Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.
It was a comfortable, almost a Tom Sawyer existence. It seemed to be a much simpler time. Yes, I was young.
It was the 50s.
Well, actually in this particular case, it was played in the innocent 60’s as if it was the 50’s.
He was like those wise, kind, and forgiving fathers of the 50’s. The time of Ike, who protected and provided for us, hiding the complexities and real dangers of life from us. TV fathers and mothers of the 50s and 60s. Providing and Protecting.
In 1960, Andy Griffith was given his own prime-time TV slot by CBS. He played a sheriff, an authority figure and a single dad, one of the original “sit-coms” but with usually a moral added as it was seen in the 50s. For comic relief, the bumbling role went to his friend and sidekick Don Knotts, who played deputy Barney Fife. Calling someone “Barney Fife” still resonates in American culture as a name for a klutzy, shakiest-gun-in-the-west kind of figure who always does the wrong thing with good intentions and usually executes a pratfall while doing so. Andy served as Knotts’ straight man. The Andy Griffith Show was set in a small-town, with plots about Opie (the widowed sheriff’s son, played by a cute little Ron Howard) breaking a street light and Barney locking himself in a cell accidentally while a bad guy got away. Nice family fun with simple morality plays. Fifty years later, it is still on, almost every day, on TV Land.
Andy Griffith died July 3, 2012.
Andy Samuel Griffith (June 1, 1926 – July 3, 2012) was an American actor, television producer, Grammy Award-winning Southern-gospel singer, and writer. A Tony Award nominee for two roles, he gained prominence in the starring role in director Elia Kazan’s film A Face in the Crowd (1957) before he became better known for his television roles, playing the lead characters in the 1960–1968 situation comedy, The Andy Griffith Show and in the 1986–1995 legal drama Matlock. [Wikipedia]
Raised in North Carolina, he briefly thought he might become a Baptist preacher. Listening to radio as he grew up, he naturally became interested in music, but soon became good at comedy.
Griffith’s early career was as a monologist, delivering long stories such as What it Was, Was Football, which is told from the point of view of a rural backwoodsman trying to figure out what was going on in a football game. Released as a single in 1953 the monologue was a hit for Griffith, reaching number nine on the charts in 1954.
He friendly, Southern hospitality demeanor, made everybody feel comfortable with him. Everybody could relate to him. He was down to earth. He was a Provider Guardian.
Providers take it upon themselves to insure the health and welfare of those in their care, but they are also the most sociable of all the Guardians, and thus are the great nurturers of social institutions such as schools, churches, social clubs, and civic groups. Providers are very likely more than ten percent of the population, and this is fortunate for the rest of us, because friendly social service is a key to their nature. Wherever they go, Providers happily give their time and energy to make sure that the needs of others are met, and that social functions are a success. [Please Understand Me II]
Ron Howard gave a tribute to Griffith.
“He was known for ending shows by looking at the audience and saying, ‘I appreciate it, and good night.’ Perhaps the greatest enduring lesson I learned from eight seasons playing Andy’s son Opie on the show was that he truly understood the meaning of those words, and he meant them, and there was value in that…
“He taught me a great deal through the examples he set and the approach to our work on the set. I learned about comedic timing… and the equal values of both focused rehearsal and, at particular moments, of total chaotic spontaneity.”
A time long ago. You can never go home, again — except in one’s imagination. Or, sometimes you can watch The Andy Griffith Show episodes.
Time it was, and what a time it was, it was
A time of innocence, a time of confidences
Long ago, it must be, I have a photograph
Preserve your memories; They’re all that’s left you.
Paul Simon, 1968
You know when you’re young you think you will always be. As you become more fragile, you reflect and you realize how much comfort can come from the past. Hymns can carry you into the future. — Andy Griffith