‘The Andy Griffith Show’: Griffith Once Said Mayberry Was a ‘Living Town, the ‘Real Star of the Show’

by Quentin Blount

Even though it is his name in the show’s title, Andy Griffith once said that he was not the “real star of the show.”

If you are a fan of classic television, then you most certainly remember The Andy Griffith Show. The CBS comedy series ran for a total of eight seasons, from 1960 until 1968. And at the center of the show, of course, was Andy Griffith. He played as Andy Taylor, the widowed sheriff of Mayberry, North Carolina. The fictional community consisted of about 2,000 people.

Other than Griffith, however, the show starred some other major characters as well. The one that probably comes to mind first for most people is Andy’s enthusiastic and good-hearted deputy, Barney Fife. Don Knotts was responsible for playing Fife and providing audiences with plenty of laughs. There was also Andy’s aunt and housekeeper, Bee Taylor (Frances Bavier), and Andy’s young song, Opie, who was played by Ron Howard.

‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Should Have Been Called ‘Mayberry’ to Start

According to Griffith himself, it was the relationships and exchanges with his co-stars, and all of the other eccentric townspeople of Mayberry, that made The Andy Griffith Show so popular. He says that he always enjoyed playing the straight-faced Andy Taylor.

“Mayberry became a living town,” Griffith said in a 2012 Foundations Interview. “We had all the comic characters that came on, I played straight for them.”

In fact, the North Carolina native said that one of the show’s producer thought they “misnamed the show” from the very beginning.

“Mayberry really was the star of the show,” Griffith admits. “[Producer] Sheldon [Leonard] actually said one time, ‘I think we misnamed this show. It should have been called Mayberry to start with.'”

You can watch the full three-minute interview with Griffith below:

So, you might be wondering how you can watch the iconic show today. Well, reruns of The Andy Griffith Show still air on TV Land, Me-TV, The CW, and Sundance TV. In addition, the complete series is available on DVD. It is also available on some streaming platforms such as Amazon Prime.

And if just watching the show is not enough, perhaps you should consider attending the annual Mayberry Days. You can find the festival — which is held each year to celebrate the sitcom — in Griffith’s hometown of Mount Airy, North Carolina.

Looking for more content on The Andy Griffith Show and other classic TV shows? Make sure to keep reading right here on Outsider.