuel Griffith was one of the most popular actors back in his heyday. Not only did he dominate Hollywood, but he was also one of the first nominees for a Tony Award! His career spanned for more than five decades and his legacy still remains today.

Image Credits: Getty Images / A portrait of Andy Griffith.

From the 3rd of October 1960 and up until the 1st of April 1968, The Andy Griffith Show aired on CBS. This show consisted of 8 seasons in total, and parts of it were still in black and white. It was one of the best shows back then, and it still is considered to be such a classic in our time today. 

Image Credits: Getty Images / Andy Griffith and Don Knotts on set.


THE SHOW WAS SUPPOSED TO BE NAMED SOMETHING ELSE

Can you imagine The Andy Griffith Show being named something completely different? Well, this was the general idea behind the show creator’s mind. It was Sheldon Leonard who came up with the show and he simply wanted it to be called Mayberry.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Portrait for The Andy Griffith Show.


ANDY GRIFFITH WAS A PRANKSTER

According to most of the people who have worked with Andy Griffith, he was actually quite the prankster and the jokester. He would usually play a practical joke on his colleagues; but most favorably on Don Knotts. Although, most people know to not take Andy quite seriously, and all was well in Mayberry.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Andy Griffith on set.


THE OPENING SONG WAS CALLED ‘THE FISHIN’ HOLE’

If you do not know what the open song was called...well, you are not alone. The song was called The Fishin’ Hole and it was actually composed by Earle Hagen and Herbert Spencer. If you want to listen to the song’s lyrics, then you can listen to a record that Andy Griffith himself made which is also up on YouTube!

Image Credits: Getty Images / A portrait of Andy Griffith.


THE THEME SONG WAS WRITTEN BY A FARMER

Another widely loved and popular song from the show was its theme song: The Keeper of the Flame. This song was written by Everett Sloane who portrayed a farmer and a moonshiner in the series. Not many people know this, but Everett also wrote the lyrics to The Fishin’ Hole.

Image Credits: Getty Images / A portrait of Everett Sloane.


ANDY GRIFFITH WAS ACTUALLY ‘THE FUNNY ONE’

The original idea that the show creators had in mind was for Andy to be the comedic one. Although, the first time that they saw Don Knotts, they knew that he was set to become the more comedic one. Andy agreed with the idea and from then on, he was known to be the one who was the more serious type.

Image Credits: Getty Images / A portrait of Don Knotts.


MAYBERRY WAS SUPPOSED TO BE NAMED SOMETHING ELSE

Just like the show, Mayberry was actually supposed to have a completely different name. Before the creators had agreed to name it Mayberry, the town was actually called Mt. Pilot. This was also a fact that Andy Griffit himself confirmed.

Image Credits: Getty Images / The cast of The Andy Griffith Show.


THE MYSTERY BEHIND SHERIFF ANDY’S MAP

If you take a glance at the map that Sheriff Andy had behind his desk, then you would probably think that it was just a normal map. However, if you look closely, you would see that these were maps of Idaho and Nevada. Not only were they maps of completely different states, they were also upside-down!

Image Credits: Getty Images / A portrait of Andy Griffith.


ANDY GRIFFITH’S HOMAGE TO HIS FATHER

Not only was Andy Griffith a terrific actor, he was also a well-loved son. During the beginning of the show, Andy and Opie can be seen walking together and Andy would nod his head to acknowledge his son. This was something that Andy’s father did to him when he was younger and he would often tell him, “Good job.”

Image Credits: Getty Images / Andy Griffith and Ron Howard on set.


ANDY GRIFFITH AND RAFE HOLLISTER GO WAY BACK

Before Andy Griffith and Rafe Hollister worked on The Andy Griffith Show, they were actually friends in New York City. Both actors had a background in Broadway and they actually performed together. It is hard to imagine now, but we are quite sure that both Andy and Rafe had a spectacular time on those stages!

Image Credits: Getty Images / Andy Griffith on Broadway.


FRANCES BAVIER WAS ACTUALLY IN THE PILOT

Before she became the famous Aunt Bee that we now know, Frances Bavier actually had a completely different role. For the pilot episode, Frances was cast as a local widow. She played Mrs. Henrietta Perkins, and little did she know that she would come back on the show to portray a more major role...

Image Credits: Getty Images / A portrait of Frances Bavier.


WHY WAS RON HOWARD NAMED ‘OPIE’?

Ron Howard (or Ronnie as he was credited back then) portrayed Opie on The Andy Griffith Show. He was supposedly Andy’s own son, but where did the name Opie really come from? Well, the answer lies in Opie Cates who was a band leader in the decades earlier; both Andy Griffith and Sheldon Leonard were fans of Opie Cates.

Image Credits: Getty Images / A portrait of Ron Howard.


WHY WAS ANDY GRIFFITH CALLED ‘ANGE’?

Andy Griffith was often called Ange by Barney Fife. Most people were confused as to why he was being called this nickname, but the reason was actually quite simple. Ange was what Don Knotts actually called Andy in real life; it was ‘Andy’ and ‘Griffith’ put together.

Image Credits: Getty Images / A portrait of Andy Griffith.


