Tuesday, July 3, 2012

In Memoriam: Andy Griffith

Inks on Bristol / 2009
Growing up in a rural southern household, broadcasts like reruns of The Andy Griffith Show were a staple around my extended family.  The opening theme of the classic sitcom is as embedded in my mind as any nursery rhyme sung sung to me as a small child.  The whimsical whistle of it all is calming, nostalgic and uplifting.  My father at one point even had a pair of parakeets who had committed the tune to memory as well (to the aggravation of anyone living around them for an extended period of time.)  This zany depiction of small town America was a fictional model of Griffith's own hometown and found it's winding country trail into the hearts of the American public.

Andy's blue collar Baptist upbringing formed a man with a unique blend of manly character and humor which found its way onto everyone's small screen at one point or another in nearly over the past half-century.  From beginning on stage with comedy on the Steve Allen and Ed Sullivan shows in the 1950's to a television career spanning decades after, the actor's smile has been broadcast to infinity.  This morning, the actor passed away at the age of 86 after a long career and several awards including a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. 

The portrait depicting Andy Griffith (and Don Knotts) was created for my Cult of Personality exhibit in 2009.  Entitled the "Bad Boys of Mayberry," this pop surrealist depiction of the television characters draws from an old Dirty Harry poster as a reference photo for Griffith  Yes, I know Andy didn't carry a weapon... this was a commentary of mine own device for the show.  What happens when things get a little colorful and serious in Mayberry and the guns have to come out?

"If you think and feel what you're supposed to think and feel hard enough, it'll come out through your eyes and the camera will see it."  -Andy Griffith


  1. There are SO MANY Andy Griffith memories for all of us, but mine are the movie Angel in my Pocket and the Christmas Mayberry classic where Ben was put in jail, but changed his ways because deep in his heart, he loved people and Christmas.

    George Vreeland Hill

  2. I love the movie No Time for Sergeants -- a very young Andy Griffith. Timeless and family friendly!

    1. You know I heard about this movie a lot the past couple of days now and I think I'll have to check it out. It seems to be a vital role in his acting career.

  3. Tim HortonJuly 04, 2012

    I watched Andy Griffith as a child and pictured Mayberry in my mind so fondly. Later I raised a child always using things from those shows to teach my daughter about honor, respect and love for people. One of the classics I cherish so much was Mr. McBeevee, and when Andy was troubled by the things his son said and did in relation to him, Barney questioned him asking "You don't believe in this Mr. McBeevee do you Andy?" Andy chose not to punish his son for what others said must be a lie or stretch of the imagination instead he said, "No, no I don't believe in Mr. McBeevee but I do believe in my son." How powerful that should be to all parents of any generation.
    My daughter now uses those old shows with her children. It was a show and he was a man who set the tone for what all Americans should strive to be. I think it was one of only two or maybe three shows that set the standard for all of America in how to live and relate to people. After all these years I still watch the old shows over and over never tiring of them and thinking, gosh if we could all be like that what a land we would be.
    Thank You Andy Griffith for the life and career you shared with us. Heaven has many rewards for you.

    1. I'm sure Andy appreciates those sentiments where he is and I'm honored you shared, Tim. Thank You.

  4. A late contribution, Brandt, having seen your comment on ThinkProgress, I believe.

    It is my understanding that Andy Griffith's role's reflected the essence of the man he was, at least the TV characters he portrayed. Naturally, Andy, Barnie, Aunt Bea, Opie, Otis and the others were family who dropped in once a week, and like all families, we sat around the kitchen table, chatting away, sharing and receiving the news, both good and bad, that I struggled with, too, though my Yankee town was 100 times larger than Mayberry.

    When released, I remember my mother taking us kids to see No Time For Sergeants. It seems I never stopped laughing. Gentle comedy and humor, in tune with the times. Words that describe the man, a humane, moderate Democrat. To this very day, myself in poor health, most nights re-runs of Matlock--his familiar, calming voice, and wisdom of choosing beautiful gals as cast-mates--close out my day.

    It seems Andy just kept on giving in his own gentle way. What a guy!!!

  5. It's never too late to share Ed! Thanks so much for posting!


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