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Andy Griffith Dies at 86.
July 3, 2012 7:32 AM   Subscribe

Take down the fishin' pole and meet me at the fishin' hole: Reports are that entertainer Andy Griffith has died at the age of 86. A comedian, actor, and musician, he created an icon of American decency by portraying sheriff Andy Taylor in his fictional TV town of Mayberry, featured on the Andy Griffith Show and Mayberry RFD. By all accounts, a kind a decent man. You can still visit his museum and peruse his archives.
posted by Miko (157 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by Atreides at 7:33 AM on July 3, 2012


How did you not include Matlock above the fold?

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posted by moviehawk at 7:33 AM on July 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


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posted by dirtdirt at 7:34 AM on July 3, 2012


Aaaaaw. :(

The Andy Griffith Show was before my time so my introduction to him was from the movie Waitress. His character was my hands down favorite thing about that movie. Very sad.

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posted by triggerfinger at 7:35 AM on July 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


"All I'm saying is that there are some things beyond the ken of mortal man that shouldn't be tampered with. We don't know everything, Andy. There's plenty going on right now in the Twilight Zone that we don't know anything about and I think we ought to stay clear."

-Barney Fife

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posted by clavdivs at 7:35 AM on July 3, 2012 [8 favorites]


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posted by Blue Jello Elf at 7:35 AM on July 3, 2012


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posted by vverse23 at 7:35 AM on July 3, 2012


Loads of Andy's credits on IMDB.

A special memory from the election of 2008.

This is one of those deaths that makes me really sad on a personal level. I grew up with Andy. My grandmother sounded like him and had a lot in common, character-wise, with the character of Andy Taylor. I remember watching the show, in reruns, from the youngest ages with my dad and grandpa, and still find it funny and comforting. And I loved Andy as a person, his country music career and his general relaxed, grown-up, wise Southern decency.
posted by Miko at 7:36 AM on July 3, 2012 [12 favorites]


How did you not include Matlock yt above the fold?

I knew someone else would. I think he's so famous for that in more recent times that in the short time I knew I had to compose the post, I preferred to throw a little more light on his musicianship and other aspects of his earlier career. Not that I did a super job at that, but I'm sure the links are a-comin'.
posted by Miko at 7:37 AM on July 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


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My recently deceased stepfather was a HUGE Andy Griffith fan. Growing up I had a dog that howled along to the Andy Griffith theme. Youtubing this phenomenon has been an enjoyable waste of 30 minutes smiling and crying instead of working.
posted by DigDoug at 7:38 AM on July 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Andy was always kind of easy to dismiss as an actor, as long as your only exposure to his work was The Andy Griffith Show or Matlock.

However, if you've ever seen his film debut, A Face in the Crowd, you'd know the boy had chops.

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posted by Thorzdad at 7:38 AM on July 3, 2012 [12 favorites]


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What I liked most about Sheriff Andy Taylor was the way he used his incredible underhandedness in the service of good.
posted by notyou at 7:38 AM on July 3, 2012 [8 favorites]


"No one was making fun of Andy Griffith. I can't emphasize that enough."
posted by schmod at 7:41 AM on July 3, 2012 [24 favorites]


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posted by robbyrobs at 7:41 AM on July 3, 2012


This makes me very sad too.....He was a huge part of my growing up...the best, kindest, most wonderful boss (principal) I ever had was exactly like Andy Taylor, and prided himself on that. We've lost a good one....sad day...
posted by pearlybob at 7:41 AM on July 3, 2012


A Face in the Crowd. He was wonderful.
posted by JanetLand at 7:42 AM on July 3, 2012 [8 favorites]


He was the most realistic sitcom character ever. I could imagine having a beer with sheriff Andy Taylor, not because it's a fantasy of mine, but because he is so familiar I am pretty sure I already have had a beer with him.
posted by Think_Long at 7:42 AM on July 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


"Hurry! Each Matlock could be our last!"
posted by Eideteker at 7:42 AM on July 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by gauche at 7:44 AM on July 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by alms at 7:44 AM on July 3, 2012


Most of his work appears in my mind under the heading "Genial" -- but that demurely looks aside from his weird animated version in one of the Frosty The Snowman movies, Frosty's Winter Wonderland from 1976: http://www.imdb.com/media/rm4196446720/tt0134661

Still, .
posted by wenestvedt at 7:45 AM on July 3, 2012


It's a few years old, but there's a very good article about him here.

He was a talented actor, he'll be missed.
posted by HuronBob at 7:46 AM on July 3, 2012


When I was in my 20's, I got seasonal work for a few tax seasons proofreading hard printouts of tax returns. Once in awhile, a batch of celebrity returns would come through, with the names XXX'd out (although sometimes their production company would have their name, and it was usually pretty obvious in other ways who it was).

Not Andy. His was about the only return with his name up there. For some reason, that gave me a big respect for him, which even Matlock could not damage.



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posted by Danf at 7:46 AM on July 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


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I know what I'll be whistling all day.
posted by Man with Lantern at 7:46 AM on July 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


I believe I will have another big orange drink.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:47 AM on July 3, 2012 [7 favorites]


And I says, "Friend, I don't have a ticket; I don't even know where it is that I'm a-going!"
posted by Melismata at 7:48 AM on July 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


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posted by oonh at 7:48 AM on July 3, 2012


I've never seen most of his classics, but I do have fond memories of watching many a Matlock with my grandparents as a child. Thanks Andy.
posted by yellowbinder at 7:48 AM on July 3, 2012


Damn. Andy Griffith is what I always wanted my father to be.

