The Andy Griffith Show

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The Andy Griffith Show is an American sitcom first televised by CBS between October 3, 1960 and April 1, 1968. Andy Griffith portrays a widowed sheriff in a fictional small community of Mayberry, North Carolina. His life is complicated by an inept but well-meaning deputy, Barney Fife (Don Knotts), a spinster aunt and housekeeper, Aunt Bee (Frances Bavier), and a young son, Opie (Ron Howard, billed as Ronny). Local ne'er-do-wells, bumbling pals, and temperamental girlfriends further complicate his life.

The series was a major hit, never placing lower than seventh in the Nielsen ratings and ending its final season at number one. Though neither Griffith nor the show won awards during its eight-season run, series co-stars Knotts and Bavier accumulated a combined total of six Emmy Awards. The show, itself a spin-off of The Danny Thomas Show, spawned its own spin-off series, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. (1964), a sequel series, Mayberry R.F.D. (1968), and a reunion telemovie, Return to Mayberry (1986). The show's enduring popularity has generated a good deal of show-related merchandise. Reruns currently air across the United States, and the complete series is available on DVD.

Contents

Origin

Sheldon Leonard, producer of The Danny Thomas Show and Danny Thomas, hired veteran comedy writer Arthur Stander (who had written many of the Danny Thomas episodes) to create a pilot show for Andy Griffith which featured him as justice of the peace and newspaper editor in a small town.[1] At the time, Broadway, film, and radio star Andy Griffith was interested in attempting a television role, and the William Morris Agency told Leonard that Griffith's rural background and previous rustic characterizations were suited to the part.[1] After conferences between Leonard and Griffith in New York, Griffith flew to Los Angeles and filmed the episode.[1] On February 15, 1960, "Danny Meets Andy Griffith" was telecast on The Danny Thomas Show.[1] In the episode, Griffith played fictional Sheriff Andy Taylor of Mayberry, North Carolina, who arrests Thomas for running a stop sign. Future players in The Andy Griffith Show, Frances Bavier and Ron Howard, appeared in the episode as townspeople, Henrietta Perkins, and Sheriff Taylor's son, Opie.[1] General Foods, sponsor of The Danny Thomas Show, had first access to the spinoff and committed to it immediately.[1] On October 3, 1960 at 9:30 p.m., The Andy Griffith Show made its debut.[2]

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