Andy Griffith Show' Rare Behind-the-Scenes Moments

Back in the 1960s, one of the most popular tv shows was The Andy Griffith Show. The well-known comedian was given his own show at the beginning of the decade, and with the help of its amazing cast and writers, became on of the most beloved, wholesome television shows of its time.

Image Source: Getty Images

Image Source: Getty Images

During its run, the show's cast earned six Primetime Emmy Awards, with five of them going to the much-loved comedian, Don Knotts. There's so much more to know about the show and its rich history sixty years later. Here are some interesting behind the scenes facts about the show you should know.

Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock


WHAT WAS BARNEY'S ACTUAL LAST NAME?

If you rewatch some episodes of the show, you'll realize that a bunch of middle names are given to Barney. In one instance, it’s Oliver, and in another episode, it’s Milton. Even in one situation, you’ll notice that the initial “P” is used to imply Barney’s undecided name. All three of these couldn’t be further away from one another!

Image Source: Getty Images

Image Source: Getty Images


THE INTRO HAD AN EASTER EGG

If you watch the show's opening sequence where they play the theme song, you'll see and Andy and Opie walking to the end of the water. Andy gives a nod of approval when the boy throws a rock into the water. Turns out, Griffith’s actual father would shake his head in the same manner when he showed approval.

Image Source: Getty Images

Image Source: Getty Images


SO THEY'RE NOT COUSINS?

One more thing you probably noticed at the beginning of the show's first season is that Andy and Barney would call each other cousin. Andy would often refer to his partner in crime as "Cousin Barney". However, as the episodes kept coming, you'll slowly realize that this stops. Did they originally intend for them to related but changed it?

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)


GRIFFITH'S CONVENIENT NICKNAME

Throughout the show's run, you'll hear Barney often call Andy "Ange". This was the character's nickname on the show. Interestingly enough, this was Andy Griffith's nickname in real life too. His close friends, co-workers, relatives, and others who knew him well called him this. Just combine “Andy” and “Griffith!”

Image Source: Getty Images

Image Source: Getty Images


CLOSING OUT STRONG

When it came time for The Andy Griffith Show to say farewell to its audience, they went off the air, not because of low ratings. As a matter of fact, the show was still ranked number one when they were canceled. According to Neotorama, there are only two other shows that have ever done this: I Love Lucy and Seinfeld.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)


GRIFFITH AND KNOTTS WERE NOTHING LIKE THEIR CHARACTERS ON THE SHOW

Andy was known to be more reserved compared to Barney, who was a goofball half the time, or better yet, most of the time. However, fans will find it interesting that their off-screen personalities were quite different from what people saw on the show. Yes, that means that Knotts was actually a pretty serious guy.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)


KNOTTS HAD NO IDEA IF HE WAS STAYING FOR AN EPISODE OR A SEASON

Most of the actors and actresses on the show joined the cast in the very first episode did not know if they were gonna secure a guaranteed contract. They had hope that they would at least stay for the first season. This included Knotts. Though after seeing the chemistry between Andy and Barney, the director made sure Knotts would stay.

Image Source: Getty Images

Image Source: Getty Images


OPIE COULDN'T REALLY THROW A ROCK THAT FAR

Going back to the show's intro. Remember the part where Opie throws a rock into the water? Well, actually it wasn't Opie doing the throwing in the scene. Though the young actor tried, he couldn't throw the rock far enough. This means a crew member had to hide somewhere and throw another rock for the splash.

Image Source: YouTube / Shatner Method

Image Source: YouTube / Shatner Method


KNOTTS WANTED PART OWNERSHIP OF THE SHOW BUT WAS DENIED

Did you ever wonder why Knotts left the show after the fifth season? Well, thanks to his great performance as Barney, the actor had gotten quite a lot of attention in Hollywood. When the showrunners didn't think the show was gonna make it past the fifth season, Knotts went out looking for other work, quite successfully.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

But when Griffith came aboard for the sixth season, Knotts agreed to do the same but under one condition: He wanted part ownership of the show. Griffith declined, and that’s when Knotts decided to not return as Barney. Knotts ended up getting work elsewhere and featured on many popular tv shows throughout his career, like Three's Company.

