Fans in North Carolina remember Andy Griffith

FROM STAFF REPORTSJuly 3, 2012 

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  • The road to Mayberry and beyond: Andy Griffith 1926 Andy Griffith is born in Mount Airy on June 1. 1949 After rejecting his first two career choices of singing opera and being a Moravian preacher, young Andy graduates from the University of North Carolina with a degree in music. 1949-53 Andy dons tights to play Sir Walter Raleigh in "The Lost Colony" outdoor drama in Manteo. 1952 Andy and his first wife, Barbara, develop a traveling musical and comedy show. 1953 Andy immortalizes the "big orange" in his homage to college athletics, and "What it Was Was Football" becomes one of the most popular comedy monologues of all time. 1954 Andy appears on "The Ed Sullivan Show" and lands a role in the TV movie version of "No Time for Sergeants" 1955 "No Time For Sergeants" is produced on Broadway; Andy is nominated for a Tony Award. 1957 Andy garners critical acclaim for his disquieting portrayal of Lonesome Rhodes in Elia Kazan’s "A Face in the Crowd," a film many Mayberry fans still can’t watch all the way through. 1958 Andy accomplishes the actor’s hat trick and takes his "No Time For Sergeants" role to film. 1960 Andy earns another Tony nomination for his performance in "Destry Rides Again." 1960 "Name ain’t Clem. It’s Andy, Andy Taylor." With those seven sweet words, Andy Taylor is introduced to the world in the CBS sitcom "Make Room For Daddy." CBS gives Andy his own show and Mayberry comes to life. 1968 "The Andy Griffith Show’s" original run comes to an end (rated No. 1), and reruns of the show have played somewhere in the world ever since. 1974-1995 Andy tries to shake his benevolent Sheriff Andy image by taking on sinister roles in films and made-for-TV movies such as "Savages" (1974), "Deadly Game" (1977) and "Crime of Innocence" (1985). Andy stars in no fewer than six movies with the words "murder" or "kill" in the titles. "Murder in Texas" (1981) earned him an Emmy nomination, though "Demon Murder Case" and "Murder in Coweta County" (both 1983) are overlooked classics. In the ultimate act of Mayberry betrayal, Andy portrays a murderous grandfather in the TV movie "Gramps" (1995). Andy also has roles in several TV miniseries, including “Centennial,” “Roots: The Next Generation” and “Fatal Vision.” 1986-1994 Andy finds another persona his public feels comfortable with in grumbling, rumpled, hot dog-scarfing lawyer "Matlock" The show is filmed in North Carolina. 1996 Andy returns to wholesome goodness with a Grammy win for his gospel album "I Love to Tell the Story: 25 Timeless Hymns." 1999 Andy is nominated for another Grammy for his gospel album "Just As I Am." 2002 Andy achieves true immortality as a 10-mile stretch of U.S. 52 running through his hometown is named for him. 2004 Andy received a TV Land Legends Award in 2004, along with Don Knotts, Jim Nabors and other members of the "The Andy Griffith Show" cast. 2007 Andy gives a memorable performance in the indie movie "Waitress," playing Old Joe, the gruff owner of a diner who gives life advice to an unhappy waitress played by Keri Russell. 2009 In his final film, "Play the Game," Andy plays a widower who is taught dating tricks by his grandson. Staff writer Brooke Cain ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Long run: “The Andy Griffith Show” debuted on CBS on Oct. 3, 1960. The show ended Sept. 16, 1968. Leader of the pack: In the 1960s, CBS ran a string of rural-oriented comedies starting with “The Andy Griffith Show.” The genre included “Petticoat Junction,” “Green Acres” and “The Beverly Hillbillies.” Two were Mayberry spinoffs – “Gomer Pyle, USMC” and “Mayberry RFD.” Rural shows fell from favor in the 1970s, when ratings services began providing demographic breakdowns of viewers. Homespun humor attracted an older demographic at a time when advertisers were eager to reach younger people. Geography: Mayberry was a North Carolina town of uncertain location. For a good time, Mayberrians would go to Mount Pilot. Pilot Mountain is a landmark near Mount Airy, Griffith’s real-life hometown. Important business often required a trip to Raleigh. Barney’s favorite lodging there was “a corner room at the Y.” Aunt Bee: Frances Bavier loved Studebakers and her last car was a 1966 model (it can be seen in a few scenes in “Mayberry RFD”). After her retirement, she drove it around her adopted hometown of Siler City. After her death in 1989, it was auctioned to a fan for $20,000, even though the tires were flat and her legion of cats had spoiled the interior. The Charlotte Observer Best of Mayberry Asked in 2003 to pick his favorite episode, Andy Griffith said he couldn’t name just one, but offered his favorite six: “Convicts at Large” Barney and Floyd are taken hostage by three escapees from the Women’s Prison. “Opie the Birdman” Opie must care for baby birds after accidentally killing their mother with his slingshot. “Barney and the Choir” Tone-deaf Barney thinks he’s solo material in the choir. “Barney’s First Car” Barney buys a lemon from a con lady. “Manhunt” The state police try to leave Andy and Barney out of their efforts to capture and escaped convict. “The Darlings Are Coming” Charlene Darling takes a shine to Sheriff Taylor. First appearance of the bluegrass hill folk played by the Dillards. Other memorable episodes and fan favorites: “The Pickle Story” Aunt Bee cooks up kerosene cucumbers. “Aunt Bee the Warden” Otis finds the jail full and serves his 24-hour term at Andy’s house under the stern supervision of Aunt Bee, whom he calls “Bloody Mary” for her rehabilitation by hard labor. “Mr. McBeevee” Opie befriends a man who walks in the trees, but nobody believes him. “The Loaded Goat” A Mayberry goat eats dynamite. “Man in a Hurry” A businessman is in a hurry to get to Charlotte when his car breaks down in Mayberry on a Sunday and he adapts to life in the slow lane. “Citizen’s Arrest” Gomer arrests Barney. “Barney’s Sidecar” Barney starts a motorcycle patrol. The Charlotte Observer

People in Raleigh, the state and beyond are finding ways to remember actor Andy Griffith, who died Tuesday at the age of 86 at his home in Manteo.

Some went to Pullen Park, just west of downtown Raleigh near N.C. State, where a statue of Griffith and Ron Howard stands. The statue portrays them as Opie and Andy walking to their favorite fishing hole, from their days on "The Andy Griffith Show."

By early Tuesday afternoon, at least two people left tokens of affection near the statue.

An outpouring of support also was expected in Mount Airy, Griffith's hometown and the real-life location of the TV show's fictional Mayberry.

Fans and tourists flocked to the town's main drag Tuesday, which offers glimpses of Mayberry culture. Quick-moving entrepreneurs already were selling commemorative T-shirts as visitors explored museums and other cultural attractions.

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