It seems that Ron Howard was not the expert rock skipper that he appeared to be in the opening credits of The Andy Griffith Show.
As classic TV fans, and probably most everyone else, remember, the series’ iconic opener shows Howard as Opie Taylor walking barefoot to a fishing spot with his dad, Sheriff Taylor, as the unforgettable whistling tune plays. Along the way, Opie stops to toss a stone across the top of the river.
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While the scene looks perfectly natural to the average person, some may notice that there is a quick glitch in the footage. This is because Howard couldn’t nail the skip, so the crew had to work a little magic.
‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Director Reveals His Stone Skipping Dilemma at the New York Film Academy
The Andy Griffith Show’s assistant director, Bruce Bilson, spoke in a guest lecture at the New York Film Academy in 2016, and he explained that Ron Howard, who was six at the time, tried to get a rock to skim the water’s surface several times. After a while, Bilson decided to pull some trickery so everyone could move on.
Bilson asked a prop man to sit behind a boulder and throw a rock while Howard pretended to do the same. He admitted that if fans watch closely, they’ll notice that the timing is clearly off. But there are no other signs.
That wasn’t the only time a prop guy had to step in for Howard either. While talking to the New York Times, the now Oscar winning director admitted that he never actually snagged anything during the fishing scenes with Andy Griffith. Instead, the prop guy had to walk into the water and hook a catfish to Howard’s line.
Ron Howard Can Now Skip Rocks with the Best of Them
Though Ron Howard wasn’t able to pick up the skill on the spot in 1960, he did manage to figure it out later in his life.
In 2019, he posted a clip on Instagram that paid tribute to the legendary opening credits. In it, he nails the throw in one try
“This is me, skipping stones,” he says to the camera before gracefully tossing a rock over a calm creek that he called a ‘swimmin’ hole.”
Howard’s rock hits the water three times before crashing into land.
“Still got it,” she says proudly.