The Andy Griffith Show is an American situation comedy television series that aired on CBS from October 3, 1960, to April 1, 1968, with a total of 249 half-hour episodes spanning eight seasons—159 in black and white and 90 in color.
|The Andy Griffith Show|
|Created by||Sheldon Leonard|
|Narrated by||Colin Male (1960–1964)|
|Theme music composer|
|Opening theme||"The Fishin' Hole"|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||8|
|No. of episodes||249 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||25–26 minutes|
|Distributor||CBS Television Distribution|
|Original release||October 3, 1960 –|
April 1, 1968
|Followed by||Mayberry R.F.D.|
The series originated partly from an episode of The Danny Thomas Show. The show stars Andy Griffith as Andy Taylor, the widowed sheriff of Mayberry, North Carolina, a fictional community of roughly 2,000–5,000 people. Other major characters include Andy's cousin, the well-meaning and enthusiastic deputy, Barney Fife (Don Knotts); Andy's aunt and housekeeper, Bee Taylor (Frances Bavier); and Andy's young son, Opie (Ron Howard). Eccentric townspeople and, periodically, Andy's girlfriends complete the cast. Regarding the tone of the show, Griffith said that despite a contemporary setting, the show evoked nostalgia, saying in a Today Show interview, "Well, though we never said it, and though it was shot in the '60s, it had a feeling of the '30s. It was, when we were doing it, of a time gone by."
The series never placed lower than seventh in the Nielsen ratings, ending its final season at number one. The only other shows to end their runs at the top of the ratings are I Love Lucy (1957) and Seinfeld (1998). On separate occasions, it has been ranked by TV Guide as the ninth- and thirteenth-best series in American television history. Though neither Griffith nor the show won awards during its eight-season run, co-stars Knotts and Bavier accumulated a combined total of six Emmy Awards. The series spawned its own spin-off—Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. (1964–1969) and a reunion telemovie, Return to Mayberry (1986).
After the eighth season, when Griffith left the series, it was retitled Mayberry, R.F.D., with Ken Berry and Buddy Foster replacing Griffith and Howard in new roles. In the new format, it ran for 78 episodes, ending in 1971 after three seasons. Reruns of The Andy Griffith Show are often shown on TV Land, MeTV, The CW, Pluto TV, and SundanceTV. On those channels, the episodes are edited to make room for commercials, but some airings on SundanceTV air the full uncut versions. The complete series is available on DVD and Blu-ray and is intermittently available on such streaming video services as Amazon Prime. Mayberry Days, an annual festival celebrating the sitcom, is held each year in Griffith's hometown, Mount Airy, North Carolina.
Sheldon Leonard—producer of The Danny Thomas Show—and Danny Thomas hired veteran comedy writer Arthur Stander (who had written many of the "Danny Thomas" episodes) to create a pilot show for Griffith, featuring him as justice of the peace and newspaper editor in a small town. On October 3, 1960, at 9:30 p.m., The Andy Griffith Show made its debut.
The sitcom's production team included producers Aaron Ruben (1960–1965) and Bob Ross (1965–1968). During season six, Greenbaum and Fritzell left the show and Ruben departed for Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.. Writer Harvey Bullock left after season six. Bob Sweeney directed the first three seasons save the premiere.
The show was filmed at Desilu Studios, with exteriors filmed at Forty Acres in Culver City, California. Woodsy locales were filmed north of Beverly Hills at Franklin Canyon, including the opening credits and closing credits with Andy and Opie walking to and from "the fishin' hole". The show's theme music, "The Fishin' Hole," was composed by Earle Hagen and Herbert Spencer, with lyrics written by Everett Sloane, who also guest starred as Jubal Foster in the episode "The Keeper of the Flame" (1962). Whistling in the opening sequence, as well as the closing credits sequence, was performed by Earle Hagen. One of the show's tunes, "The Mayberry March," was reworked a number of times in different tempo, styles and orchestrations as background music. The show's sole sponsor was General Foods, with promotional consideration paid for (in the form of cars) by Ford Motor Company (mentioned in the credits).
Griffith's development of Andy TaylorEdit
Premise and charactersEdit
Andy's friends and neighbors include, at various times, barber Floyd Lawson (Howard McNear; Walter Baldwin portrayed the role in the 1960 episode "Stranger in Town"), service station attendants and cousins Gomer Pyle (Jim Nabors) and Goober Pyle (George Lindsey), and local drunkard Otis Campbell (Hal Smith). There are two mayors over the course of the series: Mayor Pike (Dick Elliott) is more relaxed, but often indecisive, while Mayor Roy Stoner (Parley Baer) has a more assertive personality. Other semi-regulars include townswoman Clara Edwards (Hope Summers), Barney's sweetheart Thelma Lou (Betty Lynn) and Andy's schoolteacher sweetheart Helen Crump (Aneta Corsaut). Ellie Walker (Elinor Donahue) is Andy's girlfriend in the first season, while Peggy McMillan (Joanna Moore) is a nurse who becomes his girlfriend in season 3. In the color seasons, County Clerk Howard Sprague (Jack Dodson) and handyman Emmett Clark (Paul Hartman) appear regularly, while Barney's replacement deputy Warren Ferguson (Jack Burns) appears in about half of season six.
