‘The Andy Griffith Show’: Here’s the Only Issue Director Richard Crenna Had With the Series

by Anna Dunn
Andy Griffith, US actor, and Ron Howard, US actor, pose beside a large firework, with a sign reading 'Careful on the 4th' in a publicity portrait issued for the US television series, 'The Andy Griffith Show', USA, circa 1963. The sitcom starred (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

There’s no doubt that audiences adored The Andy Griffith Show. But director Richard Crenna had one small problem. The front door on the set opened the wrong way.

During a Television Academy interview, the interviewer asked Crenna if he felt anxious to make the show better when he joined. For Crenna, simply doing a good job and doing the show justice was the most important task, not necessarily changing things up.

“The only contribution I made to the show was the front door of the house opened the wrong way for me,” he said.

“The door opened into the camera, and it had been doing that for three and a half years,” he continued. As a director, having a keen eye for camera logistics is crucial to doing an excellent job. For Crenna, the door hindered filming.

“So I said ‘change the door,'” He said. Apparently, people on the set of The Andy Griffith Show felt confused with his request. Crenna insisted that it would make the filming for the show easier. While it may seem like a small detail, that’s what many directors have an eye for – small details that make a big difference.

Richard Crenna Directed Multiple Episodes of ‘The Andy Griffith Show’

In the 1960s, Crenna, who was also an actor, directed multiple episodes of The Andy Griffith Show. His time on set allowed him to fix the door problem. He helped spearhead eight separate episodes, including Citizens Arrest, Opie and His Merry Men, Barney and the Cave Rescue, and Andy and Opie’s Pal.

Crenna’s acting career gave him a sharp insight as a director on The Andy Griffith Show. He played starring roles in films such as the first few Rambo films, Body Heat, Wait Until Dark, and The Flamingo Kid. Like many actors during that time, Crenna first saw success on the radio before making the transition to film and television.

He was born to a pharmacist and a hotel manager in Los Angeles, California, in 1926 and served in World War II before pursuing a career in acting once he returned. It was only later on in his life did he finally start branching out into directing.

On top of The Andy Griffith Show, Richard Crenna also directed The Real McCoys and Lou Grant. However, the majority of his credits lie in his acting, which he did for the majority of his life.