Andy Griffith Talked About Matlock’s Ego on the Show

by Chase Thomas

Andy Griffith was a legend in television for many years. He soared as the main character Andy Taylor, The Andy Griffith Show. The show was a hit for much of the 1960s and ’70s. However, that would not be the last starring role for Griffith in Hollywood. The late actor from North Carolina also starred in the hit lawyer drama Matlock. Unsurprisingly, Griffith played the lead role of Ben Matlock, the funny, witty trial lawyer down in Atlanta. Matlock was very different than Taylor. The two were completely different in their demeanor and approach and personality. Andy Griffith talked about Matlock’s ego on the show with Jay Leno years ago on his late-night program.

Griffith mentioned to Leno that while he, himself, was aware of how he had changed from his days as Andy Taylor, especially physically, Matlock was not familiar with this change. He did know this was the case whatsoever. Remember, Matlock was a vocal figure who was not afraid to express his opinion. He loved those grey suits, too. Griffith told Leno, “But this character I play doesn’t know that.”

Still, Matlock as a character soared. It was cool to see Griffith play a very different role than Andy Taylor years later. Matlock was very good at what he did. It was just different than what viewers saw with Taylor years earlier. The latter was quiet and reserved. Matlock was loud and opinionated.

‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Through The Years

Andy Griffith is still watched by so many folks still today. Even decades after the show ended, it is still one of the biggest sitcoms ever. Andy Griffith talked to the New York Times when it was first breaking through in the 1960s where he said, “I think it is because we–everyone on the show–have a real sense of community, of kindness toward one another.” Folks loved spending time with the folks in Mayberry. Whether it was Andy or Don Knotts or Gomer, it worked. People liked the show and liked the warmth that it brought.

Griffith continued, “The basic rule by which we live comes through on the program, kindness comes through. The show also has a number of featured performers, each with a definite character we can write around for any episode. But equally important is the character of Mayberry itself. We try to make it a real little community with its small problems and those of its people put forth comedically.”

Every character matter on The Andy Griffith Show. It did not limit itself to just one program. It touched on all the things that made small-town America so different and so interesting. It had a plethora of folks that excelled in their roles which is why the show still resonates so much today.