‘The Andy Griffith Show’: Maps of Mayberry Behind Andy Taylor’s Desk Were of Various States

by Suzanne Halliburton
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The Andy Griffith Show never goes out of style. It just gathers new generations of fans. And some of them really pay attention to details.

Andy Griffith starred as Andy Taylor, the sheriff of the fictitious, one-stoplight town of Mayberry, N.C. He was a widower raising his son Opie (Ron Howard) with the help of Aunt Bee. His interactions with Barney Fife, his deputy, are timeless. And all the characters stood out — no one can forget Floyd the barber, Goober, Gomer, Otis the drunk, Helen and Thelma Lou.

Apparently, many decades later, the decor in the sheriff’s office also still stands out. Did you know the maps on the wall in the Andy Griffith Show are a thing on the internet?

A reporter at KTVB, a TV station in Boise, Idaho, explored the maps in May 2020. A map of Idaho showed up on the office wall. And that makes no sense, given that the show was based in North Carolina, which is on the other side of the country from Idaho.

“The shape of Idaho, it’s outline, is one of the most recognizable states in the union,” the KTVB reporter said. “It’s not as ridiculous as Maryland or West Virginia with their pokey parts. (And) it’s not as ho-hum as Wyoming or Colorado, which are kind of squarish. It’s Idaho’s perceptible pattern that fans of 60s television fans can appreciate it.”

Were Maps Just a Subtle Andy Griffith Show Joke?

So why did the Andy Griffith Show have an Idaho map? And the maps kept changing. There was a map of Cincinnati and one of California. Andy Taylor’s office also featured a map of Nevada. There also was a map showing parts of Montana.

The Idaho map was a bizarre detail of geography. According to KTVB, it first showed up in season one of the Andy Griffith Show. More specifically, it was episode 20, Andy Saves Barney’s Morale. In the episode, Andy leaves Barney in charge. And Barney started busting people for the most minor of charges. Andy needed to make the Mayberry residents appreciate his deputy to keep Barney from quitting. We’re not sure what Idaho had to do with the overall theme of the episode.

KTVB pointed out that in this episode of the Andy Griffith Show, the map was inverted.

Rick Just, an Idaho historian, told the station of the map: “It’s pretty big, you’d notice it. But since it’s upside down, people who weren’t familiar with Idaho, who might not be from Idaho, might not have noticed.”

Just speculated that the Andy Griffith Show props people probably were just playing around.

“They seem to delight in changing it around,” Just said. “They were always playing little tricks.”

Fans of the Andy Griffith Show noticed more details. When the series first started, the president on the police station wall was Woodrow Wilson. But in later seasons, the show did an update and added other presidents since Wilson. Plus, the phone book everyone used was from Mount Airy, N.C. That is a real town and Andy Griffith’s birthplace.

Or how about this detail? A license plate on one of the Andy Griffith Show cars was from some state called “Noth Capolnia.” Maybe it all was a joke to test how many fans really paid attention.

Outsider.com