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posted by Mooski at 7:48 AM on July 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


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posted by dismas at 7:49 AM on July 3, 2012


I moved to the United States in 1993, at the age of 9. MATLOCK reruns were the first real TV I watched (with my grandmother, who had come a couple years before). Unbelievable bursts of nostalgia whenever I think back. Taught me English.

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posted by eugenen at 7:49 AM on July 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


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posted by cashman at 7:49 AM on July 3, 2012


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posted by Cash4Lead at 7:50 AM on July 3, 2012


I watched plenty of reruns of the Andy Griffith Show when I was a kid. My favorite episodes were always the ones when he would break out the guitar.

R.I.P.

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posted by Sailormom at 7:50 AM on July 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Most of his work appears in my mind under the heading "Genial" -- but that demurely looks aside from his weird animated version in one of the Frosty The Snowman movies...

And also from his astonishing debut as the magnetic, wholly corrupt "Lonesome" Rhodes in the aforementioned Face in the Crowd. "Secretary for National Morale!"

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posted by Iridic at 7:50 AM on July 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


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posted by tommasz at 7:51 AM on July 3, 2012


Great minds think alike, octobersurprise! :)

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posted by Melismata at 7:52 AM on July 3, 2012


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posted by Elly Vortex at 7:53 AM on July 3, 2012


My husband loooooves the Andy Griffith Show. I remember one of the early times I was in his room while we were dating and tried to open a window blind. Behind it was a small poster: "Barney Fife: Bloodhound of the Law." It was one of the reasons I fell in love with him, knowing that a garage-punk drummer loved nothing more than a sweet, funny and surprisingly high-quality show from the 1960s.

And THEN we listened to Andy Griffith's comedy album, and OH MY LORD. Do yourself a favor: don't neglect What It Was, Was Football (linked above), but Carmen, Swan Lake, and -- especially -- Romeo and Juliet are pee-your-pants high-larious.

Every time I say, "Honey, where are you?" he says, "I'ma raht cheer."
posted by Madamina at 7:54 AM on July 3, 2012 [21 favorites]


Aww.

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posted by jquinby at 7:54 AM on July 3, 2012


"No one was making fun of Andy Griffith. I can't emphasize that enough." God, Arrested Development was a funny show. I was watching it again on DVD last night, start to finish. I didn't remember that Andy Griffith never showed up on the episode that kept referring to him, and I was so waiting for him to appear. He was Godot.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:57 AM on July 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


That classic latrine The clip from No Time for Sergeants. I cannot find is all of the toilet seats flipping up at attention for an inspection from the colonel. Griffith talks about it, though.
posted by Danf at 7:59 AM on July 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


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Announcer: Now, let's take a look at a young Charles Bronson's brief stint replacing Andy Griffith in "The Andy Griffith Show"
Barney: Where's Otis? He's not in his cell.
Bronson: I shot him.
Barney: Well that's... what?!
Bronson: And now, I'm going down to Emmett's Fix-It Shop - to fix Emmett.
posted by NordyneDefenceDynamics at 8:00 AM on July 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Andy Griffith always struck me a straight up decent guy.

I once saw an interview with him on a biography about Ron Howard. He said Ron's parents had asked the cast and crew of "The Andy Griffith Show" not to buy Ron lots of gifts or load him up with stuff, among other things, and Andy Griffith said, "And we (meaning he and Don Knotts) always respected that."
posted by zizzle at 8:01 AM on July 3, 2012


Don't forget either "No Time for Sergeants" or his appearance in Brad Paisley's music video for "Waiting On a Woman"!
posted by easily confused at 8:02 AM on July 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Good cracker! RIP, I loved his show as a kid.
posted by karlos at 8:03 AM on July 3, 2012


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posted by vibrotronica at 8:04 AM on July 3, 2012


My dad and I have watched the Andy Griffith show so many times that we could almost recite them word for word. Once, in an episode with Earnest T. Bass, my dad (who had been a cop for a short time) casually mentioned that he often used Andy's methods for calming down drunks. And they worked really well.

Also, I will never forget the first movie I saw Andy Griffith being the bad guy. My brain broke. It was just so bizarre and horrifying to hate Andy. The fact that it was Rustlers' Rhapsody only made it even more bizarre.

I do have to say, as each one of my father's heroes die off, it only makes it more and more clear that one day he'll go as well. And that's a realization I didn't want to have today.

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posted by teleri025 at 8:07 AM on July 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


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Spent my summer vacations as a young lad watching reruns of Matlock.
posted by King Bee at 8:08 AM on July 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nthing the love for A Face in the Crowd. One of the most prophetic American movies ever made. I wish Criterion would get the rights to it.
posted by Rangeboy at 8:09 AM on July 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


He was one of those people who almost part of landscape. I still remember the episode where Barney bought a motorcycle, funny as hell. I kinda liked Matlock, too.

RIP.
posted by jonmc at 8:10 AM on July 3, 2012


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posted by caclwmr4 at 8:11 AM on July 3, 2012


I have seen every episode of Matlock.

