‘The Andy Griffith Show’: Ron Howard Once Recalled When the Show First Used One of His Ideas

by Keeli Parkey
John Trevathian Upchurch Jr

Acclaimed director Ron Howard got his start in Hollywood playing Opie Taylor on “The Andy Griffith Show.”

And while this role gave him fame, it also allowed the young actor to learn about the entertainment business. As the show’s time on television went on, and as Howard began to grow up, he began to feel more comfortable in sharing his ideas with the people behind the show. Unsurprisingly, this took him some time. This, of course, is completely understandable.

According to MeTV.com, Howard was only 7 years old during the filming of the popular sitcom’s second season, after all. Even though he was only a youngster, he was brave enough to share his thoughts with the powers that be behind “The Andy Griffith Show.”

However, in the early days of the show, Ron Howard’s suggestions were dismissed. He was just the kid on set, after all.

“Every once in a while, I’d speak up, and no one ever really seemed to notice,” Howard reportedly told the Archive of American Television.

Things Changed for Ron Howard on ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ With One Episode

Even though he had been ignored, that did not keep the very young Ron Howard from making suggestions on the set of “The Andy Griffith Show.”

And, luckily, his persistence finally paid off.

Turns out, it was during the filming of the episode “Barney’s Replacement” that one of young Ron Howard’s suggestions was finally heard. The ear that heard it was none other than director Bob Sweeney. It was Sweeney who chose to listen to the youthful actor. However, Sweeney did more than just listen to Howard. The director chose to use the idea the future director shared in the episode. According to Howard, this was the very first time someone accepted an idea he had offered.

According to IMDb.com, the “Barney’s Replacement” episode of “The Andy Griffith Show” aired on Oct. 9, 1961. It was the second episode of the show’s second season. The plot is as follows: “When the State Attorney’s Office sends Andy a man to give practical lawman experience to, Barney believes Andy wants him to train a ‘replacement’ deputy.”

Howard reportedly said during the interview with the Archive of American Television that while filming the “Barney’s Replacement” episode he messed up.

Ron Howard Suggested Line Should Be Changed to Sound More Like a Kid

“I came in and was supposed to say my line and I sort of balked,” Howard reportedly said. As directors do, Bob Sweeney came over to Howard and asked him what was going on and how he felt.

The young Ron Howard was very honest with the director. “”I don’t think a kid my age would say it this way,” he reportedly said.

Instead of dismissing the young actor’s feelings, Sweeney took them to heart. And, he even asked Howard what he thought Opie Taylor would say. So, Howard gave an opinion. And, Sweeney accepted it and put it in the show.

“My recollection is I just stood there and started grinning,” Howard said. And, who can blame him?

Outsider.com