WATCH: ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Star Perform With The Darlings for the First Time in Iconic 1963 Clip

by Joe Rutland
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You know that any episode of “The Andy Griffith Show” with an appearance from The Darlings in it is going to be extra special.

Well, one reason is we know there’s going to be some bluegrass music played at some point. Another one is that The Darlings were, for the most part, played by real bluegrass band The Dillards.

They made their first appearance on “The Andy Griffith Show” in 1963. Brothers Doug and Rodney Dillard, according to an article from Wide Open Country, provided the musical harmonies. Griffith, who really could play the guitar himself, would sometimes join The Darlings on a song.

‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Welcomes The Dillards For The First Time

As we said, back in 1963, The Darlings make their first appearance on the show in a third-season episode called “The Darlings Are Coming.” Denver Pyle, who would gain later fame as Uncle Jesse on the “Dukes of Hazzard,” plays father Briscoe Darling. Maggie Mancuso, who is billed as Margaret Ann Peterson, plays Charlene Darling.

Now The Dillards did not receive an on-screen credit separately, but brothers Doug and Rodney, as we mentioned earlier, were providing the musical backdrop.

Mitch Jayne and Dean Webb appeared as Mitch and Oether Darling, respectively, in the episode.

They are a family from the mountains coming into Mayberry. Sheriff Taylor isn’t too sure at first what’s going to happen and, of course, Deputy Barney Fife, played by Don Knotts, is in the middle of it all, too.

Let the music fire up, though, and you’re off and running with some bluegrass in your soul. Take a few minutes and listen to The Darlings cook up the good vibes in this scene from “The Andy Griffith Show.”

As you can tell from the clip, Charlene was a bit smitten with Andy. He does his best to dismiss her, um, wooing.

Yet the music is the real winner in this clip. “The Andy Griffith Show” gave The Dillards a wonderful platform to continue to bring bluegrass music into homes. Their episodes remain among the most popular and well-remembered of the show’s tenure on CBS.

Ron Howard: Griffith Wanted to Work Even Up Until His Dying Days

As much as this might be hard to believe, Andy Griffith still had a desire to work even as he was dying.

Now Griffith died on July 3, 2012, but weeks before Ron Howard, who played Opie on “The Andy Griffith Show,” said he had not talked with his TV father since 2011. Actually, it was Howard’s father Rance, who died in 2017, that had spoken to Griffith.

“At that point, which was just 6 or 8 weeks ago, you know Andy was very upbeat and, you know, interested in working and interested in projects,” Ron Howard said in an interview with Entertainment Tonight. “You know, I think he lived, you know, a rich, full life of optimism to the very end.”

So Griffith wasn’t the type to just retire and go away quietly. He provided a lot of happiness and laughter to millions of people.

Outsider.com