Andy Griffith’s First Hit May Have Had a Surprise Origin

by Chase Thomas
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The Andy Griffith Show was a classic of the 1960s. The star, Andy Griffith, was a hit as the lead character and sheriff in the small town of Mayberry. Well, did you know along with starring as an actor in Hollywood that Griffith was also an extremely talented musician?

His first hit may have had a surprising origin for those unfamiliar with the actor. The hit was called, “What It Was, Was Football” and it was about a man who was just trying to attend a meeting, but, instead, he gets pushed by a large crowd in the opposite direction towards a football game. He attends, but he does not make it through the whole game. The man doesn’t do it. He just can’t comprehend why people go and watch this sort of thing.

The track was a huge hit and sold a bunch of copies at the time. However, upon further study, the origin of the tale may have actually had a Yiddish origin? Griffith admitted that he was doing a sort of improvisation of an old vaudeville routine.

However, this song also closely resembled another interesting origin. The song was called “Getzel at a Football Game,” and was made in 1947 by Michel Rosenberg.

It is unlikely that Griffith ever heard this earlier version of the same sort of the tale, but is certainly interesting.

Andy Griffith and Don Knotts in Real Life

As perfect as Griffith and Knotts were on-screen as friends and colleagues on The Andy Griffith Show, that does not mean that is always the case off-screen. Time and time again, we have seen stars who have so much on-screen chemistry not have a bit of it off-screen. It’s just the way it is, unfortunately.

Griffith and Knotts were different, though.

In Andy De Vise’s book, Andy and Don, The Making of a Friendship and a Classic American TV Show, he writes a lot about their relationship and what made it all work. He said of the two, “Though their Mayberry partnership lasted only until 1965, the two remained best friends for life.”

That’s how it was for these two iconic Hollywood characters. They never missed a beat, even on-screen when the two reunited on the hit crime drama Matlock where Knotts guest-starred on a few different occasions. The duo even reenacted one of their iconic wrestling matches on the show.

You could just tell the two liked being around one another. They liked making the other laugh. In a way, it was kind of like Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill’s on-screen chemistry in the 21 Jump Street films. The two are just so different, but that is what makes them pop on-screen. He continued, “Andy was with Don in 2006 at his deathbed.” Friends until the end.

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