‘The Andy Griffith Show’: Ron Howard Didn’t Exactly Get Along with His On-Screen Romances

by Chris Haney
(Photo by John Springer Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

When kids are young, they typically don’t appreciate the opposite sex. And that turned out to be the case for The Andy Griffith Show star Ron Howard and his on-screen romances during his early days of acting.

Fans of The Andy Griffith Show saw a young Ron Howard grow up on the classic TV show. The wholesome sitcom based in the quaint town of Mayberry became the world’s first introduction to the child star. In fact, the young actor was just six years old when the show first aired in 1960 and he played the role of Griffith’s son Opie.

Yet just because Ron Howard had an acting job in elementary school doesn’t mean he acted any different that any other child at that age. Actress Joy Ellison can attest to that. She had a reoccurring role on the classic sitcom as Mary Wiggins, which was also her first major role in Hollywood.

Ellison starred in the first season’s “Christmas Story” episode and went on to make appearances in five more. She once spoke about how great the show was for a kid to work on so early in their career.

“It was great,” Ellison said of working on The Andy Griffith Show. “It was a really warm, happy kind of set. And it was great for kids because it was such a family kind of feeling.”

However, as great as her on-set experience may have been, that doesn’t mean she and Howard became best friends.

“Even though Ron Howard and I were usually classmates or boyfriend-girlfriend, he and I were sort of at that age where boys and girls kind of hated each other. So we didn’t really get to hang out or get to be pals,” she added.

‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Wanted to Create an Opie Clothing Line

The Andy Griffith Show fans saw Ron Howard grow up through his character Opie. It’s one of those things where you feel like you get to know someone even without meeting them. His character’s popularity on the show even led to certain possibly lucrative endorsement deals that fans may not even know about.

Since Opie was most often seen wearing jeans and a t-shirt or button-down collar shirt, you wouldn’t think of him as a style icon. Nonetheless, the show wanted to strike a deal for an Opie clothing line, but his parents quickly shut that idea down.

“I wasn’t really a Hollywood kid too much,” Howard told the Washington Post in 1985. “Because I didn’t really know any other Hollywood kids. And my parents didn’t allow my time away from The Andy Griffith Show to be absorbed by promotional things.”

“Somebody wanted to do an Opie line of boys’ clothing. I guess it would have been a fairly lucrative thing, but they wanted me to travel to different department stores. And my parents just said no,” he added.