‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Writer Went on to Create ‘Saved by the Bell’

by Brianna Vacca
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“Saved by the Bell” creator Sam Bobrick has an extensive repertoire outside of his hit NBC television comedy.

“The Andy Griffith Show” and “The Flintstones” are a few writing credits that Sam Bobrick hosts. As a staff writer for the hit television show “The Andy Griffith Show,” Bobrick popularized Barney Fife. Don Knotts portrays fictional character Barney Fife as Mayberry, North Carolina’s deputy sheriff. The Emmy-nominated writer and playwright penned episodes, “Barney’s Bloodhound,” and “Barney Fife, Realtor.” He also has writing credits on, The Return of Barney Fife,” “A Visit to Barney Fife,” and more.

Bobrick dabbled in romanticism as seen in his episode, “Barney and Thelma Lou, Phfftt.” He had a knack for writing for multiple genres and stylistics in his scripts. Over the course of his time as a staff writer, Bobrick co-wrote nineteen episodes of “The Andy Griffith Show” alongside Bill Idelson. The first episode he ever contributed to was “The Shoplifters” which won a Writers Guild Award.

In a two-and-a-half-hour interview with The Archive of American Television, Bobrick discussed “The Andy Griffith Show” and recalls that he was a staff writer for Sheldon Leonard originally. He attested that he also wrote on Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. Bobrick also has his name on The Flintstones, Get Smart, Hey, Landlord, Good Morning, World, and Bewitched.

From ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ to ‘Saved by the Bell’

“Saved by the Bell” and “The Andy Griffith Show” are wildly different productions. The former show aired from 1989-1993. Many spinoffs and TV movies have aired since. However, many similarities lie between the two. Many similar characteristic choosing. Barney Fife and Screech Powers are very similar characters. Both are scrawny, a bit timid and shy, and possess high-pitched voices. They both have distinguishable catchphrases too.

“Saved by the Bell” wasn’t always named that though. Bobrick created “Good Morning, Miss Bliss” which was picked up for a season by Disney Channel starring Hayley Mills, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, and Dustin Diamond. “Good Morning, Miss Bliss” stars a high school teacher and her students in John F. Kennedy Junior High School in Indiana. The show was then canceled, and picked up by NBC as “Saved by the Bell.” The setting moved to Southern California and the sunshine was all that it needed.

Original cast members Mario Lopez and Elizabeth Berkley’s spinoff is currently on NBCUniversal’s new streaming service Peacock.

Sam Bobrick’s Move To Broadway

After all of Sam Bobrick’s work on daytime television, Bobrick has quite the resume at Broadway as well. Over 40 plays are under Bobrick’s belt such as: “Norman, Is That You?,” “No Hard Feelings,” “Murder at the Howard Johnson’s,” “Wally’s Cafe,” and many more.

His play “The Psychic” made its world premiere at the Falcon Theatre and won an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America.

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