(CBS 11) – On October 3, 2020, we will commemorate the 60th anniversary of the debut of The Andy Griffith Show on the CBS Television Network, one of the most beloved sitcoms of all times and one that remains in reruns to this day on both broadcast television, cable and other forms of media.
From October 3, 1960 to September 16, 1968, Americans tuned in to watch Andy, Barney, their family and their friends.
The show was a spinoff of sorts from the show Make Room For Daddy starring Danny Thomas, where in an episode his character, Danny Williams, and his family arrive in Mayberry on a road trip and experience some car trouble.
In addition to Griffith as Andy Taylor, the cast included Don Knotts as Deputy Sheriff Barney Fife, Francis Bavier as Aunt Bee and Ronny Howard as Andy’s son Opie.
George Lindsey played Goober Pyle, who ran the local gas station. His brother, Gomer (Jim Nabors), was on the show for a year helping Goober run the gas station until a spin-off was created called Gomer Pyle USMC with Nabors in the starring role, another big hit for CBS. I had the pleasure of meeting both Lindsey and Nabors during my television station career.
Other character actors included Howard McNear (Floyd Lawson, the barber), Hal Smith (Otis Campbell, the town drunk) and Aneta Coursaut (Helen Crump, Andy’s girlfriend and later his wife). The show was produced by Sheldon Leonard and Danny Thomas, and shot on the Desilu production lot in Hollywood. For one year the show was shot on the Paramount studios lot.
By 1968, Griffith decided it was time to leave the show (Knotts had left earlier in 1965) which then set things up for a spin off called Mayberry RFD starring Ken Berry (of ABC’s F Troop fame). Of the 249 episodes produced, 159 of them were in black and white and 90 in color, during the time that all three major networks were transitioning out of black and white to color.
After its run on CBS, it was distributed and sold in local TV markets around the country… and it is still airing regularly on nearly 60 years after it premiered on CBS. And it was a hit internationally as well!
Everyone has a favorite episode or line from the show. I do as well and today’s clip features Barney in various situations advocating for “nipping it…in the bud!”