Several years ago Andy Griffith, star of stage and screen, passed away years after Marilyn Monroe with whom he shared the same birthdate. The North Carolina native debuted as a hick comedian from the wrong side of the tracks and Griffith parlayed this success into a film career with critical hits in A FACE IN THE CROWD and NO TIME FOR SERGEANTS. A 1960 cameo role as a southern sheriff in Danny Thomas' MAKE ROOM FOR DADDY led to creation of THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW, where his character of a rural Solomon in Mayberry NC played straight man to his friend Don Knotts' portrayal of the hapless deputy Barney Fife. Ronny Howard was cast as his son Opie and for many black Americans no white boy could be more white than Opie.
From 1961 to 1968 American sat in front of their TVs on Tuesday night to watch the rubes in action introduced by the song THE FISHIN' HOLE.
While THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW was filmed in black and white, not a single African-American character was shown in the series other than the rare background appearance of a passing Negro, for Mayberry was the South the way the South envisioned the South, if the South rose again and reinstated Dixie. There were no blacks on PETTICOAT JUNCTION, GREEN ACRES, or THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES, since these shows were aired at the height of the Civil Rights Movement and offered the comfort of security to a White America.
One episode of THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW had a vignette in which none of the townspeople could explain what The Emancipation Proclamation might be, then again segregation in the South meant that blacks and whites kept to their own areas thanks to such welcome signs as NIGGER DON'T LET THE SUN LET ON YOUR ASS IN MAYBERRY.
At least the producers never featured a KKK segment.
Unless a viewer reads between the lines.
No matter what THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW was a classic and spun off GOMER PYLE.
They were funny in their own way and the wrinklies loved Griffith in MATLOCK.
He continues to be missed by his people.
ps there were no blacks on THE JETSONS or THE FLINTSTONES either.
To view Barney Fife Explaining The Emancipation Proclamation please go to the following URL