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 the 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. All eight seasons are also now available by streaming video services such as Netflix.
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. 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. After conferences between Leonard and Griffith in New York, Griffith flew to Los Angeles and filmed the episode. On February 15, 1960, "Danny Meets Andy Griffith" was telecast on The Danny Thomas Show. 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. General Foods, sponsor of The Danny Thomas Show, had first access to the spinoff and committed to it immediately. On October 3, 1960 at 9:30 p.m., The Andy Griffith Show made its debut.
Frances Bavier was cast as Andy's housekeeper, Aunt Bee, and Ron Howard as Andy's son, Opie. Don Knotts, who knew Griffith professionally and had seen The Danny Thomas Show episode, called Griffith during the developmental stages of the show and suggested the Sheriff character needed a deputy. Griffith agreed. Knotts auditioned for the show's creator and executive producer, Sheldon Leonard, and was offered a five-year contract. He joined the cast as Barney Fife. Griffith, Knotts, Bavier and Howard all made their series debut in the premiere, "The New Housekeeper."
The show's production team included producers Aaron Ruben (1960–1965) and Bob Ross (1965–1968). First-season writers (many of whom worked in pairs) included Jack Elinson, Charles Stewart, Arthur Stander and Frank Tarloff (as "David Adler"), Benedict Freedman and John Fenton Murray, Leo Solomon and Ben Gershman, and Jim Fritzell and Everett Greenbaum. In the sixth season, Greenbaum and Fritzell left the show and Ruben departed for Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., a show which he
owned in part. Writer Harvey Bullock left after season six. Bob Sweeney directed the first three
seasons save the premiere.
The show was filmed at Desilu Studios, with exteriors filmed at Forty Acres in Culver City, CA.
Woodsy locales were filmed north of Beverly Hills at Franklin Canyon.
The show's theme music, "The Fishin' Hole", was composed by Earle Hagen and Herbert Spencer, with
lyrics written by Everett Sloane. Whistling in the opening sequence, as well as the closing
credits sequence, was performed by Earle Hagen. One of the show's tunes, "The Mayberry March",
was reworked a number of times in different tempi, styles and orchestrations as background
The show's sole sponsor was General Foods, with promotional consideration paid for (in the form
of cars) by Ford Motor Company (mentioned in the credits).
Jesse Donald "Don" Knotts (July 21, 1924 – February 24, 2006) was an American comedic actor best
known for his portrayal of Barney Fife on the 1960s television sitcom The Andy Griffith Show, a
role which earned him five Emmy Awards. He also played landlord Ralph Furley on the 1970s television sitcom Three's Company.
In 1996 TV Guide ranked him number 27 on its 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time list
Andy Samuel Griffith (born June 1, 1926) is an American actor, director, producer, Grammy Award-
winning Southern-gospel singer, and writer. He gained prominence in the starring role in director
Elia Kazan's epic film A Face in the Crowd (1957) before he became better known for his
television roles, playing the lead characters in the 1960-68 situation comedy, The Andy Griffith
Show, and in the 1986-95 legal drama, Matlock. Griffith was awarded the Presidential Medal of
Freedom by US President George W. Bush on November 9, 2005.
James Thurston "Jim" Nabors (born June 12, 1930) is an American actor and singer. Born and raised
in Sylacauga, Alabama, Nabors moved to Southern California because of his asthma. While working
at a Santa Monica nightclub, The Horn, he was discovered by Andy Griffith and later joined The
Andy Griffith Show, playing Gomer Pyle, a gas station attendant whom some described as dim-
witted. Nabors himself has stated that the Gomer character was not so much dim-witted; he just
wanted to see the good in people. The character proved popular, and Nabors was given his own
spin-off show, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.
Though best known for his portrayal of Gomer Pyle, Nabors became a popular guest on variety shows in the 1960s and 1970s (including two specials of his own in 1969 and 1974) after revealing a rich baritone voice. He subsequently recorded numerous albums and singles, most of them containing romantic ballads.
Photograph was taken on the set of the 1960s television series, The Andy Griffith Show & was Hand Oil Tinted by artist Margaret A. Rogers.