Few television comedies have stood the test of time like “The Andy Griffith Show.” A spinoff of “The Danny Thomas Show,” it aired on CBS between October 3, 1960 to April 1, 1968, bringing to life the colorful characters and comedic situations of a fictional little town called Mayberry.
Here are some fun details about this amazing TV show that you may have missed:
1. Knotts was just a salaried employee
Andy Griffith owned 50% of the show and earned a large share of the profits. Don Knotts, however, was a salaried employee and left the show after five seasons when an ownership stake was denied to him.
2. The secret behind the theme song
Earle Hagen wrote the instrumental theme song, “The Fishin ‘ Hole,” in 15 minutes. Griffith recorded a vocal version— featuring Everett Sloane’s lyrics— but it’s never been used. Instead, the now classic whistling was done by Hagen.
3. Bring your spouse to work day
Look carefully— Barbara Bray Edwards, the true life wife of Griffith, made several appearances in the background on the show.
4. The inspiration for Mayberry is a real city
It’s called Mount Airy, North Carolina. The community of 10,000 residents is home to the Andy Griffith Museum and the annual celebration of “Mayberry Days,” which attracted almost 50,000 visitors for the 50th anniversary of the show in 2010.
5. How the characters got their names
Andy Taylor, Floyd Lawson, Ellie Walker and Helen Crump all got their names from towns near Mount Airy, North Carolina: Taylorsville, Lawsonville, Walkertown, Crumpler.
6. Gone With the Wind connection
Despite its genuine tiny village feel, the show was actually filmed at Desilu Studios in Culver City, California— on the same soundstage as’ Gone With The Wind.’ The lake is situated on the Franklin Canyon Drive in Beverly Hills, which is used in outdoor scenes.
7. Ron’s early beginnings
Ron Howard— then known as Ronnie— was just six years old when the show began and was barely able to read. He’d have to read his dad, Rance Howard, and other cast members to memorize him.
8. So good, you could watch it twice
CBS ran the show’s reruns during the day during the peak of its popularity, renaming them “Andy of Mayberry” to avoid confusion with the episodes of prime time. All episodes were changed back to “The Andy Griffith Show” when the show finished running.