THE TRUTH ABOUT HOWARD MCNEAR’S MOBILITY

If you watch the later episodes that Howard McNear was in, then you would probably notice the change in his mobility. This was due to the fact that he had a stroke whilst he was on the show; this also left his left side paralyzed. If you look closely at the episodes, you will see how Howard never actually moves his left hand...

Image Credits: Getty Images / Howard McNear on set.


THE MYSTERY BEHIND HOWARD MCNEAR’S CALENDAR

Another prop that looks completely normal but has a different meaning was Howard’s calendar. You can see that there is a calendar in Floyd’s (Howard) barber shop, and it looks pretty normal at first glance. However, if you pay close attention you will see that it really is stuck in the month of February.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Andy Griffith and Howard McNear on set.


HOW MUCH DID BETTY LYNN EARN?

Before she landed the famous role of Thelma Lou, Betty Lynn had admitted that she had only seen The Andy Griffith Show about twice in her life. It was known that she was not really a fan of the show before she started working on it. Although, she has grown to love it and she was eventually paid $500 per episode.  

Image Credits: Getty Images / Andy Griffith, Don Knotts and Betty Lynn on set.


WHAT WAS JAMES BEST’S FAKE SKILL?

James Best portrayed a really talented guitar player on The Andy Griffith Show. However, James also has a deep and dark secret...he does not actually know how to play a guitar. He lied about his skills in order to get cast on the famous show.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Andy Griffith and James Best on set.


ANDY GRIFFITH AND DON KNOTT’S REAL LIFE CONNECTION

In the earlier seasons of the show, Andy occasionally referred to Barney as ‘Cousin Barney’. Although, the idea that they were cousins in the show dropped just after airing their first few episodes. However, what people do not know is Andy and Barney were cousins in real life! 

Image Credits: Getty Images / A portrait of Andy Griffith and Don Knotts.


WHO WAS THE FIRST WOMAN TO WEAR PANTS ON THE SHOW?

In the show, Sheriff Andy had three love interests; but the one who was often forgotten was Peggy McCay's character. Although, even if people do not really remember her as Sheriff Andy’s love interest, she was often remembered in a better way. Peggy was actually the first female character in the show to ever wear pants...how cool was that?

Image Credits: Getty Images / Andy Griffith and Peggy McCay on set.


THE MYSTERY BEHIND ANDY GRIFFITH’S PAINTING

Another prop from The Andy Griffith Show that had a completely deeper meaning was a particular painting that was hung in Sheriff Andy’s fireplace. The painting was called The Angelus and it was painted by Jean-François Millet in the 19th century. What was funny about this painting was the fact that a young Salvador Dalí was actually scared of it...

Image Credits: Getty Images / Andy Griffith on set.


WHAT WAS SHERIFF ANDY’S ADDRESS?

One thing that was constantly debated about The Andy Griffith Show was Sheriff Andy’s actual address. Aunt Bee once said that it was 332 Maple Street, but Barney also said that it was 24 Elm Street. So who do we actually believe?

Image Credits: Getty Images / Andy Griffith on set.


WHY DID FRANCES BAVIER DISLIKE ANDY GRIFFITH?

This was a fact that only started out as a rumor, but as the years progressed, Frances Bavier completely detested Andy Griffith. Just after The Andy Griffith Show was cancelled, Andy Griffith and Ronnie Howard visited Frances' home; they were sadly turned away. Now she might have her reasons, but that sure was distasteful.   

Image Credits: Getty Images / A portrait of Andy Griffith, Ron Howard and Frances Bavier.


WHY DID PHIL SUNKEL SUE THE SHOW?

In one episode of the show, there was a hornblower that was named Phil Sunkel. This was supposed to be a tribute to the actual Phil Sunkel, but Phil did not like it at all. So he sued The Andy Griffith Show for using his name without any permission, and he got $20,000 for it.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Andy Griffith, Don Knotts and Ron Howard on set.


WHY WAS ANDY GRIFFITH’S HAND BANDAGED?

There were two episodes in the show’s second season where it can be seen that Sheriff Andy was sporting a bandage on his right hand. The show creators said that it was a result of a scuffle, so that was how they made it to be on-screen. However, it was actually due to a punch that Andy threw at a wall due to his anger...

Image Credits: Getty Images / A portrait of Andy Griffith.


THE MYSTERY BEHIND THE MAGAZINE WITH LUCILLE BALL

Who does not love Lucille Ball? There was a particular prop in the show that had Lucille’s face on it, and it even kept on popping back and forth on the show. Please tell us that you have spotted this magazine!

Image Credits: Getty Images / A portrait of Lucille Ball.


THE SHOW’S STANDING WHEN IT ENDED

When the show got cancelled, it was actually at its highest ranking. Aside from The Andy Griffith Show, there were another two series that were ranked at number one just as they left the air. These shows were I Love Lucy and Seinfeld.

Image Credits: Getty Images / Andy Griffith, Don Knotts and Jim Nabors on set.

We may not really remember who Andy Griffith was or how The Andy Griffith Show brought joy to our households, but their legacy still carries on. Do you remember watching this show when you were younger? Let us know by leaving a comment below, and share this article with your family and friends!

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