Andy Griffith

Actor / Comedian


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his two-and-a-half-hour Archive interview, Andy Griffith (1926-2012) talks about his breakout comedy debut, "What It Was, Was Football" and his first success on Broadway in "No Time for Sergeants." He recalls appearing on early television in U.S. Steel Hour, The Steve Allen Show, and Playhouse 90. He fondly remembers his long association with Sheldon Leonard, as well as the creation, production, and eight-season run of The Andy Griffith Show. He also speaks of many television movies and miniseries he appeared in, and his successful crime series Matlock. Michael Rosen conducted the interview on May 5, 1998 in Manteo, NC.

"The second episode was called 'Manhunt' and I knew by that episode that Don should be the comic and I should play straight for him. That made all the difference. Then Mayberry became a living town. We had all the comic characters that came on, and I played straight for them. So Mayberry really was the star of 'The Andy Griffith Show.'"

Highlights
Andy Griffith on the pilot for The Andy Griffith Show, which aired as an episode of The Danny Thomas Show
04:43
Andy Griffith on the legacy of The Andy Griffith Show, and on the characters of the show
02:37
Andy Griffith on a typical workweek on The Andy Griffith Show, and on working with one camera
04:54
Andy Griffith on appearing on The United States Steel Hour in "No Time for Sergeants", and on the first time he saw television
08:09
Andy Griffith on improving upon MatIock scripts
02:19
Andy Griffith on performing his early comedy act, including material about Shakespeare
03:43
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on his early interest in and success with music, and on his parents; on radio and movies he enjoyed while growing up
On getting into performing; on his first time in front of an audience, and on becoming a "class clown"; on appearing in plays in Roanoke, VA

Chapter 2

On appearing in the play "Egypt Land", and on developing his comedy act; on performing his early comedy act, including material about Shakespeare; on appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show, and on his feelings about New York City
On appearing on The United States Steel Hour in "No Time for Sergeants," and on the first time he saw television; on the production of "No Time for Sergeants" for The United States Steel Hour, and how it impacted his career

Chapter 3

On giving advice to Don Knotts; on starring in Elia Kazan's feature "A Face in the Crowd" and various other features; on appearing on various variety shows and on returning to Broadway in "Destry Rides Again"
On how The Andy Griffith Show came about with producers Danny Thomas and Sheldon Leonard, and on Don Knotts being cast as "Barney Fife"; on the pilot for The Andy Griffith Show, which aired as an episode of The Danny Thomas Show; on deciding to play straight man to Don Knotts, and on the input of producer Sheldon Leonard
On The Andy Griffith Show producer Aaron Ruben; on a typical workweek on The Andy Griffith Show, and on working with one camera; on the town of Mayberry on The Andy Griffith Show

Chapter 4

On Sheldon Leonard as producer of The Andy Griffith Show, and on the CBS rural purge of 1971; on the use of music on The Andy Griffith Show, and on where ideas for the show came from; on the morality of The Andy Griffith Show, and on Ron Howard as "Opie Taylor"
On The Andy Griffith Show spin-off Gomer Pyle - USMC, starring Jim Nabors; on the end of The Andy Griffith Show and the start of Mayberry RFD; on starring on various short-lived series and in the television movie Murder in Texas; on Return to Mayberry
On being cast on MatIock, and how television had changed since his first series; on the character of "Ben Matlock" on Matlock, and on the show moving to ABC; on his later music career

Chapter 5

On the legacy of The Andy Griffith Show, and on the characters of the show; on the then-best of television, and on the then-future of television; on various people with whom he worked in his career
Shows