Image Source: Getty Images

Image Source: Getty Images


MORE ON DON KNOTTS LEAVING THE SHOW - IT WAS POOR COMMUNICATION

The story goes all the back to the show's first season wherein Griffith told Knotts that he only wanted to do the show for five years. So both actors signed five-year contracts. At the end of five years, Knotts started looking for new work and signed a three-year picture deal with Universal. But when Griffith changed his mind, it was too late.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)


OPIE NEVER REALLY HAD A MOM

To put things plainly, Opie's mom was never really in the conversation of the show. All we know about Ron Howard's character's mother is that she died when he was a "speck of a boy." They never even gave her a name. Poor Opie. Despite the story gap, he always seemed like a complete cast member.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)


ANDY GRIFFITH WAS ALREADY FUNNY, BUT THEN CAME DON KNOTTS

At the time of the show's premiere, Andy Griffith was a popular stand up comic. This is what drew the networks to offer him his own show. He assumed that he was going to be the main source of comedic relief, and funny character on the show, especially since, you know, it was his show. 

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

However, as we all know, it came didn't come out as intended. Basically, Don Knotts happened. Barney Fife was without a doubt the fan-favorite, at least comedy-wise. So Griffith decided that in the interest of the show he would become the straight man in contrast to Barney Fife's comic relief.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)


THE SHOW HAD MORE SNEAKY EASTER EGGS 

There was a guy named Mister Schwamp, and all he did was sit on a bench. Sometimes Sheriff Taylor or Barney Fife would say "hi" to him but that was about it. Turns out he was the show's production manager. There was also a character in the show named Goober Pyle, the cousin of Gomer Pyle played by Jim Nabors.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)


AS FAR AS TV DADS GO, ANDY WAS A GOAT

In 2004, Andy Taylor was ranked number 8 in TV Guide's list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time". His son Opie didn't have a mom, but at least he was always there for him and let's be honest, he was a great dad. Andy also had his fair share of great girlfriends like Ellie Walker and Helen Crump.

Image Source: Getty Images

Image Source: Getty Images


ONE OF THE SHOW'S MOST BELOVED CHARACTERS WASN'T AS MORAL AS THE REST OF THEM

The Andy Griffith Show and the residents of Mayberry were famously loved for upholding the strict moral codes of the 1950s and early 1960s. Even for TV show standards of the time, The Andy Griffith Show was seen as wholesome. Despite that, the audience's favorite characters was the town drunk, Otis Campbell, played by Hal Smith.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)


LET'S BE REAL, DID IT REALLY END? NOPE

Okay, so The Andy Griffith Show ended in 1968. However, thanks to networks and their desire to 'milk the cow' as much as possible, it was immediately followed by a spinoff, Mayberry R.F.D. Unfortunately for Taylor fans, Griffith wasn't part of the show. Other favorites like Aunt Bee, Howard Sprague, and Goober Pyle were still there.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)


THE REAL MAYBERRY

Andy Griffith’s hometown of Mount Airy, North Carolina, served as the inspiration for his show's fictional town, Mayberry. The community of 10,000 residents is home to the Andy Griffith Museum and the annual "Mayberry Days" celebration, which attracted nearly 50,000 visitors for the show's 50th anniversary in back 2010.​​​​​ Just imagine the crowd it would've drawn in 2020.

Image Source: Getty Images

Image Source: Getty Images


CONNECTIONS TO "GONE WITH THE WIND"

Despite the show's ability to capture Mayberry's authentic small-town feel, the show was actually filmed at Desilu Studios in Culver City, California. The production used the same soundstage as "Gone With The Wind." The lake that was used in exterior scenes, is located on Franklin Canyon Drive in Beverly Hills.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)


IT GAVE US RON HOWARD

How can we ever overlook the now-great director/producer, Ron Howard? Back when he was a young boy, he played Opie, Andy's darling son. Though a child actor, Howard has made the second most appearances on the show. Today, he's an Oscar-winning director and producer, with so many more hits to come.

Image Source: Getty Images

Image Source: Getty Images

How was that for a deep dive into the once-great The Andy Griffith Show? Did it jog some memories of your favorite episodes of the show? Which was your favorite character? Let us know in the comment section and make sure to follow AmoMedia for more amazing content on your favorite tv shows, movies, and celebrities! 

Sources: Fox NewsLA Times, The New York Times

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