Ron Howard starred in some of the best and most influential shows in television history. “The Andy Griffith Show,” cemented Howard as an actor and launched his career. The show was a window into a simpler time and remains popular even decades after it ended. Howard’s role as Richie Cunningham and his relationship with the Fonz helped to popularize “Happy Days.” That show went on to give us “Mork and Mindy,” which launched Robin Williams into superstardom. After playing Mork, Williams went on to hold some of the most iconic and hilarious roles in cinema. WIthout Mork, we may not have the huge filmography of Williams’ work to look back on now.
In the “Happy Days” episode, “My Favorite Orkan,” we see all three shows represented at once. At one point in the episode, Mork is sitting on the Cunningham’s couch, eating flowers, and watching “The Andy Griffith Show,” on TV. The best part comes when he remarks that he likes “that boy Opie.”
It was moments like this that made the Mork character so popular with fans. He was such a hit with fans of “Happy Days” that Gary Marshall developed an entire series around the character.
His “Happy Days” appearance was instrumental in Robin Williams’ fame. In much the same way, “The Andy Griffith Show,” helped “Happy Days” become a hit. The classic show gave Ron Howard his start. His chemistry with Henry Winkler is what hooked most fans.
The Enduring Popularity of “The Andy Griffith Show”
When you think about it, “The Andy Griffith Show” gave the world so much. Mayberry introduced television audiences to both Andy Griffith and Ron Howard. In the long run, the classic sitcom is responsible for great films like “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “Good Morning Vietnam,” and “Good Will Hunting.” More accurately, those movies may have been made but no one could fill those roles like Robin Williams.
That’s not why “The Andy Griffith Show,” is so popular today, though. The classic show has the same draw that it had when it first aired in 1960. It is an escape from life in current times. In its original run, it ignored the turmoil of the 1960s. Instead, it focused on small-town life from days gone by. Furthermore, it did so lovingly. Audiences were invited to join the citizens of Mayberry in their day-to-day activities.
In other shows focused on small-town or rural settings, audiences were expected to ridicule the subjects of the series. Think of “The Beverly Hillbillies,” which aired only two years after “The Andy Griffith Show.” The family was the butt of most of the show’s jokes. In Mayberry, audiences laughed along with the characters instead of at them.
This loving look at a simpler time made “The Andy Griffith Show” a hit. That, and the show’s influence, are why it remains so popular among television viewers decades later.