Andy Griffith Described What His Show Did Better Than Anyone Else

by Allison Hambrick

Television superstar Andy Griffith opened up about what set The Andy Griffith Show apart from similar shows from its era. In an appearance on the Morning Exchange, Griffith discussed how his show differed from other rural-themed shows such as The Beverly Hillbillies.

“Our show I always felt fit into a special category because of the splendid writing that we had,” Griffith explained. “We had the best comedy writing at that time. The writer’s guild [has] a writer’s dinner every year in which they give out their own awards to their own people. Our show, that is, the writing on our show, got the award. One year, we had two scripts up for that award, so I always thought our show was a little special that way.”

Griffith strongly felt that the show benefited from the “insanity” that came with comedy. One favorite episode of his was “Barney’s First Car.” In the show, Barney Fife, played by Don Knotts, decides to purchase his first car. Talking about the car, Griffith quipped “not to put him down, but it was a 52 Ford.”

 “One of the jokes we had I was sitting on the porch, and this lady was going to bring the car over for Barney to look at,” said Griffith. “He was pacing back and forth, and I said ‘sit down, Barney, she’ll be here in a minute.’ He said ‘I’m sorry. I’m a little nervous. He said ‘ this is my biggest investment since my mom and dad’s anniversary.’ I said ‘what did you get them?’ and he said ‘a septic tank.’ I sat for a long time and then finally I said ‘a septic tank.’ He said ‘yeah, it was all steel reinforced, they were really thrilled.”

Andy Griffith Reveals Why CBS Ditched Rural Shows

Additionally, Griffith discussed how he felt about critics of his small-town show.

“The powers that be at CBS two years ago decided that there should be no more rural shows on television,” said the actor. “If you’re saying that there are differences in us and that we all don’t come from a city and that we all don’t come from the same ethnic background, I agree. I think we do need rural humor. It’s always been around and it always will be around.”

In the 1970s, television shows set in the country waned in popularity. From a modern perspective, many would assume that audiences simply didn’t respond well to them. Griffith revealed that it was the networks that made the decision, however.

“One of the things they believe is that Small Town U.S.A. is dying and disappearing from our country,” Griffith explained. “They believe that television audiences are too sophisticated for the fact that they have watched television for a long time to be able to buy or even enjoy entertainment that such as Petticoat Junction or Beverly Hillbillies or our show.”