‘Andy Griffith Show’: Watch Andy and Barney Belt Hymn ‘Church in the Wildwood’

by Matthew Wilson

“The Andy Griffith Show” may have gone off the air in 1968, but it never left viewers’ TV screens. Mayberry was a wholesome slice of small-town American living, like this moment where Sheriff Andy Taylor and his deputy Barney Fife sing on the front porch.

Andy Griffith and Don Knotts are soulful as their character, singing this gospel song. The two performed a moving rendition of “Church in the Wildwood” while sitting on the front porch. They get a little help from Roger Emhardt as Malcolm Tucker. The front porch melody happened in Season 3, Episode 16 “Man in a Hurry.”

The show remains a classic and endearing because of moments like this one that capture living at its simplest. Taylor and the rest of Mayberry may have had small town sensibilities. But they always felt like real, living breathing characters with their own hangups and quirks.

On occasions like this one, they could be downright mournful. Griffith and Knotts’ chemistry formed the beating heart of the show. And there’s a reason why the later seasons aren’t as fondly remembered after Knotts left.

Andy Griffith Sings the Theme Song

Fans know all too well that Griffith had a voice on him that he wasn’t afraid to incorporate into the show. As the sheriff, Griffith sang several times throughout the show including this porch recital. But most viewers may not have realized he also originally sang the show’s theme song.

No, not the whistling. Originally, the show planned to include full-blown lyrics to introduce Mayberry and its characters each week. Griffith would be singing about being down at the fishing hole. Producers even got a popular theme songwriter Everett Sloan to create the unused lyrics.

But Mayberry required something a little more simple and easy on the ears. Thus, that iconic whistling was created instead. And Griffith was left saving his voice for moments of lyricism on the show.