Andy Griffith and Frances Bavier did not get along during the series. According to Griffith and Howard Morris, Bavier was very extremely sensitive and resented her role of Aunt Bee. In 1972, Griffith and Ron Howard paid her a visit at her home in Siler City, North Carolina but she turned them away. When Bavier was terminally ill in 1989, she contacted Griffith to say that she regretted that they did not get along better.
Andy Griffith originally told Don Knotts that he only wanted to do the show for five years. So they both signed five-year contracts. During the fifth season, Knotts began looking for other work. He then signed a five-year deal with Universal Pictures. Suddenly, Griffith decided to continue on with the series for three more years and offered Knotts a new contract. But Knotts was already bound by his contract with Universal and left the show.
Andy and Barney's squad car was a Ford Galaxie. The cars were supplied free of charge by a nearby Ford dealer, and whenever the newest model came out, it was sent to the studio and the old one was returned to the dealer who re-painted it and sold it. Altogether, there were about 10 different Ford Galaxies used throughout the run of the series.
When the series began, Andy and Barney were cousins in the first few episodes. This was a joke based on the stereotype that the only reason people in small towns get jobs in the local government is because they are related to someone and not based on the merits of their abilities. However, after a few well placed references of Andy and Barney's relation (usually to cap off a joke) in the first season, this idea was dropped and the back story of their relationship became simply that they were friends since childhood.
In two episodes of the second season, Andy Griffith's hand is heavily bandaged. Griffith had broken his hand by punching a wall. On the show, the bandage was explained by Sheriff Taylor saying he hurt his hand apprehending some criminals.
The character of Helen Crump was supposed to be a one-shot. That is why they gave the character an unpleasant sounding name. But the producers were so impressed with Aneta Corsaut's performance and her rapport with Andy Griffith that they made her a regular cast member.
During the opening credits as Andy and Opie walk down the path, Opie picks up a rock and throws it off camera right as Andy nods in a very distinct manner, before they start walking again. Years later, Andy Griffith watched this and realized he was unintentionally imitating a certain nod that his father would give him to show approval.
Throughout the series, there was a character named "Mister Schwamp" who would occasionally appear in episodes. He was a middle-aged man with a slumped demeanor and he had dark hair (which looked like a comb-over or a toupee). He could usually be found sitting on a park bench or in crowd scenes. He never had any lines. One of the characters (usually Andy or Barney) would acknowledge him with "Hello, Mister Schwamp." and he would smile and nod and that's all he would do. He also appeared in two episodes of the spin-off Gomer Pyle: USMC (1964). The actor who played him has yet to be identified.
Elinor Donahue decided not to return after the first season because she felt she had no on-screen chemistry with Andy Griffith. Griffith later admitted that it was his own fault because he had a hard time showing affection on-screen, and as a result, the relationship didn't appear real or believable. In contrast, Griffith had no problem showing affection toward Aneta Corsaut or her Helen Crump character. The two often flirted and went off together in private, even though Griffith was married at the time.
According to Andy Griffith, the show's original premise was to follow the story line set up in his appearance on Make Room for Daddy (1953). The premise was that Mayberry was so small that Andy Taylor was not only the sheriff, but the Justice of the Peace, the editor of the local newspaper, and the mayor. However when it came time to write the series, Andy decided that was too ridiculous so he asked that Andy Taylor's duties be confined to being the sheriff and the justice of the peace. However the "Justice of the Peace" task was used sparingly and usually only with out-of-town troublemakers.
The character of Warren Ferguson (played by Jack Burns) was brought in to replace Barney Fife after Don Knotts left the show. Warren was referred to on occasion as Floyd the barber's nephew. Replacing the classic character of Barney Fife proved to be an impossible task, however. "Warren Ferguson" did not catch on with the viewers, and he was written out of the series after only appearing in 11 episodes. There was no explanation in any episode story line for Warren's departure; he simply stopped appearing.
Howard McNear (Floyd the Barber) suffered a severe stroke and had trouble standing up. A special stool was created to make it appear that Floyd was standing, even though he was actually leaning or half sitting. On other episodes he was shown either sitting in the barber's chair inside his shop or on one of the chairs outside on the sidewalk.
The theme song for the series was titled "The Fishin' Hole". Lyrics for the song were written by Everett Sloane but the producers decided that whistling the tune set the tone for the show, so the words were dropped. You can listen to Andy Griffith singing "The Fishin' Hole" on YouTube. The song can also be purchased from iTunes.
