Dandy Andy

Today, I watched “The Andy Griffith Show” all day long. I had the day off, so I visited Mayberry.

I started with the very first episode, when Andy welcomes Aunt Bea to Mayberry. I watched a handful of others until it was time for bed. The last episode I watched was the one where Barney joins the choir. A classic.

Over the last twelve hours, I’ve seen it all. I watched the Mayberry Bank almost get robbed—twice. I’ve seen Barney muff things up with Thelma Lou. I tasted Aunt Bea’s god-awful pickles.

And just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, Andy taught Opie to stand up to a bully.

During my childhood, the Andy Griffith Show came on the local station every weekday at five o’clock. Our TV only got three channels, and two of the stations came in fuzzy.

So I watched Andy Griffith each afternoon until I’d practically memorized the dialogue, the closing credits, and even the commercials between segments.

Commercials like the one with Coach Bear Bryant advertising for South Central Bell. “Have you called your mama today?” Bear would say. “I sure wish I could call mine.”

And the advertisements which all featured some unfortunate kid named Mikey, eating Life cereal at gunpoint.

And of course, there was the commercial with “Mean” Joe Greene, blatantly tossing his sweaty football jersey into the face an innocent child who was just trying to offer him a Coca-Cola.

My childhood was not an easy one. After my father took his own life, I was a lonely boy who watched a lot of TV. I think I was trying to escape my own world by living inside a console television set. I enjoyed all the classic reruns.

“Bonanza,” “Gunsmoke,” “Twilight Zone,” “I Love Lucy,” “Gilligan’s Island,” “Batman,” and I pledged my eternal love to Barbara Eden. “The Beverly Hillbillies” were okay in a pinch. “Green Acres” was okay. And the “Partridge Family”? Gag me with an electric harpsichord.

But Andy was everything. He was my hero.

My family was in shambles. I was a kid with a proverbial black mark on his forehead after my father’s dramatic departure, a kid who seemed to only invoke pity from people who knew his story. And I always seemed to feel embarrassed.

But at five in the afternoon, I lived in a black-and-white town where life was good. Where Barney was my uncle, and Aunt Bea made fried chicken for Sunday dinner. Where a sheriff took me fishing and made me feel like I belonged.

Last year, I visited Andy Griffith’s hometown in Mount Airy, North Carolina. I kicked around town for a week and had a famous time.

I visited Andy’s old barber shop, I sat in a ‘62 Ford Galaxy squad car and chewed the fat with a few local tour guides. I even interviewed people who knew Andy personally.

I interviewed one such elderly couple. They were busy doing yard work during our conversation. The old woman wore a straw hat and leather gloves.

“Yeah, I knew Andy,” said the woman. “A great fella, sort of an outsider when he was growing up, ‘cause his family was poor. Lived over by the water tower, on Haymore Street.”

I visited Andy’s childhood house and left a postcard in the mailbox. I hiked along the river where he fished as a boy. I put a jar of dill pickles on Aunt Bea’s grave in Siler City.

And that Friday, I visited the Andy Griffith Museum for an interview with Betty Lynn, the actress who played Thelma Lou. Her assistant rolled her wheelchair into the room. Betty was elderly, but her hair was still persimmon red. I gave her a dozen pink roses.

“For me?” she said, smelling them. “Oh how marvelous.” And her voice sounded just like the same Thelma Lou I grew up with.

Then, the 94-year-old actress kissed me on the cheek and called me “handsome.”

Handsome. I kid you not.

“Andy was wonderful,” she told me. “Whenever I did scenes with him, it never felt like acting ‘cause he was the same on and off camera. That’s rare in showbusiness.”

She actually used the word “showbusiness.” Pinch me.

Later that day, I ate a pork chop sandwich at the Snappy Lunch, and I watched the sun go down over Mount Airy, sitting on my truck hood.

My heart has been in Mayberry since my early years. And it still is, I guess. I know it is only a make-believe town, but it is real to me. And to this day, I can’t enjoy modern television because nothing compares with it.

Reality TV is a joke. Cable news ain’t for me. I don’t care to watch primetime celebrities learn how to dance the Salsa for cash prizes. And I don’t mean to be critical here, but whoever came up with the premise behind “The Bachelor” has the emotional depth of chicken salad.

But I get Andy. And though I never knew him, he seems to understand me. And when I see that familiar jailhouse, or hear Barney Fife’s tenor voice, I am no longer that lonely child who once sat before a television and wondered if anyone would ever love him. But I am the friend of the local sheriff. And I matter to someone.

I love you, Andy Griffith. And I always will.

130 comments

  1. Helen De Prima - October 16, 2020 6:56 am

    I still love “visiting” Mayberry. And I actually have visited Siler City, NC. On purpose.

    Reply
  2. Jenn Barnett - October 16, 2020 9:08 am

    I feel exactly the same way, Sean. Watching Andy is therapy.. a “pause” button, a real way to “stop the world” when you want to get off this ride for a while. It feels like what my heart considers home.

    Reply
  3. Gary - October 16, 2020 9:53 am

    I love the old black and white television shows from the 50’s and 60’s. Especially The Andy Show.

    Reply
  4. Naomi - October 16, 2020 10:15 am

    Sean, I am older than you, and I started watching the Andy Griffith Show when it first came on TV. I think the first show was when Danny Thomas got pulled over in Mayberry for speeding. In case you didn’t know, Danny Thomas produced the Andy Griffith Show. I grew up poor also and TV was my only outlet (and Girl Scouts). I think that I was about 10 years old before my parents could afford a TV, and my younger brother and I stayed glued to it from the moment it came on in the morning. Not only did we like Andy Griffith and I Love Lucy, but we liked all of the westerns. I am a 76-year old female who still watches all of the westerns. My husband thinks that I’m nuts. He never liked the westerns. I wish that I had known that before we got married. I thought all men liked westerns. If he happens to see one that I am watching, all he does is point out everything that is wrong with it. I think there is something wrong with a man who doesn’t like westerns.

