‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Opening Scene: Did Opie’s Toss Ever Make it Into the Water?

by Katie Maloney
(Photo by CBS via Getty Images)

Do you remember Opie’s stone toss during the opening sequence of The Andy Griffith Show?

Dedicated fans of The Andy Griffith Show can’t forget the beloved opening sequence of the show. During the scene, Andy (Andy Griffith) and Opie (Ron Howard) happily walk along a river carrying fishing poles. Opie spots a rock perfect for tossing. So, he winds up, makes the throw, and the stone plops into the water…or does it? Did Opie’s stone toss ever make it to the water? The answer is yes – but it took some help.

When the cast filmed the opening sequence, Howard was only 6 years old. With little kid arms and yet-to-be-developed hand-eye coordination, it was pretty tough for little Howard to throw far enough to make it into the water. After a few failed attempts, producers got creative. They placed a crew member in the bushes behind a tree, just out of sight of the camera. When Howard threw the rock, the director would yell to the crew member, and the crew member would toss a rock into the water. The team timed the actions so that it appears as if Howard’s throw reaches the water. They did a pretty good job coordinating the whole scene, but if you look closely, you’ll notice a bit of a lag between the time Howard throws the rock and the time the rock actually hits the water.

Nevertheless, the scene became iconic and has always been a favorite for fans of The Andy Griffith Show.

The father-son duo on The Andy Griffith show frequently visited the pond during the show. But Andy and Opie weren’t the only celebrities to visit that watering hole. In fact, the pond is actually a part of Franklin Canyon Park in Los Angeles. That’s right, Andy and Opie’s beloved fishing spot isn’t actually located in North Carolina where the town of Mayberry was set on The Andy Griffith Show. Franklin Canyon Park sits right above Studio City and the CBS Studio Center. So, a number of television shows and movies filmed at the park. A few of these projects include Wonder Woman, Star TrekBonanza, and Rifleman.

Despite their many visits to the pond, Ron Howard admitted during an interview that neither he nor Andy Griffith ever actually caught any fish.

“No, unless you count all of the fishing scenes where the prop man had to wade in. And put a catfish on the line,” said Howard. “That was Franklin Canyon and we were only allowed to put two fish a day in. Because it was actually the drinking water for Hollywood.”