‘The Andy Griffith Show’: Andy Griffith Thinks This Set the Show Apart in the 1960s
The Andy Griffith Show ran on CBS from 1960 to 1968. The beloved TV series starred Andy Griffith as Sheriff Andy Taylor, a widower with a young son. Ron Howard played his son Opie, Don Knotts starred as Taylor’s deputy Barney Fife, Frances Bavier played Andy’s Aunt Bee, Jim Nabors appeared as Gomer Pyle, and Howard McNear played barber Floyd Lawson.
The TV series took place in the fictional town Mayberry, N.C. and followed Andy’s daily life with his friends, family, and the townspeople. The show became known for its moral lessons, and Griffith believes there is a reason the show has stood the test of of time.
‘The Andy Griffith Show’ elicits nostalgia
Decades after the show went off the air, Griffith and Knotts appeared on the Today Show. When asked about what Mayberry was like, Griffith acknowledged that the show had nostalgia for viewers when it first aired.
“Well, though we never said it, and though it was shot in the ’60s, it had a feeling of the ’30s,” Griffith said. “It was when we were doing it, a time gone by.”
When fans watch The Andy Griffith Show now, the comedy series represents a past time of life in a small town. While the show was filmed and took place in the 1960s, it still evoked a feeling of nostalgia by appearing like the 1930s. This helped set it apart from other shows at the time, and it has also helped cement The Andy Griffith Show as a fan-favorite TV series across generations.
How the show wrote jokes
One of the things The Andy Griffith Show is known for is its comedy. While speaking on the Today Show, Griffith and Knotts explained how the comedy felt so natural to the characters on the show.
“We were very careful to keep our characters always very pure,” Griffith said. “If a joke made a lie out of the character we’d lose the joke.”
Knotts added, “Yeah, Andy used to say ‘If it sounds like a joke throw it out.'”
For his role as Barney, Knotts went on to win five Emmy Awards. When asked if he was surprised about the success surrounding the show, Knotts said it did surprise him.
“I think we all were, really. I think when we first started out we were just hoping we’d stay on the air,” he said.
One of Andy Griffith’s favorite Barney moments
On the Today Show episode, Griffith and Knotts were asked to describe the other’s characters. Griffith went on to tell a story of one of his favorite storylines involving Barney. The storyline in question took place in the 20th episode of the second season and is called “Barney and the Choir.”
In the episode, Barney is invited to join the choir, but it is then revealed Barney cannot sing well. The choir members try rehearsing in other places so Barney won’t find them, and then they attempt to convince Barney to simply speak his solo.
Finally, Andy comes up with the idea to trick Barney into singing quietly because the microphone is too sensitive. As Barney barely sings, a man behind a curtain with a microphone sings in his place.
“It was wonderful being the straight man in the show. I got to be in the show and I had the best seat in the house at the same time,” Griffith said. “I played straight to all these fine comedic characters that we had and I loved it.”