‘Matlock’: Andy Griffith Would Ask Costar’s Husband to Come to Studio to Jam on a Mandolin with Him

by Evan Reier
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Andy Griffith and his love for music is simply famous. The stories of him playing behind the scenes for shows like Matlock are legendary.

From the days of The Andy Griffith Show and all the way until the end of his life, Griffith and his guitar weren’t often far apart. The man’s love for art seemed to know no bounds.

One of his costars on Matlock contributed one of the many tales of his love for music. Nancy Stafford, who portrayed Michelle Thomas on the law-focused show, mentioned this in an interview with Fox News in early 2020.

When asked about one of her favorite memories of the late, great actor, Stafford described a specific moment with her husband.

Basically, it can be summed up with one sentence: when Andy Griffith asks you to jam, you get your butt up there.

“My husband is a wonderful musician,” Stafford said. “And Andy, I always felt music was his first love. A lot of times he would have his guitar on set and would play in between. Most of the time, he would saddle up next to me and say, ‘Call Larry and see if he can come down with his mandolin.’ So I would call Larry and he, of course, would run to the studio. And the two guys would just be jamming on the sidelines.”

Talk about a once-in-a-lifetime jam session.

Matlock Star Andy Griffith and His Guitar

Feet kicked up, guitar in hand and singing a tune is an image that many associated with Andy Griffith. Both in episodes and during breaks in shooting, the legend was often strumming.

However, what people may not realize is that the guitar featured in countless The Andy Griffith Show episodes belonged to the man himself. In an interview with 13WMAZ in 2012 before his death, Griffith went into detail on his favorite instrument.

“I still play that guitar,” Griffith said. “It’s a Martin D-18 with a clear pick guard. I’ve played this guitar on and off my TV shows for nearly 50 years.”

He also happened to provide a little bit of info on his close friend and costar Don Knotts. The show famously painted Barney Fife as a bumbling man and a terrible singer, but Griffith said his singing talent was exceptional.

“Whenever Don Knotts and I were waiting for lighting cues, we would sing hymns in harmony,”Griffith said. “The show depicted Barney as tone deaf, but Don has a beautiful tenor voice.”

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