Aunt Bee was originally from Morgantown, West Virginia. This is believed to be the town where Don Knotts was born and raised. Don Knotts even graduated from Morgantown's, West Virginia University. Tributes to Knotts include a statue and a street named in his honor.
When Don Knotts left the show, Jerry Van Dyke was considered for the part of a deputy who would have replaced Barney Fife, and even appears in a deputy's uniform in a fifth-season episode. However, Van Dyke chose instead to star in NBC's My Mother the Car (1965), and later said if he had to do it over again, he would have taken the deputy part instead.
Andy Griffith had been a successful stand-up comedian as well as an actor before beginning the show and he had fully expected to be the main funny character on it, and in the first few episodes even performed some of his stand-up routines, like his countrified versions of classic fairy tales. However, when Don Knotts became such a popular favorite as Deputy Barney Fife, Griffith decided for the good of the show to let Knotts be the main comic figure and let Sheriff Taylor react to him as his "straight man."
The show was shot on the same set as Atlanta from Gone with the Wind (1939), if you were to walk out of the courthouse and look to the right at the end of the street, you can see the old Atlanta train station in many episodes.
Songwriter Earle Hagen provided the whistling to the theme song in the show's opening-credits, which is titled "The Fishing Hole". Andy Griffith recorded a lyric version of the song, but it was never aired.
Sheriff Taylor did not routinely appear wearing a necktie or a sidearm. In several episodes, he wears a necktie or a sidearm in special circumstances, such as when a VIP visited Mayberry or if he had to track an escaped convict reported to be in the vicinity. He rarely was shown smoking, but did so in several episodes.
The character played by Hope Summers was originally named "Bertha Edwards" in the first season. In the second season, the character came to be known as "Clara" and she referred to her late husband as "Mr. Johnson". Later, she came to be known as "Clara Edwards".
While most residential scenes were filmed out at the eastern end of the 40 Acres lot in Culver City, where Andy's house sat next to the "Aunt Pittypat House" from Gone with the Wind (1939) fame, there was a mystery location that no one in the TAGS fan base could identify. Used extensively for Thelma Lou's residence, as well as various other incidental homes for minor characters, it was in fact a group of three small bungalow houses across Lillian Way from the Desilu Studios in Hollywood.
It's a long held belief that the fictional town of Mayberry is based on Andy Griffith's real birthplace and hometown of Mount Airy, North Carolina. However, Andy Griffith disputes this idea. Yet, in the opening scene of The Andy Griffith Show: A Black Day for Mayberry (1963), Barney picks up the phone book from the Sheriff's desk and begins to nervously flip through it. In several screen shots of Barney holding the phone book, you can plainly read "Mount Airy" on the front cover. It appears to be a genuine Mount Airy Telephone Directory posing as directory of the town of Mayberry.
The chart over the bookcase in the sheriff's office depicts the Presidents of the United States and information about them and was also a popular chart displayed in elementary school classrooms in the early 1960s.
Rance Howard, Ron Howard's father, appeared in several episodes including as North Carolina Governor's limo driver in which Barney gives him a parking ticket. Barney actually receives a personal visit from the Governor congratulating him for giving him (his limo) the ticket.
During the earlier seasons of the show, the opening credits of cast member names were verbally spoken by an announcer. In later seasons, the audio credits ceased and cast member names were visually displayed on the screen.
During most of the first season, there is beauty shop next door to Floyd's Barbershop with a door located in the common wall between them. The door is just to the left of the waiting chairs in the barbershop and had the words Beauty Shop printed on the glass. By the end of Season 1, there are no longer any words on the door. In Season 2 the beauty shop was replaced with a TV repair shop and the last time we see the door is The Andy Griffith Show: The Clubmen (1961). Six weeks later in The Andy Griffith Show: The Manicurist (1962), starring Barbara Eden, the door is gone. No one ever used this door or ever commented on it in any episodes.
The show debuted in October 1960, but the characters of Andy and Opie originally debuted on an episode of Danny Thomas' show Make Room for Daddy (1953) in February 1960 (Thomas' production company produced both shows). Frances Bavier, who later played Aunt Bee, was introduced as Harriet Perkins.
We are never really 100% certain of what Andy's street address is in the show, given the fact that the Taylor's never move to another house. In one episode, Aunt Bee tells someone that their address is 332 Maple Road and in another episode Barney tells a investigator that Andy's address is 24 Elm Street.