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  5. TrixC - October 16, 2020 10:25 am

    Awesome! I LOVED Andy, too! I watched many episodes into my adult years and enjoy the show to this day. I was up at Little River Canyon one day…at Ralph’s. You have to visit there…and enjoy the best burger you will ever eat. Ralph’s is a special place. I was gassing up the truck and Barney showed up. Really…BARNEY in his squad car. He had the walk, talk and looks of Barney. It was amazing to see him and get a picture together. As I understand it, there’s a “cruise in” monthly in Fort Payne and he shows up in his full costume, including the car. It’s worth a trip just to see him and how he portrays the best deputy anyone could have. As always, Sean..you make my day!

    Reply
  6. Gary - October 16, 2020 10:55 am

    Yeah , me too ……………

    Reply
  7. Dana Everhart - October 16, 2020 11:19 am

    Thank you for speaking my heart.

    Reply
  8. Nancy - October 16, 2020 11:25 am

    Oh, Sean, I adore Andy and the Mayberry family, too. I know every episode by heart and enjoy watching again and again. Andy and the gang are a precious escape from this convoluted world.

    Thank you for your stories. I start every morning with you. You are a blessing. I know your mama is very proud.

    Reply
  9. Beryl - October 16, 2020 11:48 am

    Classic television when kindness was the tenet. When Andy would talk Barney down from his hyperactive shenanigans. He always began his sentences with, “Now Barney…” When Opey would call his dad, “Pa.” When the bad guys were just a little off center, not murderous maniacs cranked up on meth. When Otis would spend the night sleeping off his latest drunk in a cell that looked like a comfortable bedroom behind bars. The keys that hung on a hook just outside the jail cell on a big metal ring. Flower boxes and fresh baked apple pies on window sills. A simpler time. When kindness was the preferred way of being. Deep breath. Kindness is still here. Look for it in the tree lined streets, neighbors who check in with neighbors, children riding their bikes, holding the door for someone, buying a stranger a cup of coffee, a night sky full of stars, a pumpkin patch, fog in a meadow, snow capped mountains, delta blues, a hammock of a soft summer day, oceans waves, birdsong, molasses cookies, laundry on the line…

    Reply
  10. Margaret E Odell - October 16, 2020 12:07 pm

    We all need a little more Mayberry these days!

    Reply
  11. MR Russell - October 16, 2020 12:15 pm

    Love me some Andy and Barney and Opie! My husband and I still watch it just about every day. No matter how many times I’ve watched a specific episode, Barney still cracks me up and our living room is filled with laughter as if it is the first time we’ve watched his antics. No other show on TV makes me laugh as much and no other show touches my heart as much. The lessons taught in those 30 minutes are both simple and profound. There will never be a better show on TV and I hope they never stop airing it.

    Reply
  12. Jim - October 16, 2020 12:18 pm

    I grew up in Siler city living in the mill village. The best time of my life.

    Reply
  13. Susan Mitchell - October 16, 2020 12:22 pm

    Thank you for this, we watch Andy every day!

    Reply
  14. Mickey deLaup - October 16, 2020 12:23 pm

    I completely agree!

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  15. Linnea Miles - October 16, 2020 12:29 pm

    Sean, You’re so right- there’s never been another show like Andy’s. I grew up in Surry County (where Mt. Airy is), and visited there often as a child because my daddy was a deputy to Sheriff Jim Taylor in the mid-60’s. And my dad looked a lot like Andy. Jim retired to Long Beach on OKI (where the NC Sheriff’s Association used to meet) and opened a clothing store whose sign advertised him as ” The Real Sheriff of Mayberry.” I lived in Mt.Airy for awhile as an adult, and we walked to Grace Moravian Church, wbere Andy played in the band, every Sunday. My son made a full length feature film largely based in Mt. Airy, with scenes at Andy’s childhood home on Haymore St. He’s an old soul, too, and left part of his heart in Mt. Airy. Thanks for the reminiscing, and you’ve made me hungry for a yummy, drippy pork chop sandwich at The Snappy Lunch.

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  16. E. Ann Padgett - October 16, 2020 12:31 pm

    What you wrote so eloquently is what I hoped to write about Sean’s essay on Andy and his family and friends. Your comments are better, so “bravo!” What you said is what I believe. Thank you.

    Reply
  17. Susan - October 16, 2020 12:32 pm

    I agree with you that Andy Griffith show is one of my favorites. I try to watch it everyday. The show brings a little joy into my life. Short story I am from Burlington North Carolina and as an associate pastor I worked for a few years at the church in Burlington where Andy Griffith led the choir. they even keep a copy of one of his canceled paychecks in the safe. I think the amount was $50. Not sure if that was for a week or a month. Blessings to you Sean and keep writing

    Reply
  18. Steve Winfield (Lifer) - October 16, 2020 12:45 pm

    Except that I had a brother, my childhood was just like Opie’s. Mom left when I was 5. We had a few “Aunt Bea’s” over the next 15 years. Dad never married again & was just perfect. Very loved & respected in our tiny town. I can’t help believing he must have used Andy as a model of how to be a single dad.

