The Andy Griffith Show
My thoughts on these terrific people of Mayberry, facts, and a little trivia!
Sad news. Andy Griffith, very beloved, died in his home in North Carolina at the age of 86.
Very sad to hear of Goober, George Lindsay passing away on May 6th, 2012. He was a good guy.
I have always had such a deep affection for the actors that played on the Andy Griffith Show. This lens is a tribute to the actors and the characters they portrayed. How many of us would love to live in that town of Mayberry?
Who was that woman that played the deep voiced convict and fun girl?
Did Andy and Helen have a baby?
Why did Floyd sit in the later episodes?
Who whistled the tune?
Read this whole page for the answers!
Andy Griffith Opening Scene Video - The opening of the Andy Griffith Show walking by the lake.
Earl Hagen was music director for the Andy Griffith Show. He wrote the tune and is the person whistling the tune. Earl wrote many TV themes, including I Spy. He died in 2008 at the age of 88.
Andy Griffith and Mayberry
Aunt Bee was the epitome of Mayberry. She was the best cook in town, and kept a sparkling house. And Aunt Bee was not just another woman in the kitchen. She exerted her power and charm many times and in various situations. She led women's groups and even ran for public office. Aunt Bee led a woman's protest, had a prize rose, and even co-owned a chinese restaurant. In one episode she even flies a plane solo! But I will always remember how she played her part so well. I have often heard that she hated the role and did not like being associated with it. I have to think differently. I wish I could have asked her in person if she actually felt that way. Francis Bavier played this part with such love, affection, and compassion, it is very hard to me to think otherwise. In the later color episodes, she actually looked thinner, younger, and more elegant. Francis Bavier was a gem of an actress and I feel lucky to be able to watch her perform. Her family should know there are many like me. Did you know she was on Broadway and was Mrs. Barley in the film 'The Day the Earth Stood Still' ? A sci-fi classic. Also Francis won an Emmy for Aunt Bee. Sadly, she died in 1989. Interestingly she lived her later years in Siler City, NC. A town often mentioned on The Andy Griffith Show.
Spelling of her name? Some say Bee some say Bea. Beatrice was her full name, so Bea would make sense. But, to solidify the spelling, the sign on her Chinese restaurant said, "Aunt Bee's Chinese Restaurant."
Do you remember Roger, her old beau who come to stay for a few days. He's quite obnoxious with his gags and tells Aunt Bee a riddle, "What did the mirror say to the dresser?" Roger whispers the answer in Bee's ear and Aunt Bee says, "Oh Roger," and pushes him upstairs as if she is embarrassed. What is the answer to the riddle? According to the episode writer, Harvey Bullock, the answer is, "I don't mean to cast reflections, but your drawers are open." A Very tame today, but quite risque back then.
Sheriff Andy Taylor
The best dad and sheriff anyone could want. Slow to anger, patient, kind, loving, and caring. Always wanting to do the right thing, even if it were not completely by the book. He looked at everyone as a human being first. He was a widower and not much is said about his previous wife. His first love was Ellie, but she was so much younger. Helen Crump, the school teacher, dated him and they actually got married when the spin-off, Mayberry RFD started. (Did you know that?) However, Helen Crump was not exactly compatibe with Andy, was she? She was a city gal, from somewhere in the Midwest, we presume, as she was arrested as a moll (she was doing a news story or something) 10 years before she came to Mayberry. Helen Crump was a perfect name, as she was at often times grumpy and downright nasty if she did not get her way. But, Andy must have wanted someone to balance him out. Andy changed as the show went on. In the first year or two, he had a more Southern drawl and dialect. Acting like he did on the Broadway hit (and movie) "No Time for Sergeants.' Later, he dropped most of the accent and foolish bits. This was mainly because of Barney Fife. Barney had evolved into the funny man, leaving the sheriff as the straight man. Kind of a role reversal, as it was Andy who was supposed to be funny. The rest is history.
Aneta Corsaut played Helen Crump. Sadly, she died in 1995 at the age of 62.
You may remember her in the sc-fi classic with Steve McQueen in The Blob.