Mortality is the one case that none of us can ever win, not even Ben.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:11 AM on July 3, 2012


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Seriously, if all you know is Griffith's 60s TV work, you have to check the trailer for 1957's A Face In The Crowd. He gives a near-perfect performance as Lonesome Rhodes, a charming small-town drifter turned radio star turned TV huckster turned political kingmaker turned savage demagogue. It's a scathing look at the power of popular media, particularly early television, and was very much ahead of its time. Just an all-around great 50s film, and he's amazing in it.

Griffith talks about it here as part of a long interview (the rest is here, although the formatting is strange).
posted by mediareport at 8:12 AM on July 3, 2012 [9 favorites]


. I never heard a bad thing about him [unlike too many of the celebrities of today] and he seemed to be a great man and an amazing character. He'll be missed.
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:13 AM on July 3, 2012


SCTV does The Andy Griffith Show
posted by robbyrobs at 8:14 AM on July 3, 2012


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posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:14 AM on July 3, 2012


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posted by Aquaman at 8:15 AM on July 3, 2012


I always liked Sheriff Andy.

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posted by RussHy at 8:15 AM on July 3, 2012


He had a good long, productive run of it, bless him, but still, it really is upsetting. The guy is a monument of American culture. I grew up with the first run of the AG Show and watched Matlock pretty religiously in its day despite being a snotty grad student several decades younger than its key demographic. Heck, I just incidentally caught part of an episode on WGN this morning. Andy was also great in a couple of 70s detective movies (one was Winter Kill).

I'm gonna head over to YouTube and watch some clips of Sheriff Taylor pickin' with the Darlings (Dillards).
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:16 AM on July 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


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And if anyone's inclined to underestimate his talents as an actor, I'll second the recommendation of his performance as Lonesome Rhodes in "A Face in the Crowd."
posted by Gelatin at 8:17 AM on July 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


My own Andy Griffith fave: Salvage One. "I'ma build a spaceship, go to the moon, collect all the junk, bring it back and sell it."
posted by octobersurprise at 8:17 AM on July 3, 2012 [11 favorites]


Seriously, if all you know is Griffith's 60s TV work, you have to check the trailer for 1957's A Face In The Crowd.

Trailer!? Watch the whole film, and then STFU about Mayberry!
posted by Rash at 8:18 AM on July 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I never really had any idea what Andy Griffith was all about until my husband introduced me to him and I realized what I'd been missing all those misguided, ignorant years. What a talent, what an imagined universe, what a show. And thirding the "A Face in the Crowd" reference. If he had done nothing else but that movie, he'd by all rights still be an icon.
posted by blucevalo at 8:19 AM on July 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


"What it was, was football"
posted by easily confused at 8:20 AM on July 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Aw. :( He had an incredible career.

Youtube has the full run of The Andy Griffith Show, and some episodes from seasons 1 and 2 of Mayberry RFD, which ran for three seasons (78 episodes):

The Andy Griffith Show
Season I
Season II
Season III
Season IV
Season V
Season VI
Season VII
Season VIII

Mayberry R.F.D
Season I
Season II

Worth noting:

Griffith starred in a one hour television movie called No Time for Sergeants (excerpt) in the '50's, which was later made into a movie starring both him and Don Knotts -- their very first collaboration. That film was the direct inspiration for the sitcom Gomer Pyle, USMC, which was a spinoff of The Andy Griffith Show (the pilot of Pyle was actually the finale of Griffith, AND which YouTube also has in its entirety!

Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.:
Season I
Season II
Season III
Season IV
Season V

He was a marvelous, extraordinary, entertaining and brilliant actor. RIP

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posted by zarq at 8:21 AM on July 3, 2012 [12 favorites]


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posted by ndfine at 8:22 AM on July 3, 2012


Matlock!

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posted by jonp72 at 8:23 AM on July 3, 2012


One of my very early memories is coming home from Kindergarten in the afternoon every day. My mom would make me lunch and let me eat it on a metal TV tray while I sat on the floor and watched Andy Griffith.

So long, Sheriff Taylor
posted by freakazoid at 8:26 AM on July 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow, I've never heard the football standup linked above....

"And then a convict came over thar to where they was a'standin'..."

I love it. Reminds me a bit of Jerry Clower, very quality standup.
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:26 AM on July 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


My high school home room teacher was a MASSIVE Andy Griffith fan -- not that surprising since I grew up in Raleigh, NC ("Where Barney Fife goes to party!"). He knew everything about that show, could reel off episode names and air dates from when guest stars had appeared. Even knew the license plate of the police car, which apparently only appeared once or twice in the show's run. I know he's hurting today. Sorry for your loss, Coach Wagstaff.

I even have relatives in Mount Airy, the town Mayberry was based on. This passing, despite it's inevitability, sucks.

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posted by Shotgun Shakespeare at 8:27 AM on July 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Who was the producer on the Andy Griffith show, anyway? I want to say Reiner, but I'm probably wrong....

Anyway, there's a story about that: The producer (let's say it was Reiner, because it sounds like him) got him a gig guesting on the Danny Thomas show to get his feet wet, as part of a campaign to convince him to do a sitcom.

Thomas ran a rough ship, lots of shouting, lots of bullying. It really soured Griffin on TV. He said in effect 'If that's TV I don't want to be part of it.'

