Andy Griffith: Actor, Musician, Comic

Andy and Don Knotts

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Andy Samuel Griffith was born June 1, 1926 and died of a heart attack on July 3, 2012. In that time he had accomplishments as an actor, teacher, Television producer, gospel singer, and writer.

He was born in Mount Airy, N.C. He was drawn to music, was shy but learned to make his other students laugh. In high school he developed an interest in the arts and the school’s drama program. Although he was raised Baptist the greatest influence in high school was from a minister of the Moravian Church who nurtured his talent in music. He later earned a Bachelor of Music degree in 1949. He taught music at his old high school after graduation.

He is mostly remembered for his comedy, which was sometimes brilliant. Unfortunately, we often see the comic and miss the serious side of artist. Mark Twain was ignored by critics for a long time because he was a “humorist.” The same, I think is true of Andy Griffith. I have met people who think it strange that he was once a gospel singer. They don’t realize there can be a serious side to a man known aas a comic.

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Andy Griffith: A Few of My Personal Choices


Although Griffith has many accomplishments and I have not heard or seen all of them, he has been one of my favorite performers since my high school years in the 1950’s. For most people I talk to about him, they immediately talk about Andy and Don Knotts in the various reincarnations of “Mayberry.” That was a good show but not one of my favorites.

Danny Thomas

When I was young, Danny Thomas was way up there as one of my favorite comedians. The show with Griffith as a small town sheriff really started with a pilot film which was an episode of Danny Thomas’s show, “Make Room for Daddy.” In this episode Thomas plays the city slicker and Griffith plays the country cop. It was somewhat classic comedy. Both men were talented comedians. As they say, the rest is history. It was 1960 when the pilot aired and won the hearts of a wide audience. Re-runs of the show are still being shown.

Don Knotts and Ron Howard

Danny Thomas introduced the show and the fictional town of Mayberry but the talents of Ron Howard and Don Knotts are what helped the long running series be so popular. Knotts, according to Wikipedia, received Emmy awards for his comedy performances but Griffith was never nominated for one during the entire run of the show 1960-1968.

What it Was, Was Football

I think one of the things I liked about Griffith in the early years was his ability to act, as I believe Mark Twain would have described it, as an inspired idiot. That exactly describes his act on the 1954 comedy record: What it Was, Was Football. In this monologue, which he did in 1953, he plays the part of a rural character who accidental gets into a football stadium and is trying to understand what is going on. Maybe I have always liked this sketch because I am not a sports fan and not sure if I understand the whys and wherefores of the sport. As a matter of fact, on my first newspaper job I was assigned to cover sports, as well as to write and edit the sports page. The news editor that I worked with always told me to just think about Andy Griffith if I got stumped. Griffith was, indeed, inspired. However, talking to the coaches and reading the score book did more for me reporting the games.

Not everyone realizes that Griffith did this kind of comedy.

No Time for Sergeants

In our high school and college years I went “to the lake” which was “up North” as they say in Minnesota. One of my friends had access to a family cabin which he later inherited. On one occasion the car belonging to another friend broke down. If I recall correctly, I think it broke an axle. Anyhow, we decided to take a Greyhound bus back to the cities. The bus station was in a small town café so we ordered food to eat and I bought a copy of a magazine which happened to have the story (magazines printed fiction in those days) of a story called No Time For Sergeants. It was a humorous story about some recruits in the military. Sort of like Beetle Baily now. I really liked the story and later found it was made into a movie. Andy Griffith played the main role and again he was an inspired idiot. I have always thought that the Gomer Pyle TV showed was based on it.

Danny Thomas and Andy Griffith

Matlock

In my college years 1958-1962 I decided I would gear my writing to the mystery story. Like many students today, I did not go straight through college so it took me six years to get a degree. During that time the Perry Mason mystery series became very popular. That might have been what made me interested in mysteries. Well, Andy Griffith must have liked it too because he apparently modeled his own show after Perry Mason and called it Matlock. However, he may have followed the formula for plots but he gave his own spin to it. He added some comedy and some music. He is good at both.

Salvage 1

Andy Griffith had several other accomplishments. One of these was a Science fiction TV show called Salvage 1. This show I liked very much. It ran for 16 episodes in 1979. Twenty had been produced. Interestingly Isaac Asimov, a noted science fiction writer was an advisor for the show. Andy Griffith played the part of Harry Broderick who owned a salvage business and wanted to recover materiel’s that had been left on the moon during the Apollo missions. It had good stories and also much of the Andy Griffith style humor.

Salvage1

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He had a variety of other accomplishments.


  • He starred in the movie A Face in the Crowd in 1957
  • Singing and recording
  • School teacher teaching music and drama at Goldsboro High School.
  • He also made appearances on Playhouse 90, gomer Pyle, Go Ask Alice and several other shows.

Summary

Andy Griffith had an extremely accomplished career that included teaching, acting, humor, music, and movies. Comedy records and television shows. He was famously associated with Danny Thomas, Don Knotts, Dick Van Dyke, Ron Howard and other acting and comedy people.

Some information in this article came from Wikipedia.

Favorite Andy Griffith role

What is your favorite Andy Griffith role?