    Reply
  19. Lisa Williams - October 16, 2020 1:16 pm

    These are the kinds of posts that makes us all love you. Thank God you can write. 🥰

    Reply
  20. Penn Wells - October 16, 2020 1:19 pm

    Like some of your other commenters, I’m older than you are, but we have shared experiences. My father wasn’t dead, but he might as well have been. Most of us know the episodes by heart to the point we could probably repeat the dialogue unaided. Aunt Bea, Barney, Opie, Andy (of course), Helen, Thelma Lou and the mysterious Juanita down at the diner got me through many of life’s low points, not with just a laugh, but a recognition of… humanity. Floyd and the Mayor didn’t get enough airtime, but Ernest T Bass got just enough (a little Ernest T went a long way). And Otis? Oh my. Great memories . You’re good at that, you know? And Go Dawgs

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  21. MARK alan fendley - October 16, 2020 1:31 pm

    Sean, thanks for this. I am right with you. I’m 55, and I’ve never stopped watching. a salve that I’ve gone to for some healing all my life. One of my favorite episodes was Mr. McBeevee. I was glad to hear Andy tell Barney and Aunt Bee, “I do believe in Opie”. A lesson for every parent. And I really wanted Mr. McBeevee’s truck; I would still love to find one like it today. And I am glad to know that Opie had a kind of a reunion with Mr. McBeevee on “Happy Days”. Yes, i watched that too. I was always more Richie, myself….striving to be the Fonz.

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  22. Phil, aka Brown Marlin - October 16, 2020 1:40 pm

    Who can’t love Andy and the others in Mayberry? My kind of town. I caught No Time For Sergeants the other night on TCM. Another old Andy classic. Don Knotts had a bit part in it, and that may be when they became friends. I must admit that after Barney left the Andy Griffith Show, it just wasn’t the same; and then they went and colorized it. Like you, I didn’t grow up with color TV. Ah, well, times change – sigh.

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  23. Ruth Winans - October 16, 2020 1:50 pm

    Dear Sean,
    I’ve never written to you before but i’ve been reading your column for over 2 years. I am very glad you had the Andy Griffith Show to watch over the sad and lonely years of your childhood, and that you “knew” the characters in it as friends. I cannot imagine what the shock of your father’s suicide myst have felt like, or what it was like to have the stigma of being the son of a suicide victim. Because there is a stigma—even tho there shouldn’t be. While we were living in Texas my husband’s brother commited suicide. When i told some about it (a native Texan) she told me not to tell anybody else. She strongly implied that a stigma would attach to me. That was in 1980. Anyway, i appreciate your column, especially your kindness toward the less fortunate and kids who feel like outsiders and feel like they don’t belong, and never will. Suffering has given you a tender and loving heart. I wish you a gentle day today.

    Reply
  24. Lynn Thomas - October 16, 2020 2:11 pm

    🙂

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  25. Joyce Bacon - October 16, 2020 2:17 pm

    Me too Sean. Me too.

    Reply
  26. Retired Ol' Geezer - October 16, 2020 2:31 pm

    As usual, you’ve said it all. BTW, there’s a movie from some years back, “Pleasantville”. It’s about a TV show much like TAGS and Don Knotts is in it.

    Reply
  27. Lisa - October 16, 2020 2:33 pm

    I love your article. I own the box set of all the episodes so thankfully I can be transported back to a time when life was much simpler.
    Every night we watch Andy as we have dinner. No stress, no worries, just good laughs and great lessons to keep it simple and be a kind person.
    Thank you for sharing your experiences with all who read your article. Maybe there will be more new fans of a classic show.

    Reply
  28. pam glover - October 16, 2020 2:46 pm

    Love the Mayberry Family! I still watch Andy everyday! As some say, The Good ole days…

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  29. Jody - October 16, 2020 2:48 pm

    I feel the same way I use to watch the show on Netflix but they to it off I never tired of watching the Andy Griffth Show.

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  30. Daisy - October 16, 2020 2:54 pm

    I completely understand feeling so safe in my childhood watching those amazing families. I know that no family is perfect but it was so lovely visiting them. And I’m sure you are handsome 😉

    Reply
  31. Ron Alphin - October 16, 2020 3:02 pm

    In his later years, Andy Griffith lived in a house in a gated community, in Wilmington, NC. I was making sales calls with a salesman from a local lumber company. I asked him to drive past the house. To my surprise, Griffith was walking down his driveway wearing a robe and slippers, to get the newspaper. We stopped the car, l got out, and spoke a greeting to the former actor. He unloaded a barrage of angry words to me, littered with expletives. Then he demanded that we “move on,” before he called the police. Watching the Andy Griffith Show has never been the same since. TV and reality are vastly different things. And so are Andy Taylor and Andy Griffith. Sad, actually.

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  32. Karen - October 16, 2020 3:04 pm

    My life almost exactly. No cable for me. Andy, Beaver, Lucy reruns all day long. I know every line. I feel at peace and I think that’s who I really am. I can’t relate to the world today. It’s so harsh and cruel. You are my people💚

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  33. Jason Frye - October 16, 2020 3:06 pm

    This has to be one of the most beautifully written articles I have ever read in my life! I’m 45 years old so I wasnt born when the Andy Griffith show was on. But as we all know, the re runs are still being shown today. I have every episode on DVD, and still in love with it. My daddy raised me watching it and it was our bonding time. Now I have brought my son up watching it. He just turned 13 and it is his favorite show. I got such a good feeling reading this article! Thank you sir.

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  34. Elizabeth D Kline - October 16, 2020 3:08 pm

    You nailed it. I couldn’t have said it better myself. I still watch the Andy Griffith show too. It is some sanity and comfort away from the Coronavirus and the election ads.

    Reply
  35. Rita Smith - October 16, 2020 3:13 pm

    I loved everything you said and I feel the same way. I watch Andy every day and dont tire of it. I’m very thankful for it. Wish there really was a Mayberry.

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  36. julie - October 16, 2020 3:14 pm

    I still watch that show every single day it helps you step back away from everything bad that’s going on in our world and for those few hours it’s simple it’s relaxing and it feels like home

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  37. Joanne Duncan - October 16, 2020 3:18 pm

    I enjoy the Andy Griffith show as well- takes one back to simpler days. However, the reference to the Mean Joe Green Coke commercial was a little wrong. Mean Joe gave the kid his game jersey after the kid gave him his Coke after a game. Joe wasn’t being disrespectful.

