‘Saved By the Bell’ and ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Share This Unlikely Connection

The casts of 'The Andy Griffith Show' and 'Saved By the Bell'
The casts of ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ | Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images and ‘Saved By the Bell’ | NBCU Photo Bank

When The Andy Griffith Show debuted on CBS in 1960, the cast of Saved By the Bell hadn’t even been born.

Yet the two comedy series, airing almost 20 years apart from one another, are interrelated.

Here’s the connection.

The creator of ‘Saved by the Bell’ wrote ‘Andy Griffith Show’ episodes

Andy Griffith as Sheriff Andy Taylor, Don Knotts as Deputy Barney Fife and Jim Nabors as Gomer Pyle during season 4.
Andy Griffith as Sheriff Andy Taylor, Don Knotts as Deputy Barney Fife and Jim Nabors as Gomer Pyle during season 4. | CBS Photo Archive

Before he created Saved By the Bell, television writer Sam Bobrick contributed scripts for episodes of The Andy Griffith Show. He partnered with other show writers to write story lines for the classic comedy set in the small town of Mayberry.

“We did one show called “The Shoplifters,” Bobrick told the Archive of American Television in 2016. “It was very successful. And then [Griffith Show producer Aaron Ruben] gave us three more shows to write. Aaron Ruben who, by the way, was the best producer I ever worked for, just a wonderful man.

“And so we started writing The Andy Griffith Show and we wrote a bunch of them together,” he continued.

In all, Bobrick penned 19 scripts for episodes of the 1960s sitcom.

The writing process on the ‘Griffith Show’

Andy Griffith, George Lindsey, and Howard McNear in a scene from 'The Andy Griffith Show', 1966
Andy Griffith, George Lindsey, and Howard McNear in a scene from ‘The Andy Griffith Show’, 1966 | (c) CBS/Courtesy of Getty Images

Bobrick explained the writing process as it was on the Griffith Show.

“What they would do on this show is you’d have a producer, you’d have a story editor, and then they’d get three teams of writers and they’d split up the scripts between them,” he said. “I remember going into [show creator] Sheldon Leonard’s office and wherever Andy was and pitching ideas and coming up with ideas.

“All the writers, there’d be six of us, we’d come up with different stories. Then you had a chance to pick the story you want. Sometimes it worked out, sometimes it didn’t,” he recalled.

The show Bobrick created that became ‘Saved by the Bell’

Saved by the Bell
‘Saved by the Bell’ cast | Gary Null/NBCU Photo Bank

RELATED: ‘The Big Bang Theory’ Has a Subtle Nod to ‘The Andy Griffith Show’

Bobrick in 1988 created and wrote the pilot for a new Disney Channel show called Good Morning, Miss Bliss. A comedy originally centered on the American teen high school experience, the show starred Hayley Mills, the 1960s actor famous for her roles in Pollyanna and the original version of The Parent Trap. Eventually, the grade was changed to a grammar school setting.

“I wrote the pilot about a third-grade teacher,” Bobrick recalled. “And we got Hayley Mills in, I love her, she was so nice. I liked her from her young movies. I went to pick her up from the airport and she was just a gorgeous person, very nice person. She came to do Miss Bliss and the pilot came out fine. They sold it to The Disney Channel and it was canceled after 13 weeks.”

Bobrick explained how his Good Morning, Miss Bliss was resurrected after cancellation as Saved By the Bell.

“[NBC President] Brandon [Tartikoff] was upset that they canceled Miss Bliss and put it on NBC in the mornings. They changed it to teenagers and there was enough of the show that I had written in that gave me the creative by-credit. But originally, that’s what it was supposed to be,” he said.

While he was glad to see his original series living on in a new form, Bobrick said he “wouldn’t have lasted with Saved By the Bell.

“It’s not my kind of show,” he said. “I didn’t mind writing the pilot but I just was not a team player. I just didn’t want to stay with a show that long.”