“The cage sure looks awful empty, don’t it, pa?”
“Yes, son, it sure does. But don’t the trees seem nice and full?”
— Opie and Andy Taylor
I grew up watching THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW reruns every day after school on our local low-budget TV station. It was my first favorite show and remains my favorite to this day. Although I fell for it due to Don Knotts’s wonderfully nuts “Barney Fife”, I always secretly wished that Andy Taylor was my dad, as he was so laid-back and understanding.
From what I’ve always read, according to everyone who knew him, Griffith was the most kind and generous friend and coworker; there are countless amazing anecdotes you can read … just pick one and you’ll love him too. My favorite is that Andy’s character on that show was originally meant to be the comic star, but after the first episode, Griffith realized that Knotts had something special with Barney Fife and decided to have the show reworked to let Barney get all the laughs. It worked, and Knotts went on to win 5 Emmys for portraying Barney Fife, who is now one of the most iconic characters in TV history. Such a class act, that Andy Griffith. In fact, even when Knotts left the show in favor of a multi-picture movie deal, Griffith held no resentment, and even helped Knotts shape-up some of the scripts.
So long, Andy, I’m sure wherever you are, you and Barney are sitting on a porch swing singin’ some hymns.
Now excuse me while I go watch an ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW marathon on Netflix and try not to get too choked up.