The producer said 'That's how DANNY does it. You get to do it HOWEVER YOU WANT.'

And so Andy decreed that it would be a set where people respected one another as human beings and professionals, and everyone remembers him fondly for it.

Who even still remembers the Danny Thomas show? But we all watched Andy and are sad to see him gone. Decent human being. Funny, funny man. Fine actor.
posted by lodurr at 8:28 AM on July 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm gonna pour a sleeve of Ritz out on the curb today.

RIP, Andy.
posted by davelog at 8:31 AM on July 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


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posted by ob1quixote at 8:33 AM on July 3, 2012


A few years back, Andy Griffith released a record album of hymns. I remember the commercial for it where Andy addressed the camera and said that he would sing all the time in church, at home, on the old "Andy Griffith Show" and "I even sang on that lawyer show"

I was always tickled that he called "Matlock" "that lawyer show".
posted by inturnaround at 8:33 AM on July 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


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posted by Smart Dalek at 8:37 AM on July 3, 2012


Well, everything I wanted to mention has been mentioned: A Face In The Crowd, What it was was. . ., No Time for Sergeants.

And I can't find jazz whistler Ron McCroby's take on the Fishin' Hole theme on line (but you really should hear him!). . .

And I don't want to run around makin' a big melange out of it. . .

So here's a cockatiel riffing on the theme to take us out.

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posted by Herodios at 8:41 AM on July 3, 2012


Wow, I am shocked by how deeply, personally sad I feel about this. Mayberry had nothing to do with the world that I actually grew up in—child of not-very-assimilated immigrants in the urban East Coast in the 80s—but it was one of my major cultural touchstones, a place I was sure was out there somewhere. A fairy tale, but then, Andy Griffith himself meant for it to be.

Since then, I've thought a lot about that (almost) lily-white utopia, with all its sketchy cultural baggage and how it—and many other fairy tales about the south—glosses over ugly truths, and how it deliberately sidestepped any discussion of the changing world around it. As the sixties rolled on, rather than starting to incorporate characters of other races, the show actually reduced the number black extras to zero over the years. I began to think that Mayberry and the mythical Andy—kind, decent people who conveniently exist in a world where the only visible people are just like themselves—were representations of The Problem. But the real Andy was humane, thoughtful, surprisingly liberal. His explanation that the show was intended as a sweet, simple escape for people during a difficult time is sort of good enough. But I think of how he and how he put his sweet, simple face on the ACA a couple years ago, and I wonder how America's Favorite Sheriff could have affected popular opinion on Civil Rights back in the day.

Still, I believe he did the best he could with what he had to work with. A decent man. And that sweet, simple show—it was damn fine. I love Andy Griffith, and I hope he rests well.
posted by peachfuzz at 8:43 AM on July 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


lodurr: "Who was the producer on the Andy Griffith show, anyway? I want to say Reiner, but I'm probably wrong...."

Per IMDB:

Series Produced by
Sheldon Leonard .... executive producer (249 episodes, 1960-1968)
Aaron Ruben .... producer (159 episodes, 1960-1965)
Richard O. Linke .... associate producer (122 episodes, 1960-1964)
Bob Ross .... producer (90 episodes, 1965-1968)
Jerry Jameson .... associate producer (60 episodes, 1965-1967)
Jay Sandrich .... associate producer (27 episodes, 1964-1965)
Danny Thomas .... executive producer (8 episodes, 1963)

And yes, it's the Danny Thomas.
posted by zarq at 8:43 AM on July 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I mentioned how big of an influence Andy and his show was on our culture, and then I remember this short redheaded kid in our stoner/hesher crew in high school who we all called Opie. I bet he wasn't the only one.
posted by jonmc at 8:43 AM on July 3, 2012


Also: The AV Club loves Andy Griffith. Some good reading, if you're a TAGS fan (or think TAGS sucks, but are willing to be convinced otherwise):

The Sermon For Today

20 Wonderfully Irrelevant Andy Griffith Conversations

Opie the Birdman
posted by peachfuzz at 8:45 AM on July 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Bob Ross .... producer (90 episodes, 1965-1968)

So that's where he got his inspiration for all those happy little trees from!
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:45 AM on July 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by drezdn at 8:46 AM on July 3, 2012


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posted by incandissonance at 8:50 AM on July 3, 2012


So loved "The Andy Griffith Show" and still watch it on days when I'm feeling like the world is not quite right. Andy always so handsome and calm in every episode. Always with the pretty young woman but just enough time for Opie. Devoted to Aunt Bea. How could you not love him?

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posted by nubianinthedesert at 8:52 AM on July 3, 2012


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posted by zinon at 8:55 AM on July 3, 2012


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posted by mmrtnt at 8:57 AM on July 3, 2012


> I believe I will have another big orange drink.

