‘The Andy Griffith Show’: Griffith Only Disagreed With the Show’s Creator Once, Here’s Why

by Clayton Edwards
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Andy Griffith did so much more than star in the classic show that bore his name. He was involved in just about every aspect of the creative process. In fact, he would make changes to the scripts for every week’s episode. Griffith made sure that every episode was to his liking. To Andy, the scripts were raw material. He and a handful of others would take those materials and craft them into fine TV gems. So, that is why you get the same energy from the show that you get from watching Andy speak in interviews. At the same time, the comedy of the show was akin to that of Griffith’s comedy albums. His fingerprints were all over the series. After all, it was the Andy Griffith Show. So, Andy had the final say on nearly everything.

There were very few times when Andy didn’t get the final say on a big change on The Andy Griffith Show. When that happened, things had a way of working themselves out. On the other hand, Andy was a very laid-back man. So, when showrunners would override him on something he would usually go along with it to see how it worked out.

However, Andy told The Archive of American Television that he and the show’s creator, Sheldon Leonard, had one argument. Leonard had made a creative decision that Andy didn’t agree with and he did his best to stick to his guns.

Why Griffith Disagreed with The Andy Griffith Show Creator

During the interview, Andy said that Sheldon Leonard would hold a week of story conferences at the end of every season of The Andy Griffith Show. Over the course of that week, Griffith, other showrunners, and writers would meet in Leonard’s office. Once there, they would pitch stories and other ideas for the upcoming season of the show.

Andy said that the only argument he had with Sheldon Leonard the whole time he knew him was over a story idea for The Andy Griffith Show. According to Griffith, the show’s creator wanted to introduce a character that Griffith knew wouldn’t work. Sheldon Leonard wanted to introduce a mayor. The mayor would be Andy’s boss.

Griffith said that the concept of the lead having a boss figure was a good idea. Andy wasn’t even against having a boss for his Andy Griffith Show character. He then pointed out Lucy and Ricky’s dynamic on I Love Lucy, saying that Ricky was basically Lucy’s boss figure. However, the idea that Leonard had wouldn’t work for one simple reason. The mayor couldn’t be the sheriff’s boss. After all, the mayor is a local official. Sheriff Taylor was a county official. So, the mayor would have no real say in his comings and goings.

In the end, Sheldon Leonard got his way. They introduced a mayor to The Andy Griffith Show. However, that character only lasted for a single season. Even then, he only made a few brief appearances, according to Griffith. That just goes to show that Andy knew what was best for his show.

Outsider.com