‘Andy Griffith Show’ Producers Debated on How Andy Should Punish Opie

by Chase Thomas

The Andy Griffith Show is as timeless as it gets. With such a stacked cast of actors, including Andy Griffith, Don Knotts and Ron Howard, it is no wonder why the show thrived for so many years.

One of the early questions regarding the second season was the possibility of a new mayor entering the fold. After such an exciting first season, director Bob Sweeney was looking to shake things up. He wanted to ensure that folks did not get stagnate with where things were heading on the program. He wanted to keep the momentum going.

So, that meant doing some things differently. A new mayor came into the fold, but his early idea of presenting him as both younger and less intelligent did not come to fruition. Things went differently. Another hot topic of discussion was Opie, Andy’s son. Specifically, how would The Andy Griffith Show handle disciplining Opie. It was a delicate matter and one they discussed. Sweeney said, “Bringing up Opie has us all talking.”

He continued, “We all have our personal ideas on how it should be done. For instance, if Opie has disobeyed his father, does he get whipped?” This was a different era and a different time. It was also a collective decision. Everyone has a different perspective on raising children and the best way to deal with this sort of thing. It is just as complicated on television where whichever decision they made would be a huge one for the size and scope of the The Andy Griffith Show.

Opie and Andy Tayler on ‘The Andy Griffith Show’

Sweeney added a bit more, “Aaron and I first must know how strongly Andy feels on the subject.” This checks out and you can only imagine the back-and-forth that went involved with such a delicate subject matter Sweeney said, “Andy has to sit down with the boy, and if he feels Opie must be spanked, that is what will happen… it can be done off stage and to a limited degree.”

So that is what they ultimately decided to do. If you rewatch The Andy Griffith Show, you will find that there are no scenes where Andy spanks Opie. However, a later episode does involve some degree of corporal punishment for another boy on the program. The latter avoids the punishment via apologizing to his pa as the episode concludes.

The Andy Griffith Show first aired in 1960 and ran until 1968, almost a decade. The show took place in the fictional town of Mayberry in North Carolina and starred Andy Griffith as Andy Taylor and Don Knotts as Barney Fife. The duo later worked with another on primetime on Griffith’s later show Matlock, where he played a trial lawyer in Atlanta, Georgia.