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Andy Griffith Show Memories : The Pilot Episode - Danny Thomas Meets Andy Griffith

Updated on May 1, 2009
The Danny Thomas Show
The Danny Thomas Show

Danny Meets Andy Griffith


In order to gauge audience response for their upcoming TV series "The Andy Griffith Show," executive producers Sheldon Leonard and Danny Thomas presented a pilot episode on Thomas' own weekly sitcom. This episode, in the seventh season of "Make Room for Daddy," was the launching pad for one of the most popular television series of all time. While traveling with his family, Danny has an encounter with small-town law enforcement in the form of Sheriff Andy Taylor. This episode would serve as the pilot for "The Andy Griffith Show" and was first aired on February 15, 1960.

Cast/Crew/Guest Stars

  • Danny Thomas (Danny Williams)
  • Andy Griffith (Sheriff Andy Taylor)
  • Ron Howard (Opie Taylor)
  • Frank Cady (Will Hoople)
  • Danny Thomas (Danny Williams)
  • Frances Bavier (Henrietta the Widow)
  • Rance Howard (Unknown)

Episode Summary

Danny runs a stop sign that is apparently sitting on a road for no reason and has his car pulled over by the Sheriff of Mayberry, Andy Taylor. Danny's adamant protesting leads him to discover that the Sheriff is not only the only law enforcement in town, but also the Justice of the Peace and the editor of the town newspaper. When Danny's smart, city attitude gets the best of him, Andy decides to impose a more serious fine on him. Danny refuses and is subsequently locked up. While locked in a cell, Danny gets to see first hand how Andy's unconventional style keeps not only the peace in town, but makes Mayberry a good place to reside. Danny plans to try to expose Andy as a crook, but discovers that he's anything but dishonest. In the course of the episode, Danny came to appreciate Andy's down-home goodness by witnessing the sheriff's encounters with his son Opie and various local citizens. After finally realizing his mistake in judgement, Danny pays the fine.

Notes / Trivia

  • When Andy makes his first appearance, loud applause is heard from the crowd. He was already established as a popular stand-up comedian and had been on television on previous occasions.
  • A couple of times Andy mentions his Aunt Lucy. She was apparently the predecessor to Aunt Bee.
  • Although Andy's late wife is rarely mentioned in his series, Andy and Opie have a rather detailed conversation about her in the pilot. Andy says that she died when Opie was just a "little speck of a baby."
  • The only two characters that make the transition from Pilot to series are Andy and Opie Taylor. However, Frances Bavier appears as the widow Henrietta. She would become everyone's Aunt Bee in the series. And everybody's favorite phone operator, Sarah, made the transition to the series.
  • This pilot also established the character of the town drunk who locks himself into jail when he's intoxicated. Frank Cady, of Hooterville fame from "Green Acres, "Petticoat Junction," and "The Beverly Hillbillies" fame, played this character (Will Hoople) in the pilot. Hal Smith portrayed the loveable town drunk Otis Campbell in the series.
  • In the pilot, Andy was Sheriff, Justice of the Peace, and Editor of the Mayberry Gazette. By the time the regular series premiered, he was only Sheriff and Justice of the Peace. And by the third season, his duties were apparently reduced to being Sheriff.

Memorable Quote : When Andy attempts draw similarities between the death of Opie's turtle and the death of his mother, Opie replies, "Who stepped on Ma?"


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      ken 9 years ago

      oops!!! forgot to give you the address...

    • profile image

      Ken  9 years ago

      Mr. Johnson was in the pilot episode, played by Mr. Will Wright. He was the predicessor to the character Mr. Weaver ( also played by Mr. Will Wright). Mr. Weaver was in 3 episodes of the Andy Griffith Show. You can go to this site and view the missing episode of the pilot. It was aired on the original pilot but subsequently cut. It is a funny scene! I just thought you would find that interesting.