I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have pretty fond feelings about The Andy Griffith Show. Lots of nostalgia here. This show debuted on October 3rd, 1960 on CBS. The show featured Sheriff Andy Taylor, a single father living with his son Opie and Aunt Bee in Mayberry, NC. The show lasted for 8 season, and I am currently watching and re-watching them on Netflix. When I think of the show, I remember the older black & white episodes featuring Don Knotts as Deputy Barney Fife. The later episodes are good too, but nothing compares to the old Andy and Barney in B&W,
The Andy Griffith Show
“That’s so boring,” I remember saying when I was a kid. Growing up in the 1980s, Andy Griffith was typically an afternoon rerun I caught in the summers between Wheel of Fortune, Transformers, Hogan’s Heroes, and whatever Hardy Boys Casefiles I happened to have borrowed from the library. Since I was tasked with taking care of my sister and brother during the summer while my parents were at work, I didn’t get outside as much as other kids. I think they later labelled kids such as myself a Latchkey Kid. All I know is that I probably watched more TV than C. Everett Koop would have recommended.
I was not a huge fan of Andy Taylor and the Mayberry Team when I was growing up. When I was young, I enjoyed TV shows that were in color. Stuff like The Andy Griffith Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, and The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis turned me off. I think I was too young to appreciate the history, culture, and comedy of these bygone eras. Certainly I took note of them, as I knew of other roles the leads had done. With Andy, I was quite familiar with Matlock, which was always on when I was growing up. I also knew all about Don Knotts, because I loved him in The Apple Dumpling Game, The Incredible Mr. Limpet, and Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (among many other slapstick films). However, I could not seem to pay attention to the show when it came to Mayberry.
In retrospect, I think of the times I came across the show on the TV dial quite fondly. It was something from my childhood that still sticks in my brain. Thanks to modern technology, I have now been watching The Andy Griffith Show from the beginning on Netflix, and I have a new-found respect for it. I’m almost finished the 7th season now; only skipping a few episodes focused on Deputy Warren Ferguson, who annoyed me to no end. I expect to keep going through the end of the 8th season. As to the sequel series, Mayberry R.F.D., I might pick it up on Amazon, but I might not. I’ll have to keep you posted on that.
My favorite character is easily Barney Fife, which is probably why the later seasons hold less interest for me. I enjoy the many misconceptions, mistakes, and misinterpretations of our favorite Deputy. Barney always tried his best, even if the results were usually disastrous. I also think that Andy Griffith played well as the straight man to Knotts’ Fife. After Don left the show after ’65, Andy was frequently left to play the comedian among comedians, which never felt as interesting or dynamic. Mind you, I did enjoy the extra air time that Aunt Bee and Helen Crump got, but it was never the same after Knotts left.
I should let you know what my favorite episodes were. I loved Season 2’s “The Pickle Story,” which features Aunt Bee making pickles, while Andy and Barney replaced the homemade pickles with store-bought pickles. I always refer to Claussen pickles in the supermarket as store-bought pickles as a result of this episode. Very funny. I also enjoyed “The Bank Job” which featured Barney, and also introduced Jim Nabors as Gomer Pyle.
I’m sure I’ve talked enough. Do you have any fond memories of The Andy Griffith Show? What's best - B&W or Color?