While Andy Griffith did appear in a few feature films and was an accomplished singer, he will always be remembered for his contributions to television. From 1960 to 1968 Andy Griffith starred in the appropriately titled “The Andy Griffith Show”. The series became a major hit for CBS. In 1986 he returned to TV starring in the popular series “Matlock”. It ran for almost 10 years and once again solidified Griffith’s status as a television icon.
Andy Griffith, a man known in every American household and many around the world, died yesterday at the age of 86.
Over the years “The Andy Griffith Show” became an American cultural phenomenon. While it was immensely popular during its original run, an argument can be made that it was never more popular than when it went into syndication. Generation after generation has watched and laughed at the exploits of Andy, Barney, Opie, Aunt Bee, Gomer, Floyd, Otis, Earnest T., and others in the fictional but beloved town of Mayberry. My grandparents liked the show. My parents love it. I love it. Now my children – aged 8 and 10 – both love it.
“The Andy Griffith Show” is the definition of timeless. After all this time it still stands strong and it’s rare to find someone who really dislikes it. It was wonderfully written and centered around an assortment of fantastic characters. It also still shows that you can create a genuinely funny product without all of the filth and raunch that seems to be the lazy gimmick of choice in the world of modern comedy – television or film. You can actually watch it with your whole family without being on constant guard. And like “Matlock” what really made the show work was Andy Griffith. He was the stabilizing force and even the host of hilarious side characters played off of him.
Andy Griffith was a true entertainment icon and his passing reminds us of his amazing contributions. Many of us will grow old remembering the exploits of Andy and Barney – talking about show after show while remembering scene after scene in vivid detail – still laughing after all of these years. THAT is a sign of true comedy. Thank you Andy.