Did you know that Andy Griffith, Johnny Cash, and June Carter were co-stars?
The three famous entertainers starred in the true-crime CBS television film, Murder in Coweta County. The film was based on the 1976 book that was written about an actual 1948 murder. The movie debuted in 1983 to positive reviews from fans who were eager to see the A-listers work together.
Firstly, Andy Griffith portrayed John Wallace, a landowner who kills his tenant, Wilson Turner. John was the first man in Georgia history to be served the death sentence. He was convicted of the crime based on two Black men’s testimonies, a first at the time.
Secondly, Cash played Coweta County Sheriff Lamar Potts. Potts was able to have no felony in his county go unsolved. He lived in the county next to Wallace’s estate “The Kingdom” who believes he is above the law. However, once he accidentally crosses into Coweta County, where Potts takes him down.
Additionally, June Carter played a lawyer and political activist named Mayhayley Lancaster. She was involved in the other extremely high-profile murder case in Georgia of Leo Frank.
According to reports, John fired his tenant for “bootlegging moonshine.” Wilson stole two of his cows to retaliate. Wilson was briefly jailed for his crimes but was later released. But the entire situation was a setup as “The Kingdom” crew was waiting for him to be let go. They murdered him just inside Coweta County.
John was convicted of murder and later executed via the electric chair in 1950.
Andy Griffith Almost Walked Away From His Television Show
Andy Griffith admitted that at first, he only saw The Andy Griffith Show lasting two weeks. During his first day of filming, he was almost ready to call it quits.
“That day, I didn’t have much to say at all,” he recalled. “Artie Stander, Danny Thomas, and Sheldon Leonard yelled at one another all day. I asked Sheldon if I could talk to him at the end of the day and he walked me to the gate. I said, ‘If this is what television is, I don’t think I can handle it.'”
Leonard spoke with Griffith who convinced him that the main star creates the overall attitude and work environment. But things quickly turned upward after Don Knotts watched the first episode and wanted on the show. Griffith connected him with the showrunner who helped him create the character of Barney Fife who joined the second episode.
“The second episode was called ‘Manhunt’ and I knew by that episode that Don was the comic and I should play straight for him. That made all the difference,” he concluded.