Monday, November 23, 2009

The TV Show I Love(d) -- The Andy Griffith Show

I liked Andy Griffith a lot before I ever saw his TV show. First I heard his recordings.

What It Was, Was Football (Part 1 And 2) (Digitally Remastered 93) - Andy Griffith
After that, I saw him in A Face in the Crowd, Onionhead and No Time for Sergeants (the movie), where he was first teamed up with Don Knotts. And then came the TV series. I was sold.

No doubt the easy-going Andy is partially responsible for Sheriff Dan Rhodes, but my favorite part of the show was always the supporting cast, especially Don Knotts as Deputy Barney Fife (Barney Fife, c'est moi!). And Gomer and Goober and Otis Campbell, the Darlings, Ernest T. Bass, Opie, Aunt Bee, Miss Crump, Thelma Lou, Floyd the barber, and on and on. I admit without shame (though I might lose all your respect) that I can still watch the episodes I've seen dozens of times and laugh as much as ever. When Knotts left the show, I gave Jack Burns a chance, but after a few episodes, I stopped watching. He wasn't terrible, but he wasn't Knotts.

If I had to take one TV show with me to a desert island, this would probably be the one. I know that might disappoint those of you who thought I'd chose Nova or maybe the entire run of Masterpiece Theater, but I've always admitted that I low taste. Give me Gomer making a citizen's arrest, and I'm a happy man.

35 comments:

Kathleen A. Ryan said...

Thanks for sharing, Bill...I always loved The Andy Griffith Show...Andy is a terrific straight man for Don Knotts. Don's expressions alone are hysterical. You're right, what a great supporting cast.
I could watch them over and over, too...and laugh like I'm hearing it for the first time...I'm a big Lucy fan, too...could never tire of it....great writers for both series.
Did you happen to catch Andy Griffith in the movie, "Waitress"? If you haven't, I highly recommend it. I thought he was fabulous (along with the rest of the cast, too. Sadly, Adrienne Shelly, the writer/director and one of the waitresses in the film was murdered just before the film came out -- it was so tragic).

Bill Crider said...

I haven't seen Waitress, but I just put it in the Netflix queue.

Benjie said...

I must admit to being an "Andy-holic" my own self. His description of football can't be beat. Although I have to watch the re-runs on the sly because for some insane reason the Blushing Bride doesn't like the show.

I did use a clip from one of the Darlings episodes to introduce my Freshmen to Romeo & Juliet back when I was still in the classroom.

Todd Mason said...

I liked that THE ANDY GIFFITH SHOW was the only CBS rural comedy that didn't demand that most or all of the cast of characters be idiots. Even if Barney did come too close too cften.

Griffith was good in WAITRESS...which was basically KNOCKED UP from a different perspective (and one of a knot of films, including JUNO, about going through with unintended pregnancies no matter how disruptive that came out about the same time, which seemed more than a little odd).

Todd Mason said...

And given that a full run of MASTERPIECE THEATER gets one, for example, the adaptation of MOLL FLANDERS with some of the most explicit scenes ever broadcast unscrambled in the US (or the UK), you might want to think twice, even if only momentarily...(it was also rather a good production). GREAT PERFORMANCES ran the John Mortimer script of John Fowles's THE EBONY TOWER, which introduced many of us to Greta Scacchi, and rather completely...PBS could be quite educational in its halcyon days. It's all very cerebral, yes.

Anonymous said...

I know some people were disturbed at Andy's role in PLAY THE GAME (being dosed with V!agra, getting orally pleasured, etc.) but we thought it was a hoot.

And Miss Crump was, of course, the late great Aneta Corsaut. I met her (over the phone) through another actor-customer of mine, the late Raleigh Bond, and she used to call and order books from my catalogues.

She was always charming.

Jeff M.

Gerard said...

The dynamite eating goat episode was on yesterday afternoon.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I remember him from A FACE IN THE CROWD. But this is how I will always think of him. And he was great in WAITRESS, really gets to show his acting chops.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

What, no one mentioned Matlock? Not that it was a great show, but it grew on me when I had to watch that or nothing every day. Thank ghu the old Andy Griffith Shows are still running on TV today. I usually choose them over anything on the other 80 channels. When Barney left, the show suffered, but there were a few good ones. I spied Opie playing with Tim-Mee Civil War soldiers a few times, too.

Tom K Mason said...

"He had ROTC. Almost a year. Way he's actin' I reckon he's still got a touch of it."

From one of my favorite Griffith movies, No Time For Sergeants. Another one is a movie that no one talks about, Hearts Of The West with Jeff Bridges.

I think the Knotts-era of The Andy Griffith show is hysterical. I got to see dozens of episodes recently because they were usually on when it was my turn to bottlefeed the littlest one. Not only did they still make me laugh out loud, but I didn't realize that they tackled some relatively serious issues in a non-sitcommy (no set-up/joke, set-up/joke) way.

Scott said...

Andy was also good in "Daddy and Them," playing the father to John Prine and Billy Bob Thornton. He has a line to Billy Bob in the bathroom that nearly made me fall out of my chair. Not exactly the wholesome stuff I love from Mayberry, but entertaining nonetheless.

Bill Crider said...

Tom, I love Hearts of the West, a fine film about a guy who wants to write westerns.

Scott, I haven't seen that one. Obviously I need to.

John said...

Another funny performance by Andy can be found in "Rustlers' Rhapsody"...a take-off on "B"-westerns featuring Tom Berenger.

Evan Lewis said...

When I'm record hunting, I keep seeing a soundtrack album for the Broadway musical version of "Destry Rides Again" - starring old Andy. Sounds bizarre.

David Terrenoire said...

My father was a big fan of No Time For Sergeants. It was through him that I discovered Andy Griffith.

When Andy's show came out as a spin-off of the Danny Thomas show, I felt like I had an inside track.

That was the guy from No Time for Sergeants.

I even had the script for that show. An 8-year-old with a script. I should have known this would lead to no place good.

Maybe it's not a coincidence that I ended up in North Carolina.

Bill Crider said...

Great story, David.

Bill Crider said...

I'll bet Andy was good in it, Evan.

Dan said...

What always impressed me about the AGS was that they often resolved the plot by simply lying. In a medium/genre that usually stressed finding an honest resolution, everything coming out right at the end, Andy sometimes got everyone simply to agree to a convenient lie.

That means something, but I'm not sure what.

Anonymous said...

A favorite episode was the one where Barney arrests half the town, including Aunt Bee.

Anonymous said...

A favorite episode was the one where Barney arrests half the town, including Aunt Bee.

Anonymous said...

A favorite episode was the one where Barney arrests half the town, including Aunt Bee.

Deb said...

My favorite Andy Griffith episode is the one where Opie kills a mother bird and has to raise her baby bird--and finally has to let it go. I defy anyone to watch that without a tear or two.

I'm glad someone mentioned "A Face in the Crowd"--I saw it again a few weeks ago on TCM. It hasn't aged at all--just as relevant now as it was 50 years ago.

Stephen B. said...

A wholesome show, I actually saw many, many re-runs when I was a teen.


Here's lyrics for "Fishin' Hole" which is the actual theme. Now I think of this when I hear it:

Well, now, take down your fishin' pole and meet me at The Fishin' Hole,

We may not get a bite all day, but don't you rush away.

What a great place to rest your bones and mighty fine for skippin' stones,

You'll feel fresh as a lemonade, a-settin' in the shade.

Bill Crider said...

Makes me want to go fishing.

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