The news of Andy Griffith’s passing this morning hit me as though I had lost a beloved relative. Lots of people must have felt the same way. Many are expressing their grief and gratitude to Andy through social media networks for being such a friendly and cherished presence in American life. A good friend of mine, Ken Henley, from Nashville, TN, emailed me the caricature above. Ken works for a large architectural firm in Nashville, TN. He stopped his work after hearing the news and sketched out his tribute that he titled “Goodbye Andy” and just wanted to share it.
Like most Baby-Boomers, I grew up watching The Andy Griffith Show. My hometown of Winchester, TN reminded me a lot of the fictitious small town setting of Mayberry, NC. I have watched every episode multiple times. I’m not sure exactly why. There was just something relaxing and comforting about seeing them over and over again. All of your problems could be laid to rest for 30 minutes each week.
The kind and considerate sheriff of “The Andy Griffith Show”, acted, and lived, by the Golden Rule. He made us all believe in Mayberry, and in the basic goodness of human nature.
L.A. Times TV Critic, Robert Lloyd writes, “The show’s main moral themes could be boiled down to ‘Don’t be too full of yourself, don’t judge a book by its cover’ and, as he says to an apparently stingy Opie, ‘It just ain’t nice to be selfish.’ (It turns out to be a case of Andy being too full of himself.) Your classic Golden Rule stuff.'”
Ron Howard’s shares one of the greatest life lessons he learned from working with Andy, “Respect. At every turn he demonstrated his honest respect for people and he never seemed to expect theirs in return, but wanted to earn it.”
“What made `The Andy Griffith Show’ work was Andy Griffith himself – the fact that he was of this dirt and had such deep respect for the people and places of his childhood.” Craig Fincannon, Fincannon & Associates, a casting agency in Wilmington, NC.
Martha Waggoner of the North Carolina Sun Journal, wrote, “Griffith’s Mayberry was a place where the sheriff didn’t carry a gun, the local drunk locked himself in jail and even the villains who passed through were changed by their stay. ‘The Andy Griffith Show,’ he created an endearing portrait of a place where few people grew up but many wished they did.”
Thank you Andy Griffith for the fatherly guidance you provided and for creating a hometown we all wished we had grown up in, a place full of characters who became our friends and family forever.