Andy Griffith may have been the name behind The Andy Griffith Show but he didn’t have complete creative power. While he usually agreed with the decisions the producers made, he wasn’t happy about the addition of one character.
In fact, it’s considered “the only fight” the Griffith and showrunner Sheldon Leonard ever had while working on the show.
“The only fight Sheldon and I ever had in my whole acquaintanceship with him was over a story idea. He wanted to introduce a character that I knew wasn’t going to work. And it didn’t.” Griffith said in an interview with the Television Academy Foundation in 1999.
That character was the Mayor of Mayberry.
“They wanted me to have a boss figure,” he explained “That’s a good idea for the lead to have a boss figure. Like Lucy’s boss figure was her husband. They wanted to introduce a mayor as the boss figure.”
“I told them before we started, ‘That can’t work because the mayor cannot be the boss to the sheriff,” he said “A sheriff is a county official. A mayor is just a little local town official. So, it didn’t work.”
Griffith wasn’t necessarily as upset at the idea as he was about the factual inaccuracy that came with it. The character never really made the splash that Leonard wanted, so they quietly wrote him out of the show.
‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Star Wasn’t A Huge Fan Of 80s And 90s Sitcoms
During the interview, Griffith also spoke out about not enjoying many of the new-age sitcoms. He didn’t even mince words with his long-time friend Don Knotts. Knotts had a major recurring role in the series as the landlord of the main characters.
“I thought Don, for instance, was awful on ‘Three’s Company’,” he said.
“I hardly watch any situation comedies now,” Griffith admitted. “I watch ‘Seinfeld’ and ‘The Golden Girls’…that’s about it.”
Why didn’t he watch any others? “I don’t think [they’re] funny. Blah. Most of the comedies [are] done in front of an audience.”
The Golden Girls was quite the treat. The show followed the lives of four older women living together. Seinfeld was also pure gold at the time. It followed the lives of four single friends living in New York City.
Anything airing in the 90s certainly wouldn’t be remotely similar to Griffith’s work on The Andy Griffith Show. The quaint comedy took place in an idyllic town. Even if the outside world was far from idyllic at the time, The Andy Griffith Show is something people watched to escape.
Griffith rarely fought with his people, but when he did, it sounds like he was fighting for what he felt would keep the integrity of the show alive.