Ron Howard remembers Andy Griffith fondly. The plain spoken, down-to-earth star of “The Andy Griffith Show” showed respect for his colleagues, including Howard, who played Opie on the show.
Andy Griffith Had Great Comeback After Ron Howard Changed a Line
And early on in the second season of the show, Griffith demonstrated his knack for directness when Howard made a change to the script, as Howard described in the Los Angeles Times in 2012.
“I ventured a suggestion for a line change to make it sound more ‘like the way a kid would say it,’” Howard wrote. He was 7 years old at the time. But Griffith et al. accepted his suggestion.
“I remember standing frozen, thrilled at what this moment represented to me,” Howard recalled. “Andy asked me, ‘What you grinnin’ at, youngin’?’ I said it was the first idea of mine they’d ever said yes to.”
“Without a pause, Andy responded for all to hear: ‘It was the first idea that was any damn good. Now let’s do the scene.’”
Howard said Griffith’s collaborative approach to the show meant a lot to him. He also said he will be forever grateful for moments like that one.
Plotlines Were a Team Effort
“The Andy Griffith Show” lasted for eight seasons from 1960 to 1968 and went on to become a television classic.
Griffith got involved in musical theater while he was in college and later taught high school music for three years, according to Biography.com. And music became a key part of “The Andy Griffith Show,” Griffith said in a 1998 Television Academy Foundation interview.
“I had two guitars on stage at all times,” he said. “Music was always important to our show. Don and I sang a lot together.”
As for the scriptwriting process that Howard belatedly took part in during Season 2, it was always a team effort. Griffith said they would get a bunch of people in a room and toss out story ideas.
“At the end of each season, Sheldon [Leonard] would have a week of story conferences,” Griffith explained. “Sheldon, Aaron [Ruben], myself, and anywhere from however many writers we could get in a room [would meet]. And we’d always meet in Sheldon’s office… and we would pitch stories.”
Moreover, Howard was beloved on the set, with Leonard taking the young boy under his wing and Griffith befriending him. But Griffith made clear that, unlike a lot of showbiz children, Howard was not in need of surrogate parental figures.
“Ronnie has a wonderful mother and father,” Griffith said. So “that was perhaps the principal reason he turned out the way he did. He was always a good kid. And he never considered me his father. He considered me not even a father figure. He considered me his friend. I was playing his father. He knew that.”
“We did a reunion show a few years ago, and Ronnie’s the reason we did it,” he added.
Griffith died in 2012 in North Carolina.