Ernest T. Bass made his first appearance in episode #94 ("Mountain Wedding"), as well as four later episodes. The actor who portrayed him, Howard Morris, also played George, the television repairman in episode #140 ("Andy and Helen Have Their Day") and two uncredited voice roles, as Leonard Blush and a radio announcer. Morris also directed a total of eight episodes of the show, none while portraying Ernest T. Bass.
Unseen characters such as telephone operator Sarah, and Barney's love interest, local diner waitress Juanita Beasley, as mentioned in the first season, are often referenced. The show's announcer for the first five seasons, Colin Male, portrayed Game Warden Peterson in Episode #140 ("Andy and Helen Have Their Day").
In the series' last few episodes, farmer Sam Jones (Ken Berry) debuts and later becomes the lead of the retitled show, Mayberry R.F.D. Don Knotts, Aneta Corsaut, Jack Dodson and Betty Lynn also appeared on Griffith's later show Matlock.
|First aired||Last aired|
|Intro||1||February 15, 1960||—||—||—|
|1||32||October 3, 1960||May 22, 1961||4||27.8||13.12|
|2||31||October 2, 1961||May 7, 1962||7||27.0||13.10|
|3||32||October 1, 1962||May 6, 1963||6||29.7||14.93|
|4||32||September 30, 1963||May 18, 1964||5||29.4||15.17|
|5||32||September 21, 1964||May 3, 1965||4||28.3||14.91|
|6||30||September 13, 1965||April 11, 1966||6||26.9||14.48|
|7||30||September 12, 1966||April 10, 1967||3||27.4||15.10|
|8||30||September 11, 1967||April 1, 1968||1||27.6||15.64|
The show comprises eight full seasons and 249 episodes—159 episodes in black and white (seasons 1–5) and 90 in color (seasons 6–8). Griffith appears in all 249 episodes with Howard appearing in 209.
Reruns, spinoffs and reunionsEdit
In 1964, daytime reruns began airing during the fall season and has been in syndication for 58 years. The show was retitled Andy of Mayberry to distinguish the repeat episodes from the new episodes airing in primetime.
In the last episodes of the eighth season, as Griffith was preparing to leave, the character Sam Jones, played by Ken Berry, was introduced as the new star and the series was retitled Mayberry R.F.D. Most of the cast members continued their original roles, with Bavier becoming Sam's housekeeper. To create a smooth transition, Andy and Helen were married in the first episode with the new title and remained for a few additional episodes before leaving with a move to Raleigh, effectively ending their appearances.
Goober, Barney and Emmett all made appearances in the series premiere of The New Andy Griffith Show, which starred Griffith as a similar but canonically different character, Mayor Andy Sawyer. All three characters treated Sawyer as if he were Andy Taylor. The series as a whole only lasted ten episodes.
Also absent were Howard McNear, Paul Hartman, Jack Burns and the cast members who were featured only in the Mayberry RFD seasons.
In 1993, The Andy Griffith Show had a Reunion Special which featured Andy Griffith, Don Knotts, Ron Howard, Jim Nabors, George Lindsey and Jack Dodson.
In 2003, four surviving cast members (Griffith, Howard, Knotts, and Nabors) came together for a reunion special that featured the actors reminiscing about each other's time on the show. The production was interspersed with archival footage and short filmed interviews with some of the other surviving cast members. This special was called The Andy Griffith Show: Back to Mayberry.
The Andy Griffith Show was a top ten hit through its entire run, never ranking lower than seventh place in the yearly ratings. The Andy Griffith Show is one of only three shows to have its final season be the number one ranked show on television, the other two being I Love Lucy and Seinfeld. In 1998, the year Seinfeld ended, more than five million people a day watched the show's reruns on 120 stations.
Awards and nominationsEdit
- Outstanding Performance in a Supporting Role by an Actor or Actress in a Series: Don Knotts – Won
- Outstanding Program Achievement in the Field of Humor – Nominated (Winner: The Jack Benny Program)
- Outstanding Performance in a Supporting Role by an Actor: Don Knotts – Won
- Outstanding Program Achievement in the Field of Humor – Nominated (Winner: The Bob Newhart Show)
- Outstanding Performance in a Supporting Role by an Actor: Don Knotts – Won
- Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Comedy: Don Knotts for "The Return of Barney Fife" – Won
- Outstanding Comedy Series – Nominated (Winner: The Monkees)
- Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Comedy: Don Knotts for "Barney Comes to Mayberry" – Won
- Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Comedy: Frances Bavier – Won
TV Land AwardsEdit
- Favorite Second Banana: Don Knotts – Won (2003)
- Single Dad of the Year: Andy Griffith – Won (2003)
- Legend Award – Won (2004)
- In 1997, the episode "Opie the Birdman" was ranked No. 24 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time.
