‘The Andy Griffith Show’: Why Andy Wanted to Kick Off the Series With a Different Episode

by Will Shepard
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The Andy Griffith Show begins with Aunt Bee getting into Mayberry. Opie says that he doesn’t want his housekeeper to get married. Andy Taylor is officiating the wedding and tries to silence his son, but Opie just objects more.

So, that is the opening to the wonderful show and the first look at Sheriff Taylor as a single father. Immediately, viewers were introduced to this dynamic.

However, Andy Griffith didn’t want to start The Andy Griffith Show with this scene. In fact, he wanted to start the show with what was the second episode of the show, “The Manhunt.”

Because it was the second episode of the show, it may not be remembered as well. During this episode, Andy and Barney get to defend Mayberry from an escaped convict. Andy and Barney get to show off their styles in this episode, as well as their dynamic.

What is also incredibly evident in the episode is that the Sheriff is highly competent but laid-back. And almost more importantly, his partner Barney is hilarious and indispensable.

These two episodes are incredibly different from each other. The undertones in each of The Andy Griffith Show episodes prove similar points. Certainly, “The Manhunt” would have been a great premiere.

Andy Griffith Wanted ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ to Start With the Second Episode of Season One

This has been a point of contention for the show’s viewers over the years. In Daniel de Visé’s book, Andy and Don: The Making of a Friendship and Classic American TV Show, he argues that the show should have started with “The Manhunt.”

His assertion says that Don Knotts’ character would have had more power to pull viewers into the episode. Andy Griffith was likely saying the same thing to the producers of the show.

Barney is pictured in two very different ways in The Andy Griffith Show episodes. In the first episode, he is introduced to viewers as someone who wants to be taken seriously. However, in the second episode, Barney is a hilarious character who injects life into his surroundings.

Even though Andy Griffith wanted to start The Andy Griffith Show with “The Manhunt,” the producers had other ideas. However, the show would start every season with an episode about Opie growing up.

It might not have changed The Andy Griffith Show drastically, but it would have made the show feel different. Would the show have then started every season with Andy and Barney doing something ridiculous together?

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