    Reply
  38. Susan Kennedy - October 16, 2020 3:36 pm

    You beat everything, you know that? 😉

    Reply
  39. Ben Saye - October 16, 2020 3:38 pm

    Good read today! Andy is a classic and like you I’ve seen them all but, still enjoy watching. Todays tv is mainly full of trash and Andy is a great reprieve. Your assessment of the Bachelor is right on! Uncle Ben

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  40. James King - October 16, 2020 3:43 pm

    I used to wish there was a African American version of the Andy Griffith Show. I think it would still make a good show concept. Until then I’ll continue to travel to Mayberry everyday from 6PM – 8PM.

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  41. Michael Franklin - October 16, 2020 3:51 pm

    Great article. I was raised as a northern big city boy so Mayberry was like a foreign country to me.
    As a youngster I seldom watched TV. Their was plenty to do on the streets. I did go to college down south and had my first taste of southern country life. It was different.
    Mellow, friendly, simple and safe. I could have stayed but home is where the heart is.
    Now I’m a senior citizen and I get it.
    I still am not a fan of TV but when I do watch it, black and white shows and movies are for me. Truly great writing back then. No need to use swear words to get your point across or to make you laugh
    I am NOW a big fan of Andy Griffith and all those old shows. Seems I’m late to the game. Long live black and white TV!!!

    Reply
  42. Thomas - October 16, 2020 4:00 pm

    One by one as various actors from the show passed away I always felt as though I was losing a friend. That’s how special that wonderful show was and still on reruns.

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  43. Roy - October 16, 2020 4:00 pm

    Where is checkpoint chickie?

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  44. Gregg O Oreo - October 16, 2020 4:03 pm

    Dear Sean: FIRST– I’d be an oaf not to express my human sorrow that the man(whose son you are) ended his life and dramatically altered yours. R. I. P., Father. SECOND– a critic of the Andy Griffith Show gave it the highest compliment by dubbing it “….the “Citizen Cane” of television shows…” THIRD: have YOU noticed (because it’s so subtle & so well-crafted!) the high-quality musical score for EACH episode! And even LINCOLN Automobile this year featured with actor Matthew McCaunahey (sp?, sorry) the theme song subtlety warbled from the throat of a bird
    Lastly: I’m older than you but in my mid-teens: I too became an honorary citizen of Mayberry (i do believe my favorite complexity storyline was Opie meeting the non-threatening Mister Mac Bee-Bee). You know…we men who had no fathers are BLESSED to have had good ròle models as Andy because Griffith himself seems tp have been a TRULY decent real-life bloke. My hero was from illinois by way of Missouri. My hero went on to build his own “Mayberry” on 110 acres of ORANGE Groves in Anaheim California. Heaven gives orphan boys decent men to emulate. We’re both better adults and citizens for having had Andy Griffith and Walter Elias Disney. May you & i do both men proud as their living legacies…the boys who cherished our Surrogate Dads! Respectfully yours Gregg Oreo greggoreo@gmail.com

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  45. nebraskannie - October 16, 2020 4:13 pm

    Role models for kindness never get old, and neither does your writing.

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  46. Frayne Castellanos - October 16, 2020 4:22 pm

    After i saw the many previous comments. Well, they all rang out the same love as i did, for the Andy show… all i can say is, i ve watched every episode at least 5000 times. Never get tired of it! Especially now. God bless Andy Griffith and the people who developed and produced the show.”

    Reply
  47. Kenneth Young - October 16, 2020 4:23 pm

    And today’s television other than a football game I still turn in and I still watch The Andy Griffith Show to me it’s still the best TV show on TV I think you should watch the Green Acres again I thought Green Acres was pretty funny

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  48. James - October 16, 2020 4:27 pm

    I am 66 and grew up with Andy shows.its funny cause I grew up in a small town in Northern Calif.about 4,500 population.watched it all the time.we moved to north Carolina in 92 and we didn’t watch Andy as much.we visited Mt Airy a few times.we lived near Wilmington NC.and worked out of Screen Gems studio.on different shows and films.from Dawson’s Creek to I Know What You Did Last Summer.so we heard alot of Mattlock story’s I won’t get into.now I’m back in Southern Calif.We watch Andy all the time again.Weird 23 years in the Carolinas we watch Andy alittle.Back in Calif we watch all the time.

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  49. Linda - October 16, 2020 4:42 pm

    I to agree
    I watch Andy every evening, never get tired of Mayberry.

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  50. Earlene V Carr - October 16, 2020 4:49 pm

    I was saddened to read the experience of the poster that literally got cussed out by Andy Griffith upon meeting hun in his gated community. Just know that that is not his higher dimensional self who he now is. That person was just and old and tired human being that could find no rest or peace from his celebrity status and he would want for you to forgive him. Being very psychic, I feel his presence now near me as I write this, and he is saying that he is sorry and to please not remember him this way.

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  51. Debra - October 16, 2020 4:54 pm

    We pick up Mayberry almost daily. A delightful, if unrealistic, antidote for the stress of 2020.

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  52. Betty Lewin - October 16, 2020 5:03 pm

    Love the show and gave morals and values the young pople need!

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  53. Linda Moon - October 16, 2020 5:07 pm

    I’d watch “The Andy Griffith Show” all day long if my guy and the cats gave me a day off. When I was a child I watched lots of good TV while waiting for my single mom to get home from a long day’s work. Methinks watching good TV was a comfort zone for both of us, Sean. I just virtually kissed your cheek because I get Andy, I understand you, and you matter to me…a lot!

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  54. Mary Beth Biehler - October 16, 2020 5:13 pm

    I watch Andy Griffith every night. I find it especially comforting right now in a world of uncertainty.

