‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Star Ron Howard Revealed Real-Life Story Behind His Favorite Episode

by Joe Rutland

Ron Howard has lots of episodes from “The Andy Griffith Show” to pick from for his favorite. One stands out because of a personal connection.

Howard, who played young Opie Taylor on the CBS sitcom opposite star Andy Griffith, talked about it in a 2013 interview with late talk-show host Larry King. He said a lot of people point toward one about Opie killing a bird with a slingshot. That’s not the one, though, Howard points to as his favorite.

“But I like one that was based on real-life,” he said. “My dad (actor Rance Howard) actually wrote the story for it. And it’s a thing where Andy is umpiring and he calls Opie out at home.

‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Star Says His Top Episode Revolves Around Situation With Father

“And Opie’s sure he was safe,” Howard said of “The Andy Griffith Show” episode. “And he’s shattered and pretty pissed off. Well, that had happened to me and my dad.”

“He called you out?” King asked.

“He called me out at home on a ballgame that was on my birthday,” Howard replied. “It was just a pickup game but I couldn’t believe that he called me out. My dad thought it was so hilarious that I was so upset about it. He took the idea to Andy and they made an episode about it.”

“I could never call my son out,” King replied.

Rance Howard, whose other son Clint also became an actor, died on Nov. 25, 2017, at 89 years old. Griffith died on July 3, 2012, at 86. King died on Jan. 23, 2021, at 87 years old.

Lead Actor Was Very Involved In All Aspects Of His Own Show

Andy Griffith wanted to make sure his show was done in a way that he wanted it presented. What does that mean? Was Griffith a cruel taskmaster on the set?

No. Ron Howard explains the star’s involvement in “The Andy Griffith Show” throughout the years.

He talks about Griffith’s hands-on work during a 2012 interview with “Entertainment Tonight.” Howard spoke with “ET” just after learning of Griffith’s death.

“Andy Griffith was not the producer of the show or the creator,” he said. “It wasn’t his original idea. He never wrote any episodes but, without a doubt, he was the architect. It was his. (And) it reflected his sensibility and it was sort of his voice.

“At work there week in and week out, I think the writers learned early on how to capture that,” Howard said. “Not just in Andy’s dialogue but in the attitude toward the characters.”

Griffith established himself as a star with film, stage, and TV appearances. His style of humor caught the ears and eyes of Americans. Through the show, Griffith managed to gain a following that now lasts past his death and into eternity.