Andy Griffith's famous 1953 stand-up monologue about college football.
posted by mmrtnt at 8:57 AM on July 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by facetious at 8:58 AM on July 3, 2012


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posted by Lutoslawski at 9:02 AM on July 3, 2012


I can't stop thinking about the AG show. There's a great essay somewhere in the Taylor-Fife relationship and its implications as a commentary on the two sides of the American character. Barney is impulsive, trigger-happy, vengeful, prone to hysteria, but submissive to authority. Andy is balanced, tolerant, considerate and considered, authoritative, feels a heavy responsibility. The law enforcement setting is significant too. Hmmmm.
posted by Miko at 9:06 AM on July 3, 2012 [8 favorites]


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posted by snsranch at 9:12 AM on July 3, 2012


I now remember checking to see if he was still kickin' about a year ago because I honestly had no idea. Obviously he was, but if you'd asked me this morning if I knew what plane of existence he was currently on, I probably would've answered "the dead one".

It's always a huge shame when an icon passes and there's no exception in Griffith's case. The man is a legend whose face wouldn't be out of place carved on the Celebrity Andys Mount Rushmore alongside Andy Warhol, Andy Kaufman, and and and, um, Andy Samburg. Long live Andy Griffith!

Long live Andy Griffith!
posted by item at 9:18 AM on July 3, 2012


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posted by aenea at 9:19 AM on July 3, 2012


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posted by BibiRose at 9:20 AM on July 3, 2012


Let no one forget that Ted Turner built his empire on Braves games and reruns of The Andy Griffith Show
posted by inturnaround at 9:20 AM on July 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


... and I saw five or six convicts runnin' up and down and blowin' whistles...
posted by Benny Andajetz at 9:20 AM on July 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I grew up watching the stories of Mayberry, because my parents families are (mostly) from North Carolina.

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posted by strixus at 9:21 AM on July 3, 2012


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posted by shakespeherian at 9:24 AM on July 3, 2012


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posted by Malice at 9:27 AM on July 3, 2012


I recently got a big kick out of noticing that Alan Moore sneaked an Andy Griffith Show joke into The Black Dossier (Barney Fife, it seems, just didn't know what to make of the members of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen).
posted by COBRA! at 9:31 AM on July 3, 2012


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posted by K.P. at 9:35 AM on July 3, 2012


I'm glad to see so many of you are fans of No Time For Sergeants. If you haven't seen it his character is a cross between Sheriff Taylor and Gomer Pyle who also smokes and drinks some.

Supposedly you can tell if a rerun of The Andy Griffith Show is from the first season if the rock Opie throws hits the water at the end of the intro; after the first season the intro was shortened by a few seconds.

RIP Mr. Griffith and thanks for some good memories.
posted by TedW at 9:36 AM on July 3, 2012


Andy lived down the road from here, in Manteo, NC. I actually saw him a few times while he was out and about doing regular-citizen things.

He had a lot of pull in the business, too, apparently. The whole production of Matlock was moved to Wilmington, NC for the last three years or so to save him traveling to the west coast.

R.I.P.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 9:37 AM on July 3, 2012


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posted by Xoebe at 9:40 AM on July 3, 2012


For some reason I never forgot his turn as a domineering boss who lets his inner sociopath out on an adventure trip with his underlings in Movie of the Week "Pray for the Wildcats". Not a first rate film but he is golden in it. Perhaps in order to be as civilized as Andy was, you have to understand just how thin and fragile the veneer of civilization is, and thus how important it is. He clearly did.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:53 AM on July 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


I can't stop thinking about the AG show. There's a great essay somewhere in the Taylor-Fife relationship and its implications as a commentary on the two sides of the American character. Barney is impulsive, trigger-happy, vengeful, prone to hysteria, but submissive to authority. Andy is balanced, tolerant, considerate and considered, authoritative, feels a heavy responsibility. The law enforcement setting is significant too. Hmmmm.

A story that popped up on multiple episodes would have a government official from a larger town or the state visit Mayberry and act absolutely incredulous when he sees how humanly Andy runs the jail and his other law enforcement duties. The visiting official will insist that Andy is behaving far too soft to be effective, but the episode always ends with Andy able to show how this is the right way to practice policing.
posted by riruro at 9:54 AM on July 3, 2012


Gosh. My two role models growing up were The Professor on Gilligan's Island and Sheriff Andy Taylor.

R.I.P.
posted by darkstar at 9:55 AM on July 3, 2012


Ron Howard's (Opie) tweet.

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posted by yoga at 9:58 AM on July 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


this short redheaded kid in our stoner/hesher crew in high school who we all called Opie. I bet he wasn't the only one.

[raises hand] No, no, he wasn't.

I grew up watching the stories of Mayberry, because my parents families are (mostly) from North Carolina.

My family who moved from Illinois to NC actually did the same thing but in reverse, and all of that side of the family were big time fans. The Andy Griffith Show is one of those things that I was a snob about once upon a time because my extended family REALLY loved it, and I was just that kind of kid (though I was good enough to keep it to myself) who thought rebelling against it was a stand to make (again, thankfully, in my head)

As an adult, I realized that, if there was one folksy sitcom for my loved ones to be obsessive over, I'm glad it was the one because it's just great and not realizing that was one of my (many) youthful mistakes, and, for the most part, it holds up. It creates a world that, though it didn't really exist even in the time it was originally aired, felt (and feels) real to a lot of people. And for the most part, it holds up. A more obsessive person than I could and should write a piece how it is the 'rural' yin to The Dick Van Dyke Show's 'urban/suburban' yang.

I really feel like I should send an email to my grandmother and aunts and uncles, as if someone we really knew has passed on.