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  55. Eileen Latini - October 16, 2020 5:19 pm

    I have always loved Andy and have watched the show since I was a child, and still watch it every night. It doesn’t matter how many times I have watched the episode! I even named my son after him!

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  56. AlaRedClayGirl - October 16, 2020 5:30 pm

    Andy & Barney – it just doesn’t get any better than that! Did you know that in the AT&T commercial with Paul “Bear” Bryant that it was not in the script for him to say “I sure wish I could call mine”? He just added that as they were filming. It sounded so good that they left it in.

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  57. Janet Woods - October 16, 2020 5:36 pm

    Well written l loved the show and all the people on the show as well. This article touched my heart.

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  58. allisvant - October 16, 2020 5:38 pm

    Loved Naomi’s comments; just a few years younger, but otherwise very similar experiences watching TV growing up; and kudo’s for sticking with a man that didn’t appreciate Westerns!

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  59. Barbara A Simmons - October 16, 2020 5:39 pm

    As a child who grew up in North Philly, l watched Andy Griffith. Now as an adult, the show is my escape from the reality of living in a society that hates me. My saving grace is that l grew up in a home and community that showed me love. I had a lot of Aunt Beas. I didn’t know l was hated. I thought that all of us who profess to love Jesus, felt the same about all humans. What a dummy l was.
    Thank you for sharing your humanity. As a former social worker at a suicide prevention center, l witnessed the pain of the survivors. We are blessed to have you still with us because your sensitivity is a gift to those fortunate to be exposed to it through your writings.
    May it be well with your soul.

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  60. Wanda - October 16, 2020 5:51 pm

    Sorry but you sound like kind of a jerk. If you think Mean Joe Green hit a kid in the face with his jersey,you saw a different commercial than everybody else in the country. And yes,reality shows are pretty awful,but no one is forcing you to watch them. Apparently you haven’t watched any of the award winning and critically acclaimed dramas and comedies on tv for the past few years. There is some great stuff out there,but you have to move past 1960 and into the modern world. But hey,you go ahead and live in your world where you are obviously happy. Delusional,but happy.

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  61. allisvant - October 16, 2020 5:54 pm

    I’ve been a fan for only 5 or 6 months; have yet to read a post that didn’t somehow touch me; I’ve mentioned before the similarities in our childhoods: my father died suddenly of a heart attack when I was 8; TV, my love for baseball, reading comic books, growing up in church, growing up in the country, etc.- all help me identify with you; but Andy was a must see every week; we bought a TV Guide every Fri. at the Colonial Store, but I didn’t need one to tell me what was coming on at almost any time of any day; and like you, Andy could have been the guy next door or down the road; Thank you for bringing back great memories of a time that, for the most part, sadly has gone away. Footnote – One of Ron Howard’s greatest lines in acting was one of his first – “Who stepped on Ma”.

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  62. Wanda - October 16, 2020 5:56 pm

    Thank you. As a Steeler fan,I find the writer’s comment disrespectful as well as a lie.

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  63. Cindy - October 16, 2020 6:09 pm

    Dear Sean…I happened to come across your column today…and I couldn’t agree more! I’m 76…and grew up with the Andy Griffith Show. Its still my “go to” show….especially now. My son recently took his life…so I decided to move back to my old hometown…to be closer to family. It’s got a very homey feel to it…and I always describe it as being “just like Mayberry”. This little town…and daily episodes of the Andy Griffith Show..have gotten me thru some hard times…and still does. Keep up the great writing!
    Cindy

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  64. Roseann Testa - October 16, 2020 6:42 pm

    I feel exactly the same way. We also visited My Airy and ate in the drug store and took a ride in the black and white.
    I wish there really was someplace like Mayberry, especially now….I still watch every night and get transported to Mayberry and for a half hour, I smile😊

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  65. ANDREW SMITH - October 16, 2020 6:47 pm

    I love the episode about the Englishman who rode into town on a bike, and he overheard Andy and Barney talking in private about how much of a nuisance he was. When Andy realized what he had done he went to look for the Englishman to reassure him that “Mayberrys Motto”is: all are welcome, all are loved. I cried when I saw that because, Nobody Gets Too Much Heaven Anymore.

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  66. teab123Tereasa - October 16, 2020 6:48 pm

    Dear Sean, what a great tribute to a town dear to my heart as well. I believe many folks have probably had a less than perfect childhood with memories too painful to relive. Thankfully we have Mayberry, and all the wonderful stores and people that will forever soothe and fill our hearts love.

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  67. Darlene rose - October 16, 2020 6:58 pm

    I grew up with Andy and Barney and everyone. I’m calm relaxed at peace watching it. Its an old friend that i know well i remember at 16 watching it every morning and early afternoon when there was no school.so sorry about your father, that’s tough. I have the whole series on DVD and love it. Take care

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  68. Lena Beckwith - October 16, 2020 7:03 pm

    I love the Andy and Barney Fifi..I enjoy all the old shows..Im not the one for these modern style..Im a simple person and loving it!!

    Reply
  69. William Hight - October 16, 2020 7:27 pm

    The greatest show ever on TV. I still watch it in reruns everyday.

    Reply
  70. brenda Norton - October 16, 2020 7:36 pm

    And this just made me love you more. I love the show and I love to visit Mayberry every night from my comfy couch. It never gets old and the lessons from the beloved show never get old. Blessings to you!!

    Reply
  71. Pat Tezak - October 16, 2020 7:42 pm

    I watch Andy everyday on TVLand. No matter what kind of day I have, I always feel better, clear mind, stress free after the shows. Wish NETFLIX would bring it back so I can binge watch when I have the time.

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  72. Thomas - October 16, 2020 7:44 pm

    Typical new-age idiot.

