‘The Andy Griffith Show’: Ron Howard Explained if He Ever Felt Like the Cast and Crew Were ‘Phoning It In’

by Jon D. B.

Ron Howard has strong memories of The Andy Griffith Show, including working with some of the biggest names in television history.

Among those names, of course, are Andy Griffith himself and Don Knotts. In a revealing 2009 interview with the Director’s Guild of America, The Andy Griffith Show icon speaks to this directly. Here, he says that even though they were going through the “grind of making a weekly series,” it certainly didn’t feel like it.

Even though it was a quick schedule, it never felt like factory work,” Howard begins. “Later I’d sometimes do guest shots on other TV shows and it felt really different, like an assembly line.”

On The Andy Griffith Show, however, Howard says he never once “got the feeling anyone was phoning it in… Because Andy didn’t, ever.”

This is certainly in line with all we know of the late, great icon. A tremendously hard worker and kind man, Andy Griffith clearly set the tone for his titular show and all who made it a reality – including Ron Howard.

“It wasn’t until I was in film school that I realized that those episodes were artfully made… And thoughtfully made,” he continues of his breakout show. “You’d have been tarred and feathered and run off the lot if you’d ever mentioned a metaphor, or anything like aesthetic principles, but they were there… A very singular tone and point of view.”

‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Opened Ron Howard’s Eyes to Directing – Along with His Father

Though it may surprise non-fans of Ron Howard, the director comes from a lineage of Hollywood talent. His father, the late Rance Howard, featured in over 100 films and countless television series. The two even made their feature film debuts together when Ron was two-years-old for Frontier Woman in 1956.

Speaking further with the Director’s Guild of America, The Andy Griffith Show alum Ron Howard shares what it was like learning directing through the show itself alongside growing up in the business with his father.

“It just seeped into my consciousness, I guess,” Ron says of his introduction to directing. “But as a kid, even though I had been directed and I understood that there was someone called the director whom I’d interacted with, I don’t think I really understood it until I saw my father, Rance, directing a small Equity-waiver theater production in Los Angeles,” he reveals.

There, Ron “really saw [his father, Rance] working with actors and shaping the scenes” for the very first time. And it would change his life forever.

Indeed, it was at this point in his childhood that The Andy Griffith Show icon says he “began to put it together on a deeper level.”

Before it, “the director was just a person who told me where to stand,” Howard says. A fascinating statement to hear from one of the most prolific directors of a generation.