The Andy Griffith Show is a classic series that ran for nearly eight years, signaling the beginning of the end of television’s golden age. The situational comedy series featured down-home star Andy Griffith as Sheriff Andy Taylor, comedy icon Don Knotts as his bumbling deputy, Barney Fife, and a roster of other talented performers portraying the good citizens of the fictional town of Mayberry.
The show is also notable for putting young actor Ron Howard (then known as Ronny Howard) firmly in the spotlight, and during his years on the show, he rose to fame, going on to become a major director and part of a legendary Hollywood dynasty. Still, he was very young when he began appearing on The Andy Griffith Show, and due to his young age, he was involved in several minor dust-ups during filming — including one that caused showrunners to have to employ a trick to make the title sequence look seamless.
When did ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ debut on television?
When The Andy Griffith Show premiered in 1960, series star Andy Griffith was one of Hollywood’s biggest up and coming star. The folksy performer had made a name for himself in movies like A Face in the Crowd, and was also well known for his skills as a singer and monologuist.
By the time he began appearing in The Andy Griffith Show, he was not only a talented actor but an accomplished producer and writer as well.
As the widowed sheriff of Mayberry, Griffith’s character, Andy Taylor, was responsible for not only shepherding his young son Opie to adulthood, but helping the citizens of Mayberry with all of their various problems. For viewers, Mayberry provided an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life – and to this day, fans turn to The Andy Griffith Show when they want to enjoy the nostalgia of a simpler time.
Ron Howard rose to stardom on ‘The Andy Griffith Show’
Born in 1954, Ron Howard started acting when he was only a few years old, appearing in television shows like The Twilight Zone and The DuPont Show with June Allyson. When he was just five years old, he was cast in The Andy Griffith Show, spending his formative years on set with major stars like Don Knotts.
Howard appeared in all eight seasons of the show and following his work on The Andy Griffith Show, he solidified his stardom by appearing in the cult classic show Happy Days. He did various other television shows and movies as he grew into an adult, but he is best known these days as a top director.
A few of Howard’s best-known films include Cinderella Man, Frost/Nixon, Solo: A Star Wars Story, and The Da Vinci Code. To many older fans, however, he will always be known as the mischievous red-headed Opie Taylor.
A lot of trickery was involved in filming the intro sequence
When filming began for The Andy Griffith Show, young Howard was only six. Therefore, it took a great deal of practice in order to nail more tricky bits — including the notorious title sequence, which features Opie throwing a rock into the fishing hole.
Reportedly, Howard had a hard time throwing the rock far enough to get into the water, even after repeated attempts. According to the report, assistant director Bruce Bilson finally had to step in to try to get the shot right, planting a prop man behind a bush.
This time, when Howard threw the rock, Bilson signaled the prop man, who tossed the rock into the water. Although the crew finally got the shot, eagle-eyed viewers will notice a bit of a lag in the title sequence, when Opie throws the rock and when it actually hits the water.