Actor Leslie Nielsen of “Airplane!” fame did have a sense of humor off-screen. “Matlock” star Andy Griffith was let in on a Nielsen secret.
“You know, he has this little poopoo machine with him all the time,” Griffith said in a 1996 interview with Parade Magazine. “He presses it, and it makes a poopoo sound. He gave me one and showed me how to use it. I may try it in church sometime.”
Griffith and Nielsen probably spent a lot of time cutting up while making “Spy Hard,” a 1996 comedy. In it, Griffith portrays General Rancor, an evil genius seeking to overtake the world. That’s quite different from keeping law and order in Mayberry on “The Andy Griffith Show.”
Anyway, General Rancor faces a tough test as secret agent Dick Steele, WD-40, played by Nielsen, attempts to stop the devilish plans. Guess what happens? WD-40 manages to get the job done and put Rancor in his place.
“Spy Hard,” an obvious tongue-in-cheek reference to the Bruce Willis-Alan Rickman classic film, “Die Hard,” earned $27 million at the box office. The film had a $19 million budget, so it made a profit. Other cast members included Nicollette Sheridan, Charles Durning, Ray Charles, Dr. Joyce Brothers, and Hulk Hogan.
Griffith Wanted ‘Matlock’ As Not-Too-Serious Law Show
While “Matlock” definitely focused on legal matters, Andy Griffith was in no mood to have his show fall in line with other serious law shows.
He definitely didn’t want Ben Matlock to become another “Perry Mason,” the beloved TV show and character played by Raymond Burr.
“I let my imagination roam,” Griffith said according to an article on ME.tv. “I never worried about the law. They said that Raymond Burr did, but I knew that somebody else was there to look after the law part. I just wanted it to be entertaining within that framework.”
Griffith didn’t care about too many legal technicalities when it came to being a defense attorney. “Matlock” had a legal consultant ready to go, but Andy Griffith rarely listened to the advice. One area, though, in which Griffith did listen to the consultant about was setting up courtroom scenes.
“The only thing I learned from him is never to put my hands up on the judge’s table,” Griffith said.
Linda Purl Reveals Why She Left After 1 Season
If you remember seeing actress Linda Purl on “Matlock,” then you’ll know that she didn’t stay too long. Purl ended up leaving the show after just one season.
Why would someone like Purl, a talented actress in her own right, leave a show anchored by Andy Griffith, one of TV’s most endearing actors?
Purl was playing Charlene Matlock, Ben’s daughter, on the show. Yet the show’s focus was pretty much only on Matlock himself. This didn’t sit well with Purl.
“I’d hoped the father-daughter relationship would be developed and explored,” Linda Purl reportedly told People in 1987. “But it just didn’t turn out that way.”
But leaving “Matlock” didn’t end the career of Purl at all. She kept on acting in TV and stage roles as well as establishing her musical career, too. Charlene Matlock didn’t work out, but Purl has done alright since leaving the show.