The Andy Griffith Show
Deputy Barney Fife
What a deputy. A bumbling fool who had keep his gun unloaded as it went off several times by accident. He wanted everything to be by the book and became upset when Andy wanted to bend the rules. Barney always wanted to be in the middle of the action. Many times he took matters in his own hands, just to have disastrous results. But, Barney still was a good guy. Thelma Lou sure liked him. Unfortunately, she married someone else when he moved to Raleigh. He went to Raleigh as a detective because Andy let him get the glory for capturing a notorious criminal. Later on, Andy again had to help him in Raleigh to catch a group of thieves. He and Andy were cousins and maybe that's why Andy looked out for him. Don Knotts won a couple of Emmys for his Barney Fife. He had a lucrative movie career shortly afterward. I enjoyed him most in The Incredible Mr. Limpet. Being a child in the 60's, this was a classic. His movie The Ghost and Mr. Chicken was always a favorite of mine as well. Who would have thought he would evolve into the incredible clown Mr. Furley on Three's Company? Who knew that show would have two of the biggest comic geniuses in television-John Ritter and Don Knotts! Those shows were kind of risque back then. But looking back, compared to the stuff that is on now, it looks very very tame. Too bad we have lost the lovable John Ritter and Don Knotts. I will always miss them.
Other Andy Griffith actors and thoughts, trivia
Mayberry would not be Mayberry without them!
The other actors and actresses who played parts on The Andy Griffith Show were equally well loved by me. Floyd was too cool. He later suffered a stroke and Andy kept him in the show by always giving him a sit down roll. As you watch the color episodes with him, you will see him sitting. Gomer and Goober? Man they played the parts so well. Didn't you just love their zest for life and simple attitudes? One character I did not like was Denver Pyle as Brisco Darling. He was an ornery cuss. He redeemed himself by playing a good 'ol boy on the Duke's of Hazzard. I could go on about other characters as well--Otis the town drunk. You could not make fun of a drunk today, could you? Earnest T. Bass? He's a nut!
All of these actors had one thing in common. They played their parts well, with love and affection, and most of all, they made it so believable!!!!! And there they were. Right smack in the middle of Hollywood, California! Believe it or not, the lake in the opening scene and in various episodes is in Franklin Canyon Park in the middle of busy Hollywood. You can visit it and it still looks the same! Funny thing about here in Southern California, because of the hills and mountains, many neighborhoods have hills with nearby trails that are undeveloped. Sometimes it can be hard to imagine that you are in the middle of a big city.
Jean Carson Hello Doll!
Jean Carson played Daphne, the deep voiced convict and fun girl in 2 episodes.
Her "Hello doll," has become a classic line. She said she did not smoke and that her voice was natural. She was in many movies and TV shows. She died in 2005 at age 82.
Andy Griffith Pilot with Danny Thomas - Danny Thomas arrested in Mayberry
This video was part of the pilot for the Andy Griffith Show. It was a part on the Danny Thomas Show and Danny Thomas was arrested by Andy while passing through Mayberry.
Andy Griffith Show Trivia
More tid bits on Mayberry
The town of "Mayberry" was the same set used in the 1939 set for Atlanta in Gone With the Wind, located of course, in a backlot in Hollywood, CA.
Mayberry was known for growing sweet potatoes. When the governor visits in one episode, they have Miss Sweet Potato greet him.
Andy and Helen have a baby, Andy jr., and return to Mayberry in a Mayberry RFD episode. In fact, they were also married in an earlier episode of Mayberry RFD with Barney making a return as best man.
Danny Thomas, on his show, was arrested by Sheriff Andy Taylor in Mayberry. Later in 1960, that sheriff got his own show. Perhaps the original spin-off.
Of course, Andy Griffith Show morphed into Mayberry RFD. Kind of a spin-off of a spin-off.
William Baldwin originally played the barber.
Gomer went on to his own show, Gomer Pyle, USMC.
Ron Howard of course became a successful actor and director.
Goober, George Lyndsey, becomes Goober and stars on Hee-Haw for years. George laughed all the way to the bank.
Hal Smith, Otis the drunk, was the voice of numerous cartoon characters. If you know of Adventures in Odyssey, from Focus on the Family, he was the voice of the original (and best) John Whittaker, Whit's End.
The woman who played Thelma Lou, lives in Mt. Airy, North Carolina, and enjoys being remembered as Thelma Lou.
Emmett Clark was played Paul Hartman. Paul was a broadway dancer on the level of Fred Astaire. In one episode, Paul shows off his dancing skill at Howard's bachelor pad party.
The Mayberry March Many episodes had this merry little ditty playing the background. It was called the Mayberry March. You all have heard it. It eventually became the theme song for Mayberry, RFD. When you watch the old episodes, you will hear it many times.
The Idiot Year: This was the year of 1965 when Jack Burns played Barney Fife's replacement, Warren. It was disclosed in one episode that Warren was the nephew of Floyd. This guy was a disaster. After 11 episodes, he was canned. Jack Burns has had quite a comedy career, however. Remember Burns and Schreiber from the 70's? After Warren, Andy soloed.
Jack Dodson played Howard Sprague, the town clerk. He was also on Broadway, and in numerous TV shows, including later playing Ralph Malph's dentist father on Happy Days. Sadly, he died in 1995 at the age of 63.
