Why ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Fans Still Flock To ‘Mayberry’

by Craig Garrett

The Andy Griffith Show showcased the town of Mayberry, perhaps the most famous fictional location of classic tv. The spinoff, Mayberry, R.F.D. even had the town in the title. Many fans believe that the fictional rural town is inspired by the place Griffith grew up, Mount Airy.

Indeed, the North Carolina town does share a lot in common with Mayberry. Snappy Lunch, an actual Mount Airy institution, was mentioned on the show. However, in later years Griffith claimed to never eat pork chop sandwiches there. Now, Mount Airy has revamped itself as a visitor attraction for hundreds of thousands of people each year. No small feat for a show that debuted more than fifty years ago.

The Andy Griffith Show‘s adopted home is the birthplace of Griffith himself

Running from 1960 to 1968, The Andy Griffith Show is still beloved by generations. “Mayberry Days”, an annual event celebrating the show, is set for September 19-25 this year. Some of the activities include the Mayberry Days Parade, checkers tournament, championship barbecue cook-off, and trivia contests. The Andy Griffith Museum is a must-see for any fan of the show, as it contains the world’s largest collection of memorabilia of the star. Andy Griffith was born in Mount Airy in 1926.

“Mayberry Days gives fans a chance to reminisce about the show and what it represents,” Jessica Icenhour, tourism director for Mount Airy told the AP in 2011. “We roll out the welcome mat and invite everyone to experience America’s hometown.” The Annual festival allows fans of the Andy Griffith Show to “enjoy a glimpse of life in that nostalgic place known as ‘Mayberry,’ while tracing the footsteps of Mount Airy’s most famous son,” organizers explained.

Many The Andy Griffith Show fans still see Mayberry in black and white

Many fans of The Andy Griffith Show hold the color episodes of the series in contempt. So much so, that many must be rubbing their eyes in disbelief when they see Mount Airy in vivid color. It’s understandable that the color episodes of the series are seen as a totally different era of the show, though. Season six marked the first color episodes. The biggest change that season was that Don Knotts left to pursue film roles.

Jack Burns was cast as a replacement for Knotts, playing Deputy Warren Ferguson. However, Deputy Ferguson only lasted for eleven episodes before disappearing without explanation. After this departure, Andy Griffith had no one to play off.

The sixth season of The Andy Griffith Show is also notable for the final appearances of recurring characters Malcolm Merriweather (Bernard Fox) and Ernest T. Bass (Howard Morris). Andy Griffith fans will also spot the first appearance of Jack Dodson in the episode “Lost and Found”. Dodson would later become a regular on the series and would transition with most of the supporting cast to Mayberry R.F.D.

However, some positive moments happen during the color era of The Andy Griffith Show. Future superstar Jack Nicolson makes two appearances on the show. Don Knotts also makes a few award-winning guest appearances across the color seasons. Time away makes the comic energy between Knotts and Griffith shine. Finally, for a fan of Mayberry, it’s neat to be able to see the locations in color. Just like you can at the “Mayberry Days” festival.