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  73. H. J. Patterson - October 16, 2020 8:09 pm

    I’m with you Sean, the Partridge Family was pretty lame but please don’t gag me with a harpsichord, electric or acoustical. The sound of that hideous instrument is enough to make you want to gag. And in reply to Wanda, I would seek another blogger that fits your taste. Maybe one of the Kardashians writes one, assuming they can write.

    Reply
  74. Laura Evans - October 16, 2020 8:11 pm

    I would love to know what station, channel or steaming venue you found The Andy Griffith show. They took it off Netflix

    Reply
  75. Birthday gal - October 16, 2020 8:22 pm

    Watching Andy right now

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  76. Jerome Vessichio - October 16, 2020 8:29 pm

    Sean the show means the same to me! I was fortunate however to have a great childhood. I still watch the show for comfort and would love to make changes, like keeping Walkers drug store on after year one. As I got older I realized there is no Mayberry, but I would love to live there! Just like that guy in year one who got the hometown newspaper from Mayberry! Lots of fun and good luck Sean!
    Jerry Vessichio

    Reply
  77. Ralph Womer - October 16, 2020 8:30 pm

    Barbara, why are you hated?

    Reply
  78. Elizabeth - October 16, 2020 8:42 pm

    I loved reading this! I love Andy too! A few years ago I broke my ankle and was laid up for a summer and I watched a LOT of Andy!

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  79. Teresa A. Doyen - October 16, 2020 8:56 pm

    Thanks so much for the memories. I still watch all the reruns. Today’s TV shows are mostly worthless, so I watch mostly ME TV. It has a lot of the older shows that I enjoyed as a child. I had the pleasure of living in North Carolina for about a year. I often visited Siler City. As my great granny would say, “The world has gone to help in a basket”. I would rather live in Mayberry with Andy and the gang than anywhere else in the world. Again, thank you. Excellent writing.

    Reply
  80. Gary Grotz - October 16, 2020 9:02 pm

    Agreed, also the mean Joe commercials were from the 70s, i watched it in the 60s as a kid and still one of my favorite shows to this day’

    Reply
  81. Barbara Dancel - October 16, 2020 9:05 pm

    I am so angry at Sundance channel for taking Andy Griffith off on Monday and Tuesday mornings. I watch it every day I can. It makes me think of the old Norman Rockwell pictures of family and friends. I can’t do much now because I’ve had terminal cancer for 4 years and keep holding on like an old penny. Lol. I never had a family like that. Only in my dreams but it’s nice to visit it every day. Thank you. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one that loves the show.

    Reply
  82. Mary Ann Gilbert - October 16, 2020 9:25 pm

    And we all love you, Sean Dietrich! I watch Andy every day, he is a constant in our home. Just as you are, thank you!

    Reply
  83. Steve E Rafferty - October 16, 2020 9:29 pm

    Yes indeed Sean. I lived in a small town like Mayberry when I was 12.I had a rough time making friends and a sense of belonging,so watching The Andy Griffith Show took me to a place of love and peace which got me through a sad time.Yes Mayberry is my Heaven.

    Reply
  84. Jane - October 16, 2020 9:40 pm

    Great memories. Thanks

    Reply
  85. Wanda Chappell - October 16, 2020 9:49 pm

    It’s sure nice to know that they’re lots of people in the world like me, who APPRECIATES the Andy Griffith show…i watch it daily…..i never miss a day…there’s just something about that simple way of life and after a hard day at work, the show just sooths me…I’m writing this as I’m watching Andy right now….Andy and the woman speeder….if life was only this simple…At least for an hour or 2 of Andy, i can perm pretend that it is!!

    Reply
  86. Eleanor - October 16, 2020 10:39 pm

    My 15 year old son found the show and loves to watch it. I love that he chose a show like this to enjoy.

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  87. Wanda - October 16, 2020 10:44 pm

    Hey H.J. Patterson,I don’t watch the Kardashians or any reality shows,but I also don’t lie on people that don’t deserve it such as Mr. Green. Unlike this,blogger, I appreciate that great television has happened in every decade not just his beloved segregated, nobody had any rights except straight white men 1960s. So you and he go on being happy in your little black and white( or maybe just white) world and I’ll be happy here where others live too and have lives worth exploring.

    Reply
  88. Michael Dooley - October 16, 2020 11:21 pm

    I always tried to get my girls to watch with me… my youngest now 18, back 10 years ago said.. ” Dad, cmon…you always like the GRAY shows”…I got to thinking, black and white make gray.!!!😃 Shes so smart!

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  89. IndyCobb - October 16, 2020 11:36 pm

    I agree 100% – now that we have grandchildren, everything Mayberry is new again! I love watching the show with them.

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  90. Bill Kaim - October 16, 2020 11:44 pm

    I cant say enough about that show simple times no phone distraction a few tv chanels i could go on and on . There is a certain following of this show a show with morals and lessons to be learned find that in a show today . Walt Disney movies that have adult humor really. Its hard to find a tv series with moral value . Nice write up about a time most of us wish we could live

    Reply
  91. David D. Parrish - October 16, 2020 11:47 pm

    I may be younger than some of the people making comments here. I am 59. I skipped over Andy Griffith as a child and teen. I just found it a few years ago in reruns and just can’t get enough of it. My wife can’t understand how I can enjoy watching the same shows over and over again. I just do. I agree that modern television is sorely lacking

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  92. Theresa Cross - October 16, 2020 11:48 pm

    I watch Andy Griffith everyday. It is on in the morning and the afternoon. Love it. Love Andy and all of them. Opie was such a cute kid. The comidies today do not compare.

    Reply
  93. Valerie Barcom - October 17, 2020 12:13 am

    I watch Andy and Barney every night and ebjoy today as much as i did as a child. Im just ss teligious anout it as i was then. I have such a hard time pulling myself away from the show iput my poor pet Betsy off for her evening mesl. Anyway, gotta go to store, surely i wont miss anything

    Reply
  94. Ron - October 17, 2020 12:36 am

    Growing up in Southern Pines, NC in the 1960s and early 70s it seemed like Mayberry. It’s probably different now.