And again, much, much love for "A Face in the Crowd" -- if you have TCM, I'm sure they will broadcast in the upcoming months, and I cannot recommend it enough. Speaking of holding up, I happened to see it for the first time in 2008 after Sarah Palin's pick for VP which were also the days of "Joe the Plumber" being an actual media presence, which, for those of you have seen it can understand, and those who will see it probably will, how chilling it was in those circumstances. (And I'm not the first person to make either connection.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:00 AM on July 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


This has made me much sadder than I would've anticipated. It feels like another bit of my childhood has been chipped away. I'm honestly scared of an America without Andy Griffith in it.

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posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:00 AM on July 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


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posted by functionequalsform at 10:12 AM on July 3, 2012


Aunt Bee: "Now, why would Barney do that?"
Andy: "'Cause he's a nut."

Gonna miss you old friend.

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posted by sciencejock at 10:15 AM on July 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


He was a gentle presence in a very good show that was made great by a bunch of really great comedic actors, especially the inimitable Don Knotts. After being pestered about having ammo for Barney's pistol, Andy finally let him have one bullet, but he had to keep it in his shirt pocket. Barney's attempts to retrieve that bullet in a perceived emergency are a perfect summation of his consummate skill and his abiding commitment to that character.




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posted by Mental Wimp at 10:16 AM on July 3, 2012


I've got a Griffith story for ya.

Folks on the Outer Banks of North Carolina (and Manteo, their neighbor) embraced Andy as one of their own; he in fact had a home on the water in Manteo so he really was a local (I understand that is where he died). Back in the 60s, there was much talk of his visits, and he was often tapped to officiate at kite contests etc.

By the 80s and his Matlock days, he apparently missed Manteo and arranged to do some shooting there. I happened to be visiting Nags Head the week the locally-filmed episode was to air, and everyone was buzzing. Amazingly, there were businesses that closed for the evening purely so that all could watch. We dined that day at a restaurant briefly featured and the owner was nearly speechless with excitement.

When the episode aired, however, we were stunned to see that Griffith had brought in actors for all speaking roles as "locals"--actors with thick, heavy good-ol'-boy accents and slightly demented affects that did not in fact reflect the local culture. In fact, the glimpses of the area given in the show were jaundiced and portrayed a backward, hick-infested place. What few local spots were shown were split-second views that were barely recognizable.

The next day, we had a hard time getting anyone to discuss the show. "We love him, but Andy does his own thing," one shop-owner commented curtly.
posted by kinnakeet at 10:21 AM on July 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


*leaves a pie cooling on the windowsill for his dead homiez*
posted by Eideteker at 10:21 AM on July 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


Oh, and

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Growing up in the 60s was made just a little bit gentler, knowing we always had Mayberry to go home to.

Thanks, Andy. Heck, we even liked your singing.
posted by kinnakeet at 10:22 AM on July 3, 2012


Do not watch "Opie the Birdman", even in the background on a slow work day before a holiday, even if you want to refresh your memory before reading the AV Club article about it, even if your heart is hardened and you think you're not much of a crier. You've been warned.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:25 AM on July 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by pemberkins at 10:29 AM on July 3, 2012


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posted by The Violet Cypher at 10:32 AM on July 3, 2012


"I'ma raht cheer."

Ha! We say this in our family, too.

There's a car dealership in our neighborhood called Mayberry Lincoln. I always drive past and sigh just a little, thinking "oh, if only."

Safe passage, sheriff.
posted by scody at 10:34 AM on July 3, 2012


I emigrated here (to North Carolina) from the UK in 2003. My wife told me about a celebrity who was from this area but I'd never heard of him. We then visited Mount Airy and a museum dedicated to this local celeb. When touring the museum I didn't recognise the old black & white TV show, but then I noticed a glass case with a suit inside...
"Matlock !"

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posted by Webbster at 10:42 AM on July 3, 2012


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posted by twidget at 10:45 AM on July 3, 2012


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posted by rahnefan at 10:46 AM on July 3, 2012


My own Andy Griffith fave: Salvage One . "I'ma build a spaceship, go to the moon, collect all the junk, bring it back and sell it."

Oh dear lord, I'm sure I saw this on Sky channel or Superchannel during those blissfull few months back in the mid eighties after we finally got cable and before my parents opted to just go for basic cable. That was one strange concept show.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:48 AM on July 3, 2012


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posted by jabo at 11:06 AM on July 3, 2012


In the early seventies I left the big city and moved to a dirt road farm near the little town where, unbeknownst to me, Aunt Bee/Francis Bavier had retired the year before. A few years on, after she had become a recluse, her strange and addled gardener came into my life. I gave him a ride. My girlfriend gave him a ride after his uncle shot him in the foot. Later on he came back and stole our old pickup truck.

But before I even thought about escaping to the strange lands of the rural South, I had Andy Griffith in my taxicab. I didn’t have a TV at the time, and I didn’t recognize him when he got in. Besides it was dark.

I got a call for Baltimore Memorial Stadium after a Colts game. Like I said, it was dark. He had two dolled up Nashville babes with him and a bottle of whiskey. As we were leaving the lot a Black man hailed the cab and Andy told me to pick the guy up. He got in the front seat with me. Now there were two of us, a Hippie and a Black guy, who didn’t know that Andy Griffith was in the back seat.

