'The Andy Griffith Show's Creator Thought the Show Was Wrongly Named
25th October 2020

Every fan of The Andy Griffith Show is familiar with the show’s opening sequence.

First, there’s the classic comedy’s theme song,”The Fishin’ Hole,” with its ear-catching melody whistled by one of its composers, Earle Hagen. Then, the announcer stating, “The Andy Griffith Show. Starring Andy Griffith. With Ronny Howard. Co-starring Don Knotts.”

Little did the show’s fans know that its creator later wished it had never been called The Andy Griffith Show.

The town of Mayberry is immortalized and idealized on ‘The Andy Griffith Show’

Indisputably, there is no other fictionalized town on television that carries as much emotion and character as does the imaginary, sleepy town of Mayberry located somewhere in North Carolina.

In Richard Kelly’s 1981 book The Andy Griffith Show, former Raleigh, North Carolina mayor Jyles J. Coggins remarked to Kelly about Mayberry and its remarkable aura.

“I have seen and enjoyed The Andy Griffith Show many times. Although I believe the shows are somewhat exaggerated in reflecting the naïveté and hickishness of small-town Southern people, especially today, they do show the imaginative life-style of twenty or thirty years ago.

“The basic qualities of goodness of the people and genuine concern for one another and the community are still true to North Carolina.”

The most overlooked character on the show, according to the show’s creator

In a conversation with the Archive of American Television, Andy Griffith opened up about series creator Sheldon Leonard’s opinion that the show had been misnamed. Leonard realized the real star of the show wasn’t Andy Griffith; it was Mayberry. Years later, Griffith agreed.

“Sheldon actually said one time, ‘I think we misnamed this show. It should’ve been called Mayberry to start with,’ Griffith told the Archive.

Kelly in his book opined, “The real hero of The Andy Griffith Show is the town of Mayberry, presided over by the sheriff without a gun, Andy Taylor. It is a small world, one that, ironically, is more colorful on simple black-and-white television sets. It is filled with wonderful characters we can all understand and care about. It is nostalgic and funny, and most important, it is timeless.”

The second most overlooked character, according to one writer

Aside from the fictional town of Mayberry being an invisible figure of stability, another character that’s frequently overlooked, according to show writer Harvey Bullock, was Aunt Bee actor Frances Bavier.

“Andy was strong as the father figure, Opie was an open winning delight, and Barney Fife was a comedic treasure,” Bullock said. “Yet Frances, with none of these obvious strengths to work with, turned in a consistent solid background that enabled the other characters to work as well as they did.

“Her artistry lay in the fact that her contribution was so natural you never thought to examine it. That is talent.”

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