  • Sheriff Andy Taylor in Mayberry
  • Matlock
  • No time for sergeants
  • some other part
See results without voting

© 2014 Don A. Hoglund

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22 comments

Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 21 months ago from Upstate New York

I like this hub, but then, I liked Andy Griffith, too. There's one movie (one little-known movie) he made which sticks in my mind, because he was a FEROCIOUS BAD GUY in this film, and did it so very convincingly. It was called "Murder in Coweta County". I noticed Wiki didn't list it amongst Mr. Griffith's film credits. What a departure for him! And he pulled it off. Check it out should you get the chance. I agree with you that Mr. Griffith's acting talents have been somewhat under-appreciated. It might partly be the humourist image; it may also be the country-boy image that held him back a bit.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 21 months ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Paradise7. Thanks for reading and commenting. He has played in some Hollywood films that I have not seen. He has also played in Dick Van Dykes Murder 101. I think they were darker parts than his usual. He was, I think, one of those actors who gets into the part so that you don't realize that he is acting.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 21 months ago from The Beautiful South

I loved Andy and I did a hub on him too after visiting Mt. Airy where Andy was born; which is not all that far from where I live. I had already visited Pilot Mountain (Andy's Pilot Mountain) many times.

This is a great writing and I enjoyed it very much. Vote up and sharing.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 21 months ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Thanks for commenting, Jackie. That must have been an interesting visit. I've not been in much of the southern states. Thanks for voting and sharing.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 21 months ago from The Beautiful South

Oops I meant Andy's Mt Pilot! lol Such a tiny place, other than the mountain! Breathtaking place if you ever get the chance to visit. In fact I have a hub about that mountain with pictures if you haven't seen it. Makes you want to be a bird.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 21 months ago from Shelton

I am a big Griffith fan.. love Matlock and his television show.. and that tune you whistle.. great hub and great share :)


MsDora profile image

MsDora 21 months ago from The Caribbean

I voted for Matlock, perhaps because I watched more in that than in the Mayberry series, but I think I love them equally. I also loved him as a gospel singer. He's an extraordinary great in my book. Thanks for feeding us these pleasant memories.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 21 months ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Jackie, I did see that hub while I was looking for another one. I've been watching reruns of the old TV show "The Waltons" which takes place in Virginia, which is probably the only Southern state I've been in. I imagine it is much the same, however.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 21 months ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Frank, Thanks for commenting. That tune was catchy.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 21 months ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

MsDora. Thanks for commenting and taking the poll. Matlock would be my choice. Have a Merry Christmas.


Gawth profile image

Gawth 21 months ago from Millboro, Virginia

Dag, when our generation is extinct the only thing left to show that we were raised with decency and commonsense are the Andy Griffith shows. Maybe dubs of the originals should be sent to Mars when the ship blasts off. What could be a more peaceful and enticing to an alien than to see Andy, Barney, Opie, Aunt Bea, Otis and Goober re-runs. Great Hub!


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 21 months ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

At the very least--a time capsule. Thanks for commenting.


MelRootsNWrites profile image

MelRootsNWrites 21 months ago from California

I enjoyed your hub. I am a fan of Andy Griffith, though came to appreciate him on the Andy Griffith show a few years back while watching with my Dad. He had a quiet wisdom, found ways to solve problems without being in your face, etc. Barney Fife was always ready to pull out that gun (though it was questionable that he knew what to do with it). Not Andy. He knew words can be effective when used right. Thanks for bringing back the memories!


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 21 months ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

I'm glad you enjoyed my hub. Andy Griffith did present a great role model in the shows about Mayberry. He was an actor, musician, and comic that could be enjoyed and apprciated on numerous levels. Thanks for your comments.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 21 months ago from Southern Illinois

You have written about one of my favorite actors. I still watch his reruns occasionally. I enjoyed your hub. Well written. Thank you. You have a new fan.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 21 months ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

always exploring,

thank you for the complimentary comments. Some other hubbers have written about Andy Griffith and I tried to come at the subject from a different perspective. Thaanks for the follow.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 21 months ago from Houston, Texas

Hi Don,

I always enjoyed seeing Andy Griffith in the various roles he played. I was unaware that he was in a science fiction series. Voted up and interesting and I'll be giving this a tweet and pinning it to my interesting people board.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 21 months ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Hi Peggy,. Thanks for reading and commenting. The show "Salvage 1" I think only lasted about two seasons but it had some very good humor. Thanks for the votes, tweet and pin. Happy New Year


agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 20 months ago from Australia

Thanks for this great walk down memory lane, I enjoyed Andy in most of his 'series'.

One 'act' stands out and that is his take on 'Romeo and Juliet' :)


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 20 months ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Thanks for reading it and commenting. I think I must have missed the Romeo and Juliet, I'll have to take a look for it.


ladyguitarpicker profile image

ladyguitarpicker 17 months ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

Loved your hub and Andy Griffith. He could make people laugh without any trash. Great Hub, great memories.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 17 months ago from Wisconsin Rapids Author

Andy was a great comedian and a man of many talents. Too bad his role as a musician was not better known. Thanks for commenting.

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