The Andy Griffith Show ran on CBS from October 3, 1960 to April 1, 1968 and starred Andy Griffith, Ron Howard, Don Knotts and Frances Bavier. The show was a huge success, never placing lower than seventh in the Nielsen ratings and winning six primetime Emmy Awards during its eight season run. It even spawned one spinoff, Gomer Pyle, and a reunion telemovie, Return to Mayberry, and after the eighth season ended was renamed Mayberry, RFD and continued on for another three seasons. There’s still a lot people don’t know about this ‘60s classic, so check out these 8 things you didn’t know about The Andy Griffith Show:
8. The Concept
The producer of The Danny Thomas Show, Sheldon Leonard, and Danny Thomas hired veteran comedy writer Arthur Stander to create a pilot for Andy Griffith that featured the actor as justice of the peace and newspaper editor in a small town. At the time, Griffith was interested in taking on a television role and the William Morris Agency believed that the actor’s rural background and previous rustic characterizations made him well suited to the part. On February 15, 1960, Griffith appeared on The Danny Thomas Show episode “Danny Meets Andy Griffith,” playing a fictional sheriff who arrests Danny Williams for running a stop sign. Future actors on The Andy Griffith Show, Frances Bavier and Ron Howard, appeared in the episode as townspeople Henrietta Perkins and Opie Taylor, and General Foods, sponsor of The Danny Thomas Show committed to the new show immediately. On October 3, 1960, at 9:30 pm, The Andy Griffith Show made its debut on CBS.