- In 2002, TV Guide ranked The Andy Griffith Show ninth on its list of the 50 Best Shows of All Time.
- Bravo ranked Andy Taylor 63rd on their list of the 100 greatest TV characters.
- In 2013, TV Guide ranked The Andy Griffith Show number 15 on their list of the 60 Greatest Shows of All Time.
Merchandise and pop cultureEdit
Very little merchandise was produced for The Andy Griffith Show during its original run, a peculiarity for a hit TV show in the 1960s. One theory for the lack of merchandise is that the show's producers, Griffith in particular, wanted to protect its image as a realistic and thoughtful offering and keep the public's focus on the show itself rather than its branding. Among the handful of merchandise released during the show's first run, Dell Comics published two The Andy Griffith Show comic books, one drawn by Henry Scarpelli, the other by Bill Fraccio. In 2004, copies in near-mint condition were priced in excess of $500 each. There was also a soundtrack album, two coloring books, and a 1966 Grape-Nuts cereal box with a photo of Griffith in character as Sheriff Andy Taylor beside a lemon pie recipe on the back. The show's enduring popularity has spawned considerable merchandise during the decades following its cancellation, including board games, bobblehead dolls, kitchenware, and books. In 2007, a line of canned foods inspired by the series was made available in grocery stores across America.
Griffith's hometown of Mount Airy, North Carolina, annually hosts a week-long "Mayberry Days" celebration featuring concerts, parades and appearances by the show's players.
In 2003, the country band Rascal Flatts released the song "Mayberry" and many of the lyrics pay tribute to the show. The 1989 song "Floyd the Barber" by American grunge band Nirvana references multiple characters from the show, including Floyd, Barney, Opie, Andy, and Aunt Bee.
The Taylor Home Inn in Clear Lake, Wisconsin, is a bed-and-breakfast modeled after the Taylor Home. The Mayberry Cafe in Danville, Indiana, features Aunt Bee's Fried Chicken and a replica of Andy's Ford Galaxie police car.
In 2021, the original feature film Mayberry Man was produced by children of actors from The Andy Griffith Show featuring Mayberry tribute artists set in a fictitious modern-day Mayberry.
In the late 1980s, Premier Promotions released various episodes on VHS. Most tapes had either two or four episodes. In the early to mid-1990s, United American Video released VHS tapes of various episodes. They either had two or three episodes. These compilations were culled from episodes early in the show's run that had lapsed into the public domain; these episodes continue to be circulated on unofficial video releases. Between 2004 and 2006, Paramount Home Entertainment and later in 2006, CBS Home Entertainment released all eight seasons as single-season packages on Region 1 DVD. The Andy Griffith Show: The Complete Series was first released as a 40-disc boxed set in 2007. In addition to all 249 episodes of the series, its bonus features included the episode "Danny Meets Andy Griffith" from The Danny Thomas Show which served as the pilot, the episode "Opie Joins the Marines" from Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. which featured Ron Howard and the 95-minute, made-for-television comedy film Return to Mayberry. In 2016, The Andy Griffith Show: The Complete Series was repackaged and released again as a 39-disc set that featured all 249 episodes of the series but did not include the bonus feature disc. The last 16 episodes of the third season, which lapsed into the public domain after CBS neglected to file copyright renewals on the episodes in 1989, are available on discount DVDs. The 2007 lawsuit CBS Operations Inc v. Reel Funds International Inc. ruled that the episodes in question were derivative works based on the copyrighted episodes even though the episodes themselves were not under copyright and granted CBS indirect copyright over the public domain episodes; the ruling enjoined Reel Funds International, a public domain distributor, from selling DVDs with those episodes within the jurisdiction of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
|DVD Name||Ep#||Release Date|
|The First Season||32||November 16, 2004|
|The Second Season||31||May 24, 2005|
|The Third Season||32||August 16, 2005|
|The Fourth Season||32||November 22, 2005|
|The Fifth Season||32||February 14, 2006|
|The Sixth Season||30||May 9, 2006|
|The Seventh Season||30||August 29, 2006|
|The Final Season||30||December 12, 2006|
|The Complete Series||249||May 29, 2007|
|The Complete Series||249||February 16, 2016|
Note: The Region 1 release of The Third Season contains two episodes edited for syndication: "The Darlings Are Coming"—which had several scenes cut—and "Barney Mends a Broken Heart," which had its epilogue cut.
- Season 4, episode 20, as stated in the script
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