Andy and the babes wanted to go to the airport to catch a flight to Nashville for The Grand Old Opry, but he told me to cruise by and drop off the other guy in his neighborhood first. Andy was cordial and gracious with the guy, and wouldn’t allow him to pay for his share of the ride. As soon as he got out of the cab Andy said to me, “Boy, see that Nigger over there? I want you to run over him.”

Of course I didn’t realize then that he was at least one step ahead of me, and that he was using was a time honored ploy that Southerners loved for toying with pretentious Yankees. But I was seething for the rest of the trip. It took maybe forty minutes and, by the time we got to the airport, he and the women had put a pretty good dent in the bottle.

The fare was close to ten dollars. Under the bright lights, when Andy leaned into the window to pay me, I finally recognized him. He tipped me a dime.

As for the gardener, he seemed to be messed up on something or other when I gave him the ride. Along the way, he quoted some poetry that he had written. When I asked him about Aunt Bee he said, “That woman don’t do nuthin’ but smoke cigarette and cuss all day long.”

As I wrote all this down, the theme from Mayberry kept playing in my head.
posted by Huplescat at 11:15 AM on July 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


This is one of those deaths that makes me really sad on a personal level.

Ditto, as I grew up with the Andy Griffith show and have probably seen every one a few times. I always wished he ended up with Ellie Walker. She was one of my earliest TV crushes. Helen ... not so much. ;)

On the other hand, I kinda already thought he was gone. RIP, Andy.

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posted by mrgrimm at 11:33 AM on July 3, 2012


One of the things the old show got right was that small towns are far more tolerant of their eccentrics than one would think. Shoot, we had a old gent that put on a dress every Friday night when he went out for a few drinks and no one ever said a word about it. And I think about that whenever I see clips of Andy and Barney being gentle with Otis.

RIP, Andy.
posted by Ber at 11:46 AM on July 3, 2012


Griffith's first return to a TV series after The Andy Griffith Show is usually ignored. He came back in September 1970 with the series "Headmaster", clearly "inspired" by the then current, year older, "Room 222", with a theme song sung by the then-nearly-unknown Linda Ronstadt. It was a ratings disaster.

This page describes the debacle and has the one minute promo film Andy made describing that new show, and a recording of that Headmaster theme song by Linda Ronstadt, which is all but ignored or unknown in her history.
posted by caclwmr4 at 11:47 AM on July 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


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posted by The Great Big Mulp at 12:03 PM on July 3, 2012


I also remember in the famous Heavy Metal Parking Lot video, a drunk metal chick refferring to her hometown (Reston, VA) as 'Mayberry USA.' And Martin Lawrence had a recurring joke about getting stoned and watching the show. It's everywhere.
posted by jonmc at 12:12 PM on July 3, 2012


Ah, Mr. Jadepearl was seduced with a Andy Griffith CD and the arcane knowledge of the Mr. Chicken and Limpett films. My father loved Andy Griffith and faithfully watched EVERYTHING done by him including Matlock, Salvage One and No Time for Sergeants. Our past disappears.
posted by jadepearl at 12:17 PM on July 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by Anitanola at 12:25 PM on July 3, 2012


I loved Salvage One, at least for the first several eps. Then it seemed to sort of run out of gas. I mean, after you fly a cement mixer to the moon and back, where have you got left to go?
posted by lodurr at 12:46 PM on July 3, 2012


a real friend. RIP AG
posted by pdxpogo at 12:48 PM on July 3, 2012


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posted by Lynsey at 1:02 PM on July 3, 2012


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posted by bjgeiger at 1:54 PM on July 3, 2012


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posted by Renoroc at 2:02 PM on July 3, 2012


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posted by stoneweaver at 2:14 PM on July 3, 2012


I have heard reports similar to DigDoug's comment from a few other people. It is the only instance I know of where dogs react cause-effect-wise to a television signal stimulus. Google returns 520000 hits for (andy griffith theme dog howl). If there are any dogologists out there who could help me understand this I would be very interested.

RIP for Andy Griffith. He had a great show that infused the culture. I can still recall a Saturday Night Live skit where Floyd the Barber was trying to put the moves on Aunt Bee. Gomer was always a favorite of mine. Shazam and surprise surprise surprise!
posted by bukvich at 2:42 PM on July 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


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posted by MelanieL at 2:47 PM on July 3, 2012


Oh, great, now my dog is freaking out over the howling in DigDoug's Youtube clip.
Yes, RIP, Andy. Grew up with that show, mocked its simplicity as a teenager but have fond memories of it now.
posted by etaoin at 3:00 PM on July 3, 2012


Andy: Good-bye, good-bye. Partin' is such sweet sorrow that I would say good-bye till it be morrow.
Opie: What does that mean?
Andy: Well, that means I'd love to sit and jaw with you a while longer but I got to be a-moving on.


I grew up watching AG reruns and hardly a day goes by that someone in my family doesn't use an appropriate quote from some episode.

I remember watching an AG marathon on T.V. once that included a trivia game in between episodes/commercials. Someone taped it (on VHS even!) and then my family and a bunch of friends all got together and had a big party and played the game.

Parting is such sweet sorry.

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posted by persephone's rant at 3:07 PM on July 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was just reminded of the episode where Opie was saving money to buy a poor girl a coat and Andy misunderstood and berated him for selfishness.