Andy Griffith Show, The

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Andy Griffith on how The Andy Griffith Show came about with producers Danny Thomas and Sheldon Leonard, and on Don Knotts being cast as "Barney Fife"
04:57
Andy Griffith on the pilot for The Andy Griffith Show, which aired as an episode of The Danny Thomas Show, on deciding to play straight man to Don Knotts, and on the input of producer Sheldon Leonard
04:43
Andy Griffith on The Andy Griffith Show producer Aaron Ruben
01:47
Andy Griffith on a typical workweek on The Andy Griffith Show, and on working with one camera
04:54
Andy Griffith on the town of Mayberry on The Andy Griffith Show
01:36
Andy Griffith on Sheldon Leonard as producer of The Andy Griffith Show, and on the CBS rural purge of 1971
02:10
Andy Griffith on the use of music on The Andy Griffith Show and on where ideas for the show came from
03:14
Andy Griffith on the morality of The Andy Griffith Show and on Ron Howard as "Opie Taylor"
02:17
Andy Griffith on The Andy Griffith Show spin-off Gomer Pyle - USMC, starring Jim Nabors
01:23
Andy Griffith on the end of The Andy Griffith Show and the start of Mayberry RFD
01:33
Andy Griffith on the legacy of The Andy Griffith Show, and on the characters of the show
02:37

Danny Thomas Show, The aka Make Room for Daddy

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Andy Griffith on the pilot for The Andy Griffith Show, which aired as an episode of The Danny Thomas Show, on deciding to play straight man to Don Knotts, and on the input of producer Sheldon Leonard
04:43

Ed Sullivan Show, The aka Toast of the Town

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Andy Griffith on appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show, and on his feelings about New York City
04:18

Gomer Pyle - USMC

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Andy Griffith on The Andy Griffith Show spin-off Gomer Pyle - USMC, starring Jim Nabors
01:23

Matlock

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Andy Griffith on being cast in MatIock, and how television had changed since his first series
03:42
Andy Griffith on improving upon MatIock scripts
02:19
Andy Griffith on the character of "Ben Matlock" on Matlock, and on the show moving to ABC
03:39
Andy Griffith on the end of Matlock
00:27

Murder in Texas

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Andy Griffith on starring on various short-lived series and in the television movie Murder in Texas
02:37

Return to Mayberry

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Andy Griffith on Return to Mayberry
01:01

United States Steel Hour, The

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Andy Griffith on appearing on The United States Steel Hour in "No Time for Sergeants", and on the first time he saw television
08:09
Andy Griffith on the production of "No Time for Sergeants" for The United States Steel Hour, and how it impacted his career
05:31
Topics

Television Industry

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Andy Griffith on the then-best of television, and on the then-future of the television
01:49
Professions

Actor

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Andy Griffith on getting into performing
06:42

Performers

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Andy Griffith on getting into performing
06:42
Genres

Classic Anthology Series

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Andy Griffith on appearing on The United States Steel Hour in "No Time for Sergeants"
13:40

Comedy Series

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Andy Griffith on The Andy Griffith Show (Part 1)
18:57
Andy Griffith on The Andy Griffith Show (Part 2)
14:33

Legal Dramas

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Andy Griffith on starring on Matlock
10:09

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

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Andy Griffith on appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show, and on his feelings about New York City
04:17
People

Earle Hagen

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Andy Griffith on Earle Hagen
01:12

Ron Howard

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Andy Griffith on Ron Howard as "Opie Tayor" on The Andy Griffith Show
01:19

Elia Kazan

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Andy Griffith on starring in Elia Kazan's feature "A Face in the Crowd" and various other features
07:09

Don Knotts

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Andy Griffith on meeting Don Knotts
00:38
Andy Griffith on Don Knotts being cast as "Barney Fife" on The Andy Griffith Show
00:50

Sheldon Leonard

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Andy Griffith on how The Andy Griffith Show came about with producers Danny Thomas and Sheldon Leonard, and on Don Knotts being cast as "Barney Fife"
04:57
Andy Griffith on the pilot for The Andy Griffith Show, which aired as an episode of The Danny Thomas Show, on deciding to play straight man to Don Knotts, and on the input of producer Sheldon Leonard
04:43
Andy Griffith on Sheldon Leonard as producer of The Andy Griffith Show
01:16

Jim Nabors

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Andy Griffith on Jim Nabors
01:53

Aaron Ruben

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Andy Griffith on The Andy Griffith Show producer Aaron Ruben
01:47

Danny Thomas

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Andy Griffith on how The Andy Griffith Show came about with producers Danny Thomas and Sheldon Leonard, and on Don Knotts being cast as "Barney Fife"
04:57
Andy Griffith on Danny Thomas
00:37

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