Here's a bit of trivia about the character Howard Sprague. He first appeared in 1966 as an insurance agent, Ned Jenkins, to do a claim on Aunt Bee's lost broach. A few episodes later, he becomes Howard Sprague, county clerk!
Andy Griffith Show Videos - Andy Griffith Television Show Video Clips
Here are some episodes and Promos of the Andy Griffith Show. Enjoy the clips of Barney, Aunt Bee, Goober, Gomer, Amdy, and many others including Jack Nicholson.
Floyd the barber
Howard McNear (1905-1969)
Had a sit down role later as he suffered a stroke. Andy Griffith made sure he was still in the cast. Sometimes a large object was placed in front of him and only showed him from the waist up. He was the voice of Doc Adams on the radio version of Gunsmoke. He was not the original Floyd the barber, but is the one everybody remembers as he was in most of the series.
Ernest T. Bass
Howard Morris (1919-2005)
Was the voice of numerous cartoon characters, as well as guest appearances on many 1960s and 1970's sitcoms.
Jim Nabors 1930-
Of course he had his spin-off, Gomer Pyle, USMC. Jim has a world class voice that was featured many times in Mayberry and other sitcoms.
George Lindsey 1928-2012
Sadly, Mr. Lindsey passed away on May 6th, 2012.
Had recurring role on Hee-Haw after Mayberry. Goober laughed all the way to the bank as he cashed in on his character. He has a highway named after him in Alabama. Did you know on the show his last name was Beasley? Andy in one episode refers to him as Goober Beasley.
Goober started the show in 1964. He originally wanted to be Gomer. He went on to finish the show until the end with Mayberry R.F.D.
He was very involved with the Special Olympics.
We'll miss you, Goober!
Major Stars Seen in Mayberry!
Andy Griffith had an eye for talent!
Lee Van Cleef Yeah. That guy from the Westerns, Clint Eastwood style. He was a carnival thief stealing purses in Mayberry. He made the mistake of stealing Aunt Bee's. He was actually taken "down" by none other than Jerry Van Dyke, Dick's brother. That's what you call the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly!
Barbara rolled into Mayberry on a bus after breaking up with her boyfriend looking for a new start. She put a manicure stand in Floyd's barber shop. However, people did not take to such a thing in Mayberry until Andy got a manicure first. After that, guys came in for just such a service. But Barbara's good looks were a distraction, and she decided it best to move on. She moved on alright. All the way to the bank as Jeanie in I Dream of Jeanie!
Yes indeed, Jackie Coogan played a con man who tries to get Barney to payoff on a jilted woman promised in marriage. He had black hair on the sides, bald on top, and a mustache. I mention that as most people would not recognize him due to his role later as Uncle Fester on the Addams Family. Yup, if you are not familiar with Jackie Coogan, you are not alone. Many people do not realize that Jackie Coogan was a major star, HUGE star, to be exact. He was the first mega-child star in silent movies in the 1910's-1920s, including starring with Charlie Chaplin. But Coogan's childhood ended in tragedy. His mother spent the millions he made. This actually led to a law in California preventing such things in the future. Child stars since have owed Jackie a lot. Seeing Jackie Coogan on The Andy Griffith Show it is hard to believe that almost 50 years earlier he was a star on the silver screen. He died in 1984.
Billy Boy came flying into Mayberry in his tight little sports car and upended a farmer and his truck. Andy tossed him in jail, getting an earful as to how the young man's daddy would come to his rescue and have Andy's badge. Andy took the boy in, showed him how a real family behaved. Bill was a changed man when his high priced lawyer bribed the farmer and got the charges dropped. He realized it was time for him to stand on his own two feet and take responsibility. Good thing because he had a little boy to raise, Eddie, in the Courtship of Eddie's Father. Then as The Magician in the 70's before getting green with envy in his best known role: The Incredible Hulk. Don't get him mad!
Jack was accused of burglary and Aunt Bee was in the jury during his trial. All the jury members except her thought he was guilty. Boy did they have a time with Aunt Bee! But she held her ground and got a not guilty verdict. Andy just happened to be talking to a spectator in the courtroom and realized that HE was the real thief. Jack thanks Aunt Bee personally as the rest of the jury did too! Good thing Jack was acquitted as he had a lucrative movie career ahead of him!
Edgar Buchanan had been in many movies before becoming a handyman that wooed Aunt Bee. He got credit for everything, but was quite lazy. Andy sort of had a man to man talk, and Edgar decided to move on quickly! He must have hopped the Cannonball because he made his way to Hooterville and the Shady Rest Motel on Petticoat Junction. He settled in quite nicely as Uncle Joe.
