Welcome to the Hanspostcard TV Draft. I hope you will enjoy it! Today’s post was written by Max at https://powerpop.blog
There has been so much written about this show and the writing will never stop. It was a show about the quirky citizens of a fictional town called Mayberry. The Andy Griffith Show is not just another show. The series will be around long after we are gone and still being discovered by future generations.
Some of the love I have for the show is about escapism. The low pressure of living in Mayberry is attractive. A place where you are allowed to live slowly and friends are only a few miles away. Nowadays our lives are so full of technology and rush that it would be tempting to walk through the screen to join Andy and Opie fishing out on Meyers Lake.
Mayberry was based on a small North Carolina town called Mount Airey where Andy grew up. Griffith has also said that although the show was in the sixties, Mayberry had a 1930s-1940s feel to it. When I’m asked where I grew up, I’ll say in a town kind of like Mayberry and they get what I’m saying.
The episode that best explains the show is… Man In A Hurry. A businessman’s car breaks down two miles from Mayberry on a Sunday. He has a business appointment in Charlotte the next morning. He walks to town and finds it deserted until church lets out. The garage is also closed on Sunday. Gomer is working but can only pump gas and Wally refuses to repair the car until Monday. The stranger can’t believe the pace of life in Mayberry and everyone’s lack of urgency. Andy tries to talk him into spending the night and getting the car fixed on Monday… he won’t have any of this non-sense… first but then he slowly realizes what great lives these people lead and ends up staying a little while longer than he could have.
Andy Griffith and Don Knotts were a great comedy team. I wish they would have made a few movies together. Knotts wanted to do that but Griffith always backed away from it. You can put them up there with other great comedy teams. Andy was a great straight man and Don played off of him well.
I’ve seen parents play episodes to their kids for lessons, schools play episodes for students, and heard of preachers writing sermons around episodes. The humor wasn’t dirty but it wasn’t sterile either. Most if not all of the first 5 season episodes are classics. It’s a show that you can catch at any time. During a rainout, between movies, and a binge-watch.
The show offered a little of everything… One of the things I liked was the bluegrass music of The Dillards who appeared on the show as the Darlings. Denver Pyle played Briscoe Darling Jr. and played the jug with the Dillards. They were and STILL are a bluegrass band that tours and releases albums.
Andy had many girlfriends throughout the show. There was Ellie and she gave Andy all he could handle. Ellie, unfortunately, left after the first season. He saw the county nurse Mary Simpson (My favorite), Peggy McMillian, and then he met Helen Crump. Personally, I never liked Helen as much. Her nickname from some fans was Helen Grump because she could be a grump quite often. Andy ended up marrying Helen in the last season.
Thelma Lou was one of my favorite characters of the show. She put up with Barney’s shenanigans but was always there for him. Barney was foolish for letting her go but they finally got married. It didn’t happen on the show’s original run but they finally tied the knot in the reunion movie.
Then there was Aunt Bee Taylor. She took care of Andy and Opie and made sure they were fed well and came home to a clean house. Aunt Bee had a smile for everyone unless you got on her bad side. She could be stubborn and formidable when angered and she commanded the utmost respect from everyone. She was in a way, everyone’s Aunt.
The two characters from Wally’s gas station were Gomer Pyle and Goober. Goober was a great mechanic and Gomer mostly filled your tank up with a story to go along with it. They were not the sharpest tools in the shed but both had hearts of gold and added to the show’s comedy.
Andy’s son from his only marriage was Opie Taylor. You never found out how Opie’s mother passed away but she did before we got to meet the Taylors. Opie is a super kid and Andy raised him the right way. He is kind and polite and when he does something wrong he usually had the sense to recognize that and correct the problem.
Otis Campbell… Otis was a good guy with only one problem. He was the town drunk. Andy and Barney knew him so well that they let Otis grab the jail key and let himself in when he was a bit intoxicated. During the reunion movie made in the 80s, he had given up the booze and was selling ice cream.
Seasons 1-5 were in Black and White with Don Knotts as Barney Fife. Don’s last season was the 5th season and seasons 6-8 were in color. I have all of the Griffith Show episodes but I will admit…I don’t really watch the color episodes as much as the black and white ones. Yes, there are some good later episodes but it’s Andy. He walks around Mayberry like he is owed money. Andy later admitted on many of the later episodes he was going through the motions.
He started to get a little tenser on screen in the 5th season but Barney was still there and kept things light. In the 6th season with Barney gone, Andy acted impatient with his fellow quirky citizens where at one time he enjoyed them. The show just changed dramatically with color. It remained at number 1 but it just wasn’t the same.
It was one of the most successful television shows ever. The Series went out on top and had a successful spinoff called Mayberry RFD.
In the early 70s Mayberry RFD and other shows such as The Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, Mister Ed, Lassie, Petticoat Junction, and Hee Haw were canceled because of the rural purge the network did… everything that had a tree got canceled it seemed. More important shows were coming like All In The Family and others but there was always room for others. In syndication these shows do great.
So follow me to Mayberry and don’t look back.