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Tribute to Andy Griffith, Mt. Airy and Mayberry NC

Updated on August 18, 2014

Downtown Mount Airy, North Carolina in the 2010s

Sheriff Andy Taylor's Mayberry, North Carolina was patterned after Andy Griffith's childhood home of Mount Airy NC.
Sheriff Andy Taylor's Mayberry, North Carolina was patterned after Andy Griffith's childhood home of Mount Airy NC. | Source

A Tribute to Kindness and Talent

Andy Griffith died early on July 3rd, 2012 and was resting in the soil of Roanoke Island in the family cemetery just 5 hours later, before noon. People still wonder why that happened without a memorial service for fans to pay their respects.

During that American Independence Week, his own firework went out and we didn't get to say goodbye. Tributes flowed in from everywhere around the world:.

His pursuit of excellence and the joy he took in creating served generations & shaped my life. -- Ron Howard, Film Director and Opie on the Andy Griffith Show.

An actor who never looked like he was acting, a moral compass who saved as many souls as most preachers, and an entertainer who put smiles on more faces than almost anyone...Andy Griffith made the world a better place... -- Brad Paisley, Singer.

The reason every ‘Seinfeld’ character greeted with ‘Hey, _______ (name)’ was a secret tribute to The Andy Griffith Show -- Jerry Seinfeld on Twitter

Andy Griffith intended to become an opera singer or a Moravian church minister, but acting and other music captured his imagination at school. He may have reached more people with those than he might have in a church pulpit. Besides acting and similar pursuits, he recorded seven Gospel albums, one of which won a Grammy in 1996.

Andy Griffith's North Carolina

Mount Airy NC:
Mount Airy, NC, USA

get directions

This hometown was the model for Mayberry in the Andy Griffith Show and Mayberry R.F.D.

Pilot Mountain NC [Mount Pilot NC]:
Pilot Mountain, NC, USA

get directions

Named after Pilot Mountain

Manteo NC:
Manteo, NC 27954, USA

get directions

Andy Griffith's final home.

Andy Griffith's boyhood home in Mt. Airy NC. [The current owner is The Hampton Inn of Mount Airy, which rents it to guests.]
Andy Griffith's boyhood home in Mt. Airy NC. [The current owner is The Hampton Inn of Mount Airy, which rents it to guests.] | Source
Manteo, North Carolina:
Manteo, NC 27954, USA

get directions

Andy Griffith made viewers think, but Mayberry never needed signs like this
Andy Griffith made viewers think, but Mayberry never needed signs like this | Source

A Respected Life

Andy Griffith was born in Mt. Airy, North Carolina near the West Virginia Border during the summer of 1926.

His body was buried about 330 miles to the east in Manteo on Roanoke Island in the summer of 2012 and his 86 years with us are badly missed.

Roanoke Island is just to the west of Hatteras Island, also called Croatan Island, the site at which artifacts and DNA analysis of residents has shown that the Lost Colony settled here. after leaviong their original village. Griffith performed at the Lost Colony theater facility on Roanoke Island early in his career.

He'd led a long life in music, including Gospel and Country; writing, acting, and other chores. Thanks to Griffith, we can still enjoy the simple, wholesome values of Mayberry on such TV channels as TVLand and MyTV. Griffith is also responsible for his influence on Ron Howard that helped bring forth the innovative accomplishments of "Opie's" career as an adult.

Without Andy Griffith, perhaps there'd have been no Gomer Pyle or Cocoon. There would have been a different Happy Days and perhaps no Apollo 13 or Splash.

From his own work, I will never forget the powerful A Face In the Crowd (1957). In that startling work, the beloved new TV host Andy plays becomes political influence, but mocks the home viewing audience when he thinks the cameras are not rolling (see a clip below).

In seeing old footage of a monologue from Ira Levin's play, No Time For Sergeants (1958), I realized that this is where the character of Gomer Pyle originated.

