First airing in 1960, “The Andy Griffith Show” has entertained audiences for generations. The sweet whistling of its theme song is instantly recognizable and iconic. But did you know the theme song has lyrics?
Yes, that’s 1960’s era Andy Griffith singing the lyrics to “Fishin’ Hole,” which was the theme song to the show. Lyrics to the song include, “Well, now, take down your fishin’ pole and meet me at The Fishin’ Hole/ We may not get a bite all day, but don’t you rush away/ What a great place to rest your bones and mighty fine for skippin’ stones.”
Andy Griffith Originally Sang the Theme Song
Andy Griffith was originally enlisted to sing the theme song, in addition to starring in and producing the show. The iconic melody to the song was written in less time than it takes someone to go to lunch. Earle Hagen and Herbert Spencer came together to write the melody in less than 15 minutes. Now, that’s some brainstorming session.
Meanwhile, Everett Sloan wrote the lyrics for the song. Sloan was something of a theme song aficionado, writing the themes for “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “I Spy,” and “The Mod Squad.”
As good as Griffith may be singing the lyrics, the theme song wouldn’t have been an endearing hit if not for a last-minute change. Producers on the show realized that the theme song needed a simpler touch. The lyrics were scrapped, and in their place, the iconic whistling was created.
“I realized what the show needed was a simple tune. So I spent all of 15 minutes writing it. I called my bass player and drummer, and we recorded it in a little studio in Hollywood. I whistled the tune myself,” Hagen said.
And that whistling has continued ever since, echoing out on TV screens over the decades. It continued when the show entered syndication and Andy Griffith left, welcoming viewers to Mayberry.