Andy, thanks for the memoriesPublished 10:52am Tuesday, July 10, 2012
There’s a little Mayberry in all of us.
And we all have Andy Griffith to thank for that.
No matter your age – eight (thanks to reruns) or 80 (who witnessed it first-hand on their black-and-white TV’s) – generations of Americans know Sheriff Andy Taylor.
Each and every week back in the 60’s (and now nearly every day on TVLand), we were invited to spend a leisurely half-hour in Mayberry.
Upon our arrival, Andy and his trusty sidekick, Deputy Barney Fife, captured our hearts…as did Opie, Aunt Bea, Floyd, Gomer (with Goober to follow), Otis, Emmett, Helen, Thelma Lou, Clara and Ernest T. Bass…just to name a few legendary characters.
We’ve lost many of those TV friends over the years, most recently the death of Griffith on July 3. But the legacy, and the laughs, he shared with us all will live forever through re-runs and the magical place known as Mayberry, where pure Southern charm was always on display.
It’s hard to fathom, but the original “Andy Griffith Show” only lasted eight seasons. It first aired on October 3, 1960 and ended on April 1, 1968.
Now, years later, we each have our list of favorite “Andy” shows. My top five, in order, are: “Citizen’s Arrest” (Gomer arrests Barney for making an illegal u-turn in the squad car), “Mr. McBeevee” (an electrical lineman befriends Opie), “Man in a Hurry” (a businessman, accustomed to the hustle and bustle of the big city, learns about the values of country living when his car breaks down in Mayberry), “The Haunted House” (perhaps the funniest show of them all….when Andy, Barney and Gomer venture inside a spooky home to retrieve Opie’s baseball), and “Opie the Birdman” (Andy teaches his son about taking responsibility for his actions).
While Andy’s actions over those eight years were steeped in home-spun values (lessons we can all live by), his professional career wasn’t just limited to Mayberry. Listed among his enormous success was “Matlock” (1986-1995) – a TV series, filmed in Wilmington, depicting Griffith as a country-bumpkin lawyer in Atlanta.
It was Andy that gave us sports fans, and non sports fans alike, the legendary monologue – “What It Was, Was Football.” It’s rumored that among the first public venues where Taylor recited those lines was a meeting of the Aulander Ruritan Club back in 1953.
His deep-rooted North Carolina humor was also seen and heard in the 1958 film, “No Time for Sergeants.” He was also cast in the outdoor drama, “The Lost Colony” where he worked his way up to the leading role of Sir Walter Raleigh. It was there he developed a love of our state’s famed Outer Banks, eventually making his home in Manteo where he died and was buried last week.
He also starred in a pair of critically acclaimed films – “A Face in the Crowd (1957) and “Waitress” (2007).
But perhaps my favorite Griffith moment (outside of Mayberry) was his part in country singer Brad Paisley’s music video “Waitin’ on a Woman” (2008). He still shared his tried-and-true advice, this time with a young bachelor, and the video ends with Griffith, dressed in all white, sitting on a white bench on a sandy beach. It was an angelic ending, much like we know where his soul is today.
Andy, thanks for so many wonderful memories.
Cal Bryant is Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 252-332-7207.