Who is William Christopher you say? Well, when Aunt Bee won a slew of prizes on a TV game show, William Christopher came into Mayberry as an IRS agent looking to get the taxes on the prizes. Aunt Bee sold some of the prizes to settle up, and William Christopher returned in a later episode as the new Mayberry doctor! At first the town's people did not want such a young doctor. But when he removed Opie's tonsils without a hitch, William Christopher went on his merry way to first be a marine pal of Gomer's in Gomer Pyle, USMC. But, his claim to fame came in the 70's as he got the part of Father Mulcahy on M*A*S*H.
Gavin MacLeod came to Mayberry as a crook with a band of bank robbers conning the town into thinking they were shooting a movie due to Sheriff Andy Taylor being featured in a magazine. They thought the town would be a soft touch if the sheriff did not wear a gun. The crooks were stopped and perhaps Gilbert Jamel (Gavin MacLeod) goes to jail. I say supposedly, because in a later episode who pops up as a real hollywood picture maker? Gavin MacLeod as Bryan Bender! Yes indeed! Andy, Aunt Bee, and Opie take in the sights of Hollywood but are not too happy with Bryan, err Gavin's work. Of course it really did not matter, Gavin MacLeod had two smash hits, the newswriter on the Mary Tyler Moore show, and Captain Stubing on The Love Boat. We should be so lucky!
Okay, if ever there was a man that made a good living on television it was Allan Melvin. He made at least five appearances on The Andy Griffith Show. Once as a man that Barney gave a ticket to and tried to retaliate by beating up Barney. But Andy had a judo expert double as as Barney and gave him the what for. Another time, he was a farmer illegally selling produce from a truck on the highway. Again, he was going to beat Barney up, but Andy came to the rescue. Then Allan Melvin returns as an escaped criminal hiding in a trailer park. This time Barney saves the day by driving the trailer to town. Allan also makes an appearance as a marine sergeant recruiting in Mayberry. Ernest T. Bass tries to enlist but causes havoc. Funny how Allan goes on to play the same figure on Gomer Pyle USMC as sergeant Carter's pal. But Allan Melvin returns later again in a color episode. This time he is the ex-boyfriend of Millie, the bakery clerk who Howard Sprague wants to date. Howard stares him down and gets Allan out of town. (Sprague thinks he's tough but tangles with the wrong guy and gets a black eye at the end.) Allan then of course is on Gomer Pyle USMC for a couple of years before getting the role lots of people my age loved. Sam the Butcher on the Brady Bunch. This guy that gave Mayberry a lot of trouble becomes a nice guy the rest of his TV career. Alice is just crazy about him. But all good things must come to an end, and Sam the Butcher gave up the knives and moved to New York to be the pal of Archie Bunker, Barney Hefner. People older than me will remember his work with Phil Silvers as Sgt. Bilko's right hand man Cpl. Henshaw. Allan Melvin died in 2008 at the age of 84.
Remember when Goober goes to the auto show with the Taylors? At the show Howard Hesseman plays the counter boy who sells hot dogs. Howard goes from hot dogs to hot wax as he plays the DJ Dr. Johnny Fever on WKRP in Cincinnati. He also had other roles on TV, including Head of the Class in the 80's.
He played a bum who schooled Opie on being a bum. Kinda dressed like Jed Clampett. Oh yeah! That's who he became! But he gets upgraded as Barnaby Jones private investigator.
You may not know the name, but he was the voice of Chester on the radio western Gunsmoke. (along with Floyd the Barber, no less) This was all before the Andy Griffith Show, so Parely Baer did not get his start on The Andy Griffith Show. Parley got the role of the Mayor after the first actor left. Parley was also already known as Ozzie Nelson's neighbor Darby on the Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. Parley went on to many bit roles on TV shows, even showing up as a cooking competition judge on Three's Company, teaming up with Don Knotts once again. Many of you who grew up in the 80's would recognize the voice. He was the voice of the main elf in the Keebler commercials.
Numerous character actors had recurring but different roles on the Andy Griffith Show.
Why Did Barney Leave Mayberry?
Don Knotts moved on in 1964-1965
Don Knotts was under the impression that Andy Griffith was going to cancel the show, so on signed on to do movies. Apparently he was under contract for movies when Andy decided to keep the show going. Barney, err, Don Knotts decided he could not get out of his contract, so he did not return. There has always been some debate about this. Some have said that Don Knotts could have done movies and still do the show. There may have been other things at play. Anyway, Barney returned to Mayberry in many future episodes as a guest star.
Andy Griffith before and after Barney
Was the Andy Griffith Show better, worse, or the same after Don Knotts no longer was a regular?