‘The Andy Griffith Show’: Ron Howard Once Revealed Why He ‘Loved Going On Location’ To Film Show

by Joe Rutland

Imagine being a child actor and only working on indoor stages. Ron Howard would relish times “The Andy Griffith Show” went on location.

Howard, who played Opie Taylor on the famed CBS sitcom, talked about those times back in 1993 on “The Andy Griffith Show” Reunion.” Now he made his comments while some home movies made by his parents played on the TV screen.

“See, I just loved going on location because that whole place would become like a playground,” Howard said. “Most of the time we filmed on a stage but the days when we got to go out were always something I looked forward to (on the show).

‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Star Loved Having Time To Play, Visit Sets

“I’d get to ride my skateboard around, y’know, there I am playing with a yo-yo,” he said. “I’d ride my bike all over the place and visit some of the other sets. Inbetween times, I’d get to fool around. Practice a little baseball. It really was kind of like living in a small town and having the run of it.”

Among those featured in the home movies as Howard was talking include stars Andy Griffith, Don Knotts, Frances Bavier, and Aneta Corsaut.

One of the home movies shown in the special appears to have Howard, as a little older Opie, getting some fish from a stagehand. “The Andy Griffith Show” reshot its classic opening scene when the show transitioned into color television episodes.

You know the opening, right? Andy and Opie with their fishing poles, walking along the fishing hole, and Opie skipping a rock along the water. An earlier black-and-white version was done when the CBS sitcom first appeared. By the time “The Andy Griffith Show” entered color episodes, Howard was a teenager.

Main Star Went Beyond Five-Season Limit He’d Set For Himself

Obviously, Griffith loved seeing the show have success. But he felt like some of the small-town feel the show had when airing in black-and-white episodes got lost when moving to color. Griffith had planned to just do five seasons of the show. This affected Knotts, who went looking for work beyond the show. Knotts, who played Deputy Barney Fife, got a movie deal with Universal Pictures.

Now he wanted to stay with the show because he believed Griffith was just going to do five seasons. It surprised Knotts when Griffith decided to keep on going. Comedian Jack Burns replaced Knotts’ spot as Warren, but it was a complete miscast and Burns was let go halfway into his first season.

Knotts would make cameo appearances on the show, yet that magic which was so special for “The Andy Griffith Show” began slipping away. After eight seasons, the CBS sitcom called it quits. Howard, though, had those special memories on home movies thanks to his parents.