Skip to main content

The Andy Griffith Show is one of America’s all-time great television shows, a golden age classic that stars Andy Griffith, Frances Bavier, Don Knotts, and Ronny Howard. Even though the show went off the air decades ago, it is one of the few shows that remains hugely popular in syndication, gaining thousands of new viewers every single year. The Andy Griffith Show features a number of in-jokes and clever references within the series — including one that even the most devoted fans might have missed upon first glance. 

When did ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ debut?

The Andy Griffith Show was the brainchild of Andy Griffith, a popular comedian, actor, and monologuist. The situational comedy series debuted on television in 1960, and almost right away, it was a hit with viewers.

The show focused on the citizens of the town of Mayberry, a small town in the heart of the south. The residents of Mayberry include everyone from the eccentric barber Floyd to Sheriff Andy Taylor, played by Griffith himself.

Jim Nabors, Andy Griffith, and Don Knotts of 'The Andy Griffith Show'
Jim Nabors, Andy Griffith, and Don Knotts of ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ | CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

As Opie Taylor, little Ronny Howard rose to fame on The Andy Griffith Show. Howard went on to become a Hollywood power player, a director who has worked with some of the biggest names in the business.

Many of the other series stars went on to greater fame and fortune after their work on The Andy Griffith Show, including beloved comedian Don Knotts. Still, the show’s most enduring legacy is the way that it managed to effectively portray a simpler way of life, depicting a town that, for many, is the epitome of small-town nostalgia. 

Andy Griffith gave a subtle nod to his hometown

While Mayberry is a fictional town, it has some real-life roots. Andy Griffith was born in Mount Airy, North Carolina, in 1926, and while he had a troubled childhood in many ways, he was able to overcome his past and become a real success — immortalizing his hometown in the process.

According to, Griffith actually based the fictional town of Mayberry on his hometown of Mount Airy. And while fans searching for a real town named Mayberry might be disappointed, Mount Airy has transformed over the years into a reasonable facsimile of the small town, with buildings like the Old Mayberry Jail and Floyd’s Barber Shop.

Fans might even run into some of the actors who worked on The Andy Griffith Show, back in the day, when they visit any of the shops and businesses based on the series. Griffith himself seemed to encourage the comparison.

In fact, according to MeTV, in the episode “A Black Day for Mayberry” featured a scene where Barney Fife picks up a Mayberry phonebook. Eagle-eyed viewers who look closely will notice that the phonebook is actually a directory for Mount Airy, North Carolina.

‘The Andy Griffith Show’ remains popular with viewers of all ages


‘The Andy Griffith Show’: Andy’s Real-Life Wife Made a Cameo on the Series

After eight successful years on the air, The Andy Griffith Show ended its historic run in 1968. The show spawned several spinoffs, including one featuring Jim Nabors, and even a few reunion movies made for television.

Still, the show itself remains hugely popular in syndication, with people of all ages tuning in to watch reruns, enjoying a show that hearkens back to a much simpler time.

Ultimately, there will never be another television show quite like The Andy Griffith Show — and there will never be another Mayberry. For those fans who wish to enjoy the nostalgia of the past, a visit to Mount Airy, North Carolina, might be just the ticket.