Despite the fact that Mayberry, North Carolina was a fictional place, every Andy Griffith fan knew the landscape like it was their own hometown. From Wally’s Filling Station to Myer’s Lake, the town offered a sense of nostalgia for a time when life moved slower. Of course, as realistic as Mayberry felt, in reality, it was just a bunch of set props.
In fact, after The Andy Griffith Show ended, producers used the set for other shows and films. Star Trek and Mission: Impossible in particular used the town’s setup for some shots. Then, in 1986, fans had the chance to see the town one last time in the reunion, Return to Mayberry. However, not many viewers knew at the time that this wasn’t the original town that they fell in love with.
Back in the 60s, when The Andy Griffith Show first aired, filming took place at the 40 Acres Studio Lot in Culver City, California. It wasn’t until the show became popular that this location came to fame. Sadly, ten years before Return to Mayberry, crews cleared the beloved town to make way for new sets and storylines. Of course, if producers had known back then that they would be shooting a reunion special, the set would likely have stood in its original place. Because of the demolition though, The Andy Griffith Show had to recreate the entire set in time for the new project.
To the untrained eye, the differences between the two versions of Mayberry are nearly impossible to detect. However, true-blue fanatics of The Andy Griffith Show can easily pinpoint the obscure changes. The difference is especially apparent during the closing shot of Return to Mayberry when Andy and Barney raise an American flag.
‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Town Was Based on Mount Airy, North Carolina
Despite the town’s fictional name, the setting of The Andy Griffith Show was actually based on Andy Griffith’s real hometown, Mount Airy, North Carolina. Since the show’s end, the town has boasted its claim to fame with pride, honoring both the show and Andy Griffith’s contribution to American television and acting. From museums to statues, Griffith’s name has covered the whole town.
Some of the establishments in the show still stand today, too, including Snappy Lunch.
“No Mayberry visit would be complete without a fried pork chop sandwich from Snappy Lunch,” the town shared on its official website. “Then-student Andy Griffith frequented this quaint diner for a quick lunch before local schools had cafeterias on campus.”
One of the town’s largest attractions is Griffith’s home, where he lived with his parents until graduating high school. Visitors can even spend the night there and escape into the 1960s with Sheriff Barney and Gomer Pyle.