Statue presented by TVLAND to honor The Andy Griffith Show.
Statue presented by TVLAND to honor The Andy Griffith Show. | Source

Reminded of a Recent Election

In the year 2008, Elia Kazan's A Face in the Crowd (1957) was selected by the US Library of Congress for preservation in the US National Film Registry as "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

In this Andy Griffith film, he plays a well known radio and TV host who becomes drunk with power and attempts to sway the masses to vote for a Senator running for the President of the United States.

See the film clip from the 1957 black-and-white film below. Some of the same issues are still hot topics in the 2010s.

Quote from Drew Carey

“Best Andy Griffith movie of all time: A Face In The Crowd. Hands down, no doubt about it. His best work.” -- Drew Carey on Twitter

A Face In the Crowd Fits Today

Andy's sheriff's office maintained in Mt Airy as a museum exhibit.
Andy's sheriff's office maintained in Mt Airy as a museum exhibit. | Source

Favorite Andy Griffith Roles

What is your favorite Film or TV Series starring Andy Griffith?

See results

Andy began acting in the Lost Colony Theater in Roanoke, 1947

Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, Manteo, Roanoke Island NC. A theater company entertains visitors every year.
Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, Manteo, Roanoke Island NC. A theater company entertains visitors every year. | Source

Rt. 158 runs into Hatteras Island (Croatoan Island)

Roanoke Island:
Roanoke Island, Nags Head, NC, USA

get directions

Wright Brothers Memorial, Kitty Hawk:
Wright Brothers National Memorial, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948, USA

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    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 

      10 months ago from Long Island, NY

      You did wonderful research for this article Patty. I grew up watching every episode of The Andy Griffith Show, and continued following him when he returned 18 years later in Matlock. I enjoyed your entire review of Andy Griffith's career, and I learned a few things I didn't know, such as the information about his childhood home.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      6 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Nice town, isn't it? Lovely place to visit and even to retire to, maybe.

    • Gcrhoads64 profile image

      Gable Rhoads 

      6 years ago from North Dakota

      This is a wonderful tribute to Andy Griffith. I have been to Mount Airy a few times, but I didn't realize that his childhood home still existed. Thank you.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      6 years ago from south Florida

      I loved Andy as the sheriff in Mayberry and as the attorney in Matlock. And I love your tribute to him, too, Patty. I can easily see him smiling down at you as he reads this fascinating ode to his talent and personality.

    • George Greene Jr. profile image

      George Greene Jr. 

      6 years ago from California PA

      In many ways Andy reminded of my own father. First my Dad looked like him. @ he talked like him and 3rd he held the same values as the character from Mayberry Andy portrayed so well. I thought he played the older attorney of Matlock with a great deal of authority . Even though the show was a sort of cross-breed of Barnaby Jones (played by one of his best friends Buddy Ebson)and Perry Mason, the show still had its place among one of the great detective series to be on the little screen.

      I did find it odd thought o see Andy Griffith in a role so not like him to be in.. the grandfather in a made for tv movie who was so determined in his love for his grandson he went as far as trying to kill the rest of the family so nothing would get in between the 2 of them. truly not the Andy Griffith style we were used to.

      Great tribute to a great actor and humanitarian. voted up all around.

    • Angela Blair profile image

      Angela Blair 

      6 years ago from Central Texas

      Thanks for writing this exceptional tribute to an inspiring man. Andy Griffith was always one of my heroes and truly believable no matter what part he played. I've been very disappointed that so little tribute was paid to him by the press, etc. -- he was one of a kind and dearly loved. Best/Sis

    • wetnosedogs profile image


      6 years ago from Alabama

      Oh, this is a great writing on a superb human being. I am happy to be old enough to say I have watched his shows.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      6 years ago from The Caribbean

      A most beautiful and well deserved tribute to Andy Griffith. I agree that he was "an actor who never looked like he was acting," and that he could have "saved as many souls as most preachers." He was one whom the whole family could watch and concentrate on his acting rather than having to make explanations. Voted Up.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 

      6 years ago from Southern Georgia

      A lasting tribute to one of the great guys of TV and movies. As you have shown us here, there was so many stars created with his shows and so many memorable characters spun off also.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      6 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      A beautifully written Tribute to Andy Griffith and Mayberry NC, I have never watched the show or knew anything about Andy Griffith. Thanks for sharing this hub.


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