‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Landed Ron Howard Only Because Actor’s Other Project Failed

by Will Shepard

There are often “What if?” questions asked about many things in life. But, one of the shows that doesn’t seem to get any more of those questions is The Andy Griffith Show.

Ron Howard played an integral part in the show for eight seasons. He played the lovable Opie Taylor for 239 episodes. However, before the filming got underway for Season One, Howard was almost not involved.

In an interview with On the Record in 1996, Andy Griffith talked about Ron Howard. In particular, he told a story about the actor deciding to join The Andy Griffith Show.

Ralph Emery asked Griffith about whose idea it was to add Any Taylor’s son to the show. This inspired a wonderful response from the lead actor in the iconic show.

“He was already tied to another show; I forget what it was. At five years old, [Ron Howard] had two shows that wanted him,” Griffith said with an eyebrow raise.

“He had been acting since I believe, [he was] four. The other show didn’t sell. So, we got him,” Andy Griffith remembered. “He was a wonderful child to work with. [Howard] was always prepared, always ready. He had the best stage parents that I’ve ever seen, wonderful people.”

Griffith then talked about how Ron Howard continued to have an incredible personality throughout his life. He said that everyone adores working with Howard even to this day.

In the end, Ron Howard seems to have made the right choice in joining The Andy Griffith Show. He proved crucial to the show, and it jump-started his career as an actor.

“The Andy Griffith Show” Star Eventually Turned Away From Acting to Pursue a Career as a Director in Hollywood

Even though his acting days as a child were exceptionally promising, Howard decided to become a director. He didn’t realize that his calling was as a director until well after The Andy Griffith Show.

In an interview with Dan Patrick, Howard talked about realizing he needed to move on from acting. In the 2015 interview, he said that he never had what it took to become a true star actor.

“As an actor, I don’t think that I ever had that sort of range, like a Bryan Cranston. There’s another level of talent, of creativity, and I don’t think that I ever [had that]. I think this is why I really wanted to be a director,” Howard shared with Patrick.

“As an actor, I was really solid. I was really dutiful, I was committed, and in certain instances, I could be good. But,” The Andy Griffith Show star said, “I didn’t think that I had that, sort of, X-factor.”

Howard mentioned, also, that he felt that he could bring more to the table as a director than as an actor. He said, however, that he feels that he has the ‘X-factor’ behind the lens of a camera.