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  95. jacqueline davy - October 17, 2020 12:52 am

    Andy Griffith was one Andy Griffith show was one of my favorite show I watched as a kid growing up I love Don knotts and Aunt Bee the lady that pays to plays her I don’t remember her name and of course little Opie and of course gomer Pyle that was one of my best best show I’d never forget Andy Griffith and then when he did Matlock that became my one of my best favorite shows I watched those reruns over and over and over again I can’t get enough of it take care

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  96. Kathy Latimer - October 17, 2020 12:54 am

    I agree Naomi!

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  97. Susie Murphy - October 17, 2020 1:05 am

    Every afternoon…..3pm to 4pm.

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  98. Helen O Sheppard - October 17, 2020 1:21 am

    I had no idea that anyone could love Andy, as much I loved him!

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  99. Kim - October 17, 2020 1:49 am

    This is my most favorite show of all times. I am still working from home during this pandemic and I watch it everyday while I’m working. It has a way of helping me forget about all the bad things going on in the world. I think everyone should have to watch this show and do a 1000 word report on the importance of life.

    Reply
  100. Dana - October 17, 2020 2:01 am

    ” Well, you & your Aunt Bee are having chicken, and I’m having crow “….& Ben telling Barney : “Well, you ought to know, you’re working for him” “Look, it’s Matt Dillion”, < and later, "Why don't you make one of your rum cakes?" SO many more, just ones coming to mind now….Sean, SO sorry about the loss of your father :(……And Thank you for an extra fine write/read….YAY!!….Those who can't appreciate it, need to move on with class, and reserve comment(s)…..Who needs MORE negativity (?!?!) PERIOD.

    Reply
  101. Dana - October 17, 2020 2:05 am

    I posted my comment(s) at 10:00 pm EST or 22:00 military…..Have NO ideas why post is showing : >>>. 2:01AM ???? Odd?!?!

    Reply
  102. NILSA BARRETO - October 17, 2020 2:17 am

    Beautiful! I watch Amdy Griffith everyday!! I’m a big fan because the whistling tune was heard on our family TV since I can remember!! Thank you for a beautiful article and for sharing my piece of my world!

    Reply
  103. DAVE C - October 17, 2020 3:28 am

    Great story. Although I never caught TAGS growing up, I watched many of the other shows you mentioned, I love TAGS now and plan to visit Mt Airy next year. I, too, grew up lonely..specifically, inside a dry cleaning shop, shortly after we left my dad who was incarcerated from the tome I turned 12. Perhaps I’ll run into you next fall in Mt Airy. dcarbonephd@msn.com

    Reply
  104. Debbie - October 17, 2020 3:36 am

    Love to watch the show and would love to live there.

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  105. Sha'nah Martin - October 17, 2020 3:52 am

    You deftly describe the childhood of many people. The Andy Griffin Show is still one of my favorites!

    Reply
  106. jstephenw - October 17, 2020 4:41 am

    Great piece Sean. You would be surprised how many 60 year olds you gave voice to in this piece (including me). Thank you. Hey to Jamie.

    Reply
  107. melindalemmon - October 17, 2020 5:08 am

    Best reply of the bunch, gal.

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  108. melindalemmon - October 17, 2020 5:11 am

    Wow

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  109. Michael Reese - October 17, 2020 6:26 am

    Sean Dietrich’! GOD HOW I LOVE YOUR BRAIN!!! michaelreeseminneapolismn@gmail.com

    Reply
  110. Marie Ward - October 17, 2020 8:13 am

    Gee Wanda getting yourself a little frothy aren’t you! And that snarky comment about black and white well aren’t you clever. Maybe you’re a little tired I’m sure pole vaulting over mouse turds can take it’s toll.

    Reply
  111. Mary Marshall - October 17, 2020 8:35 am

    I agree it just keeps you laughing I look at it everydayi catch it on Sundance from Wednesday to Saturday I wish the show was everydayi,it get you away from all the everyday life has for you on television

    Reply
  112. Rhonda Loumena - October 17, 2020 8:46 am

    Love the Andy Griffith show and love him on matlock too! I’m pretty sure Sean was being “tough in cheek” about mean Joe green. Made me laugh ot loud when I read that part because EVERYONE knows what that commercial was about, but the thought of a “sweaty shirt tossed on a poor kid just trying to give him a coke” cracked me up!” Thats what writers do, put another spin on things that we may never have thought of. In this instance for a chuckle or two. I think mean Joe would have chuckled at that too.

    Reply
  113. Robert M Brenner - October 17, 2020 9:35 am

    Boy does this column bring back memories! When I was in college every afternoon the TV room was standing room only to see the Andy Griffith show. We all loved this town and Andy’s friends. Had my first ever pork chop sandwich about 4-5 weeks ago.

    Thanks for the memories,
    Bob ❤️ 🥪

    Reply
  114. Rita Clark - October 17, 2020 11:57 am

    Great article! I love and watch The Andy Griffith show every day! During the day on TV Land and at night on METV. I know I have seen every episode 2 fold but like all others said….this is the best show on TV. Otis, Ernest T. Bass, the Darlings! In the words of Charlene Darling…”Oh Paw, can’t I just look at the purty man”

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  115. Sue Burns - October 17, 2020 2:15 pm

    Thank you Sean…What a gifted writer you are. I learned to lip read through watching Andy Griffith and the Golden girls. I watched them so much, I would turn off the sound and knew exactly
    what they were saying!

