The Andy Griffith Show remains one of the most beloved and iconic sitcoms in television history. Set in the fictional town of Mayberry, North Carolina, the show starred Andy Griffith as the affable Sheriff Andy Taylor, with an ensemble cast that included Don Knotts, Ron Howard, and Frances Bavier. While fans of the show may think they know everything about Mayberry and its inhabitants, here are ten things you might not have known about The Andy Griffith Show.
- The Show Was Inspired by Andy Griffith’s Stand-Up Routine Before becoming a television star, Andy Griffith was a successful stand-up comedian who incorporated stories about his hometown of Mount Airy, North Carolina into his act. These stories would eventually become the inspiration for The Andy Griffith Show.
- The Theme Song Has Lyrics While most people know and love The Andy Griffith Show’s catchy theme song, not many realize that it actually has lyrics. The song, called “The Fishin’ Hole,” was written by Earle Hagen and Herbert Spencer, with lyrics by Everett Sloane. The lyrics were never used on the show, but they can be found on the original sheet music.
- Don Knotts Wasn’t the First Choice for Barney Fife Believe it or not, Don Knotts wasn’t the first choice to play Barney Fife. The role was originally offered to character actor Howard McNear, but he had to drop out due to health issues. Knotts was brought in as a last-minute replacement and ended up becoming a fan favorite.
- Ron Howard Was Just a Kid When He Started on the Show Ron Howard played the role of Opie Taylor, Andy’s young son, on The Andy Griffith Show. He was just six years old when the show premiered in 1960, and he remained on the show until its end in 1968.
- The Show Was Filmed in California, Not North Carolina Despite being set in North Carolina, The Andy Griffith Show was actually filmed on a studio lot in Los Angeles, California. However, the show’s producers went to great lengths to make the sets and costumes as authentic as possible.
- The Show Was Almost Cancelled After the First Season While The Andy Griffith Show is now considered a classic, it wasn’t an instant hit when it premiered in 1960. In fact, the show’s ratings were so low during its first season that it was almost cancelled. However, it gained popularity during its second season and eventually became one of the most beloved sitcoms of all time.
- Aunt Bee Wasn’t Always So Beloved While Aunt Bee, played by Frances Bavier, is now remembered as a beloved and kind-hearted character, the actress herself was reportedly difficult to work with. According to some cast members, Bavier was often grumpy on set and had a strained relationship with Andy Griffith.
- The Show Was Technically a Spin-Off The Andy Griffith Show was actually a spin-off of an earlier show called Make Room for Daddy. In one episode of that show, Andy Griffith appeared as Sheriff Andy Taylor, and the character proved so popular that he was given his own series.
- The Show’s Creator Wanted It to Be Timeless The Andy Griffith Show’s creator, Sheldon Leonard, intentionally made the show timeless by avoiding references to contemporary events or pop culture. This helped the show remain popular for decades after it went off the air.
- Andy Griffith Was a Talented Musician In addition to his acting and stand-up career, Andy Griffith was also a talented musician. He recorded several albums of gospel music and even had a hit single in 1953 with “What It Was, Was Football.”
Overall, the Andy Griffith Show remains a beloved classic to this day, thanks in large part to its endearing characters, wholesome humor, and timeless portrayal of small-town life in America. The show has left a lasting impact on television history, and its timeless themes of family, community, and small-town values continue to resonate with audiences of all ages. Its enduring popularity is a testament to the talent of its cast and crew and the heartfelt storytelling that made it a cherished part of American culture.