‘The Andy Griffith Show’: Briscoe Darling Actor Denver Pyle Wished ‘Just Once’ He’d ‘Get the Girl’

by Chris Haney
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The Andy Griffith Show star Denver Pyle, who played Briscoe Darling on the hit show, always wished he’d “get the girl” just one time in his long Hollywood career. However, he was often typecast as the antagonist or a secondary character that never ended up with the leading lady.

Even as the pure and lovable Briscoe Darling on The Andy Griffith Show, Pyle couldn’t get the girl. One time, he confused Aunt Bee‘s kindness with affection on the episode titled “Briscoe Declares for Aunt Bee.” Although he serenaded Aunt Bee with all his heart, she still rejected his advances. It’s just one of many on-screen examples as to why Pyle wished he could be the protagonist at least once in his career.

“They talk about ‘overexposure’ among actors,” Pyle said, according to a MeTV article. “Me, if I don’t work, in a few weeks I get restless. I’m very good for half-hour TV films. Minute they see my face, people know my character — a slick heavy, a nasty heavy, a heavy heavy. One thing they know, I won’t get the girl. Just once I’d like to get the girl. But it’s been so long I’ve forgotten what I’d do anyway.”

Pyle had bit roles on countless TV shows for decades, and became a well-respected working actor during his day. He enjoyed his roles and his work within Hollywood. Additionally, he said he never received one bad review from critics. The actor joked that’s the advantage of never playing “the hero.”

“Not once in my life have I ever been rapped by a critic,” he explained. “If the thing bombs, it’s the hero’s fault. If it’s good, then they say, boy, he sure had good support from people like Denver Pyle.”

‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Star Taunted in High School

While Denver Pyle couldn’t seem to win on-screen, The Andy Griffith Show star Ron Howard couldn’t seem to win off of it. The Oscar-winning director once recalled his own experiences playing on his high school basketball team.

While speaking to the Chicago Tribune at an NBA basketball game in 2011, the Opie actor opened up about his time as a player. He loves the game of basketball, but being famous during grade school isn’t always a good thing.

Growing up as a child actor, it was hard for Howard to live a normal life at times. By high school, everyone knew him from his role as Opie on The Andy Griffith Show. As a teenager in Burbank, California, his television character came back to haunt him on the basketball court.

Howard played on his high school basketball team, but during many games, his opponents and their fans would taunt him. Whenever he went to the free-throw line, the other school’s band would play The Andy Griffith Show theme song. Additionally, opposing fans would yell out, “Miss it, Opie!” Unfortunately, it often worked.

“When I would walk to the line to shoot free throws, the opposing band would play the Andy Griffith theme song. And people would yell, ‘Miss it, Opie,’ which I pretty often did,” Ron Howard admitted to the Chicago Tribune.

He may have missed numerous free throws during his high school basketball career. Yet things turned out alright for Howard. He went on to star on the wildly popular Happy Days, and has had one of the most successful filmmaking careers of any director in the industry for four decades now.

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