Hear the name “Andy Griffith” and for many, black and white images will most likely pop into mind. They are of an affable sheriff Andy Taylor, who for the most part is in black and white. He has an addled deputy Barney (played by Don Knotts) by his side. While Barney can’t keep his cool and is always inadvertently stirring up trouble, Andy is the opposite… keeping his calm…bringing a warmth to the screen to even the most despicable of characters on the Andy Griffith Show.
This morning it was announced that the great Andy Griffith has passed on at the age of 86. He did have countless other roles throughout his career, most notably Matlock, but he will be remembered as that sheriff with a heart of gold. This perhaps wasn’t exactly who Andy Griffith was, but there are worst things to be remembered for.
With The Andy Griffith Show, fans for the last fifty years have been transported into a simpler time and place. It is a time where problems are resolved by the end of a half hour show. It is a time where people randomly get together with their bluegrass instruments and start playing and singing together on the front porch. It is a time where a young boy can walk the streets of town and visit his dad at work without worrying about anything untoward happening. It is a time where a sheriff can maintain law and order without a gun.
The Andy Griffith Show portrayed America in a way that perhaps has only lived in ideals… but idealistic it was. With Andy Griffith himself owning half of the show and contributing (uncredited) to the writing of every episode, Mayberry and its inhabitants were a reflection of this great man’s mind and imagination. With his passing, it is quite possible that the era of that idealistic and simplistic America has passed as well. However, as long as The Andy Griffith Show lives on in reruns… that memory will be preserved. For that, a hearty hat tip goes out to Andy Griffith. Thank you for Mayberry.