    Reply
  116. Morty I - October 17, 2020 2:53 pm

    I am from Philadelphia and now live in Ft Myers Fl. I would watch the same shows as Sean did, with my brothers and mom and dad, except my favorite was Ed Sullivan, American Bandstand and the rock n roll shows. I too felt like I could live in small town Mayberry. Every other year when I drive from Fl to Phila; we also stop in My Airy N.C.and walk the streets of “Mayberry”. It is so peaceful there and it brings back do many memories. Thank you for sharing. Now I sit back and think of the days that I was growing up and lying on the floor watching tv

    Reply
  117. Tracy Bellamy - October 17, 2020 3:13 pm

    Sean, I bring you greetings from Conway South Carolina near Myrtle Beach. I am a 56 year old black female, with 2 children, a high school and college education and a career that I have been connected to for 30 years. I say all of that because I feel that I am a pretty well rounded person and my life experiences are many. Every facet of my life knows that I am A Diehard Andy Griffith Show Fan. Truly this show will continue to be highly labeled among the classics.
    Who would have ever thought that humor could be bought out of the death/killing of a bird, that a Show could depict a sheriff as being not only the law, but a friend, or a created southern town that is not just known for its backwoods slapstick antics but a town of caring, talented citizens.
    I watch The Andy Griffith Show reruns daily. And on weekends when it’s hard to find, well I pull out my collection. I value my 5 season collection and each piece of paraphernalia that I have.
    I Thank Heaven for allowing me to have grown up and experience the town of Mayberry and its Citizens. Each and every episode is near and dear to my heart.
    Anyone in search of a series that you can share with your grandparents, your parents, your children, a friend of any age, or even your minister, just turn on your Set and find a rerun of The Andy Griffith Show. It’s not only Classic TV, but one where you don’t have to blush from the sexual promiscuity, or the obscene dialogue.
    Thank God for each and every member of this show.

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  118. Glynn Davis - October 17, 2020 4:17 pm

    Naomi I agree with you. Something wrong with a man who don’t like Westerns. Glad to see a woman who does. My wife thinks I’m nuts.

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  119. Ann Deberry - October 17, 2020 4:56 pm

    I watch Andy every night rerun and all. Please do not take it off. It is sensible. As stated eariier, I do not have to look at all the naked and half naked peoples. Plus I do not have to look at the women’s low cut and mini dresses neither the men low behind dropped down pants, neither sex , sex and sexual pictures. Please let me enjoy watching Andy a little while longer. Thank you for respecting my wishes. Look forward to seeing this show mom through Friday 7 pm to 8 pm.

    Reply
  120. Terry - October 17, 2020 5:17 pm

    I have visited mayberry n.c Andy’s home place and I also visited Aunt Bees grave site in Silver City I always watch the Andy Griffith show daily

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  121. Calesta A Tyson - October 17, 2020 6:17 pm

    I too love love Andy Griffith show. I watched it for many years, seen every episode multiple times. And even today watch 3 or 4 episodes every evening. Can’t get enough of all the characters especially Ernest T, Otis, The Darlings. It’s my all tmes favorite show. I also love watching Matlock

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  122. Beverly Wynn Bua - October 17, 2020 7:21 pm

    I love watching Andy too.. but here it’s at 5:00 in the morning! The older I get the earlier I wake up!!
    I enjoyed your story, but I think we interpreted the “Mean Joe Green”.. differently…. My husband was in the advertising business… & I remember he thought it was “genius”! The little kid give Joe a coke &!in return he gets a Tee shirt from an NFL legion….. Sweaty or not , that kids face expressed totally joy when he caught the shirt & said “Thanks, Mean Joe “ …….

    Reply
  123. Jami J Meister - October 17, 2020 9:12 pm

    That is exactly how I feel. The Andy Griffith show takes me away from this crazy world we live in. The crap we have on TV today is, is not worth turning on the television.

    Reply
  124. Freida - October 17, 2020 10:39 pm

    One of my favorite was Aunt Bee”S Birthday. That famous Bed Jacket.How Andy went out his way to make her happy.

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  125. Naomi Taylor - October 18, 2020 3:52 am

    My name is Naomi also and to this day I get excited when I hear that whistle.

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  126. Christine McLeod - October 18, 2020 1:45 pm

    It’s 9:38 am in Tellico Plains where l live now, a 62 year old caregiver . My clients when l have them love that show Andy Griffith. I with along all the comments absolutely agree with you. Love it love it love it ! That was an excellent article ! Been forwarding it to all my friends and family. My mom in the 60’s used to drive over Pilot mountain as a nurse to get to the hospital to work. Pilot mtn. is mentioned alot in the show . Great article ! Christine.

    Reply
  127. Tammy S. - October 19, 2020 4:00 am

    Sean, when you talk about Andy, and Mayberry, it feels like going home. I rank you right up there with Andy!!

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  128. meg widmer - October 20, 2020 3:11 pm

    I am of an age that I was watching Andy while still at home on the farm. We watched whenever we could….farms took you away from favorites back in the day…no recording capabilities then. Except for my father, who was ‘possessed’ by the farm work, we always tried to not miss any of the ‘Andy’ episodes. We were ‘addicted.’ Now I watch the reruns and remember, not just the story on screen, but I remember when my mom and sisters and I watched back in the day. Good memories all. I hope they never stop re-running them!!!

    Reply
  129. Virginia Williams - October 20, 2020 4:41 pm

    Andy is and always seem like family. Their was a security guard where I used to work and he looked just like Barney. We still watch the show every day. It never gets old.

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  130. Tamara Shaw - October 22, 2020 11:45 am

    What a beautiful and wonderful story. I feel so relieved, I thought it was only me who felt this way about the show. I grew up with both parents in my home. Not such a bad life but there were times that it could’ve been better but of course it could have been worse. Andy Griffith was always an escape for me. I think I actually cried the day he died for he’d been well “to me” like a part of my family since I could remember. I’ve visited Mt. Airy one time and plan to visit again some day in the near future. People often say this as kind of a cliche, but Andy Griffith will forever live in my ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

    Reply

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