The entire series was shot on location, not on a sound stage like most comedies. All laughing you hear are laugh tracks added in post production. Andy Griffith stated he wanted it done this way to keep the actors focused on acting and not to be distracted, as well as to give "Mayberry" a real authentic feeling.
The opening credits were expanded slightly during the original network run. After Opie throws the rock into the lake the camera shot would change to a close-up of the water rippling, the logo of the sponsor's product appearing in the middle.
In early episodes, to the right of the cells above the glass-covered shelves is a small picture of President Woodrow Wilson and the presidents before him. Later, during most seasons, a different poster is there, also of the presidents, this time up to Dwight D. Eisenhower, and was published by Woman's Day Magazine in 1956.
In the earliest years of TAGS Andy employs many appalachian-southern colloquialisms and slang. For example, the episode in which Andy is to judge the Miss Mayberry pageant has him saying, "So I says to myself I says . . ." Also, when Andy is frustrated with his role as judge, he exclaims "Lawwwww," a condensed form of "Lorrrrd"! As his character, Andy Taylor, morphs into the straight man to play off Don Knott's Barney Fife, he drops many of these colorful adages and phrases. Yet, they never fall out of use because he's a genuine son of the south in real life, and in the television character. Even in his later hit show "Matlock," now and then you can hear the language of his appalachian-southern roots.
Frances Bavier (Aunt Bee) was a huge Studebaker automobile fan. At the time of her death, she owned a 1966 Daytona Studebaker. A year after her death, her Studebaker was sold for $20,000. In the AG show, she owned a black Ford Crown Victoria convertible that she purchased from Goober Pyle. In one episode, he also taught Aunt Bee how to drive her "new" car.
There is speculation on Barney Fife's middle name. In several episodes, Barney has been called or says his name is "Barney P. Fife" when in The Andy Griffith Show: A Plaque for Mayberry (1961), Andy says to Barney, "I thought your middle name was Oliver".
Barney Fife becomes intoxicated on five episodes. He drinks from the spiked water crock when the governor comes to shake his hand. He drinks mulberry squeezings when the Darlings wanted to sign a betrothal agreement between Opie and Andelina. He drinks hard cider waiting for a phone call about Mrs. Mendelbright's suitor. He drinks Jubal Foster's moonshine by mistake as Andy tries to pay for Jubal's burned barn. He drinks with Otis when trying to record why Otis fell in the jail prompting a lawsuit.
In the classic episode in which businessman Malcolm Tucker breaks down on the Sabbath in Mayberry, Opie is chastized by Andy for pulling horse hairs from the lapel of his suit and trading them with Johnny Paul Jason for a penny run over by a train. Pulling the horse hairs out damages the suit. How? According to Andy it makes the suit become "soft." Men's traditionally tailored suits have a stiff lining inside the lapels and chest which helps the front and lapels retain their shape and also gives a smooth look over the pectoral muscles. This lining fabric usually contains horsehair to make it stiff, yet flexible and able to be steamed into shape.
Barney becomes intoxicated trying to gain a confession from Otis as to how he really fell in the jail. In this episode Barney reveals the reason he becomes intoxicated so easily: "I guess I had an immediate liver reaction."
The unofficial pilot for this series actually aired on Danny Thomas' "Make Room for Daddy," in which Danny got stopped for a traffic violation in Mayberry. Andy Griffith played the same role there as in this show, but Frank Cady played the town drunk, with Frances Bavier showing up, not as Aunt Bee, but one of the townsfolk.
Also located on the Culver City 40 Acre Lot along with Mayberry and Gomer Pyle's "Camp Henderson" was the exterior set of "Stalag 13" from "Hogan's Heros." The 40 Acre Lot was demolished in 1976 and is now a business park.
The window in Otis' cell is moved around in 3 places. Weaver Christmas episode is in a center of back wall without glass; same spot for cousin Virgil episode, also without glass. When Andy and Barney try to wake Otis it is on the far right wall with glass. In most episodes there is no window.
Ron Howard 's father Rance, was the governor's limo driver, one of the T- men in the gold truck episode, and the Mayberry resident yelling at Barney in Andy's remodeled bedroom for mistaken bride Helen.
Barney's bullet is in his left pocket in almost every scene. Floyd even confesses the bullet is in the left on the three