Now I'm a mess.
posted by wrapper at 3:23 PM on July 3, 2012


A Face in the Crowd. He was wonderful.

Andy Griffith’s Most Remarkable Performance
posted by homunculus at 3:30 PM on July 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by Zonker at 4:48 PM on July 3, 2012


Man, almost all the adults on that show have now passed on. I remember watching a special sometime in the early 2000's that had most of the cast members (except for Aunt Bea who was sick, and Floyd who might have already died). The sat in the old court room set and talked about the show for a couple of hours. When it was over someone turned out the light to the courtroom as everyone left and I realized this would never happen again. It felt like the end of an era. So sad.

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posted by UseyurBrain at 5:24 PM on July 3, 2012


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posted by dragonplayer at 6:23 PM on July 3, 2012


"A Face in the Crowd" was something that I saw for the first time only in the last year. I never watched "Matlock" or "The Andy Griffith Show," so I knew Andy only by reputation. His portrayal of Lonesome Rhodes just blew my mind open, in this very forward thinking movie about entertainment and power and media. So here's my dot for Mr. Griffith:

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posted by computech_apolloniajames at 8:53 PM on July 3, 2012


US readers, set your DVRs:

***
TCM Remembers Actor Andy Griffith Wednesday, July 18

Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will remember the life and career of actor Andy Griffith on Wednesday, July 18. Griffith passed away this morning at the age of 86. TCM's four-film memorial tribute is set to begin at 8 p.m. (ET) ... The following is a complete schedule (all times Eastern):

8 p.m. - A Face in the Crowd (1957) - with Patricia Neal, Anthony Franciosa, Walter Matthau and Lee Remick. Directed by Elia Kazan.

10:15 p.m. - No Time for Sergeants (1958) - with Myron McCormick, Nick Adams, Murray Hamilton and Don Knotts. Directed by Mervyn LeRoy.

12:30 a.m. - Hearts of the West (1975) - with Jeff Bridges, Donald Pleasance, Blythe Danner, Alan Arkin, Richard B. Shull, Herb Edelman, Alex Rocco and Marie Windsor. Directed by Howard Zieff.

2:15 a.m. - Onionhead (1958) - with Felicia Farr, Walter Matthau, Erin O'Brien, Joe Mantell, Ray Danton, James Gregory and Joey Bishop. Directed by Norman Taurog.
***

I will nth the recommendations for A Face in the Crowd ... purportedly inspired by Arthur Godfrey, BTW.
posted by pmurray63 at 9:09 PM on July 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


The Andy Griffith Show packed tremendous life lessons for me in the early 60's, when I first arrived in darkly cynical, intolerant, Mad Men era NYC during the Cuban Missile Crisis year, after having grown up in the tropics of Jamaica, West Indies.

I was not allowed to watch TV as a kid, except rarely and usually at Granny's apartment on East 72nd Street. Granny, born in 1892, and rigidly Victorian in her demeanor, would make Swanson Chicken Pot pies and we sat together in front of her enormous console tv in the brown wood cabinet. The Andy Griffith Show was just her cup of tepid entertainment along with similarly banal shows at the time that she liked, Bonanza, The Lawrence Welk Show, Lassie and Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color.

Andy's tender, fatherly, sweetly affectionate relationship with darling Opie won my heart over, deeply. When the news came of his death today I wondered how Ron Howard took it, if Andy were in real life the immensely lovable man he seemed to be in that show. It was the fact Andy was surrounded by adult lunatics on all sides in the show, yet he managed to keep his sanity, his poise, his humanitarian sense of agape that was very inspiring to me. He didn't throttle the frenzied, narcissistic, often delusional, negativistic, dramarama freak, Barney Fife. He didn't rage at the gas station idiot slackers, Gomer and Goober Pyle. He was compassionate but savvy about the alcoholic bum, Otis; forbearing with the endlessly critical, dim witted barber, Floyd; tolerated that Minnie Mouse voice of his ditzy Aunt Bea.

He was my first example of a Bodhisattva and at age 10 I wanted to navigate life with that ease of mind, an uplifted but not self-righteous spirit, honest, patient, moral, humble, wryly amused by life and good-hearted in spite of the chronically misbehaving 'characters' all around.

Interesting to note how many of the cast in that show went on to have fabulously successful careers.

I'm glad he had a good run, lived to 86. Thanks Andy for the gentle enjoyment and role modeling. There Is A Time.
posted by nickyskye at 2:28 AM on July 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


By coincidence, I watched the 1st episode of the old Andy Griffith Show just last week. Just part of a general tour of old shows. Sometimes, I get an insight into myself from how I understood old TV shows as a child, vs. how I see them now.

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posted by Goofyy at 2:29 AM on July 4, 2012 [2 favorites]






Oh my GOD. Dr. Zoom is brave indeed to wade into that morass. God, such bullying and red-faced spit-spraying anger.

Thankfully I have now learned the delightful word "Maobamacare" and that Andy Griffith was obviously both a Communist and a member of the KKK.
posted by Miko at 7:08 AM on July 5, 2012


c'mon, Miko, didn't you know that the liberals are always the REAL racists?

This is actually a thing. I had this hammered into my head as a kid: Yankees were obviously more racist than southerners. They were just self-deluded.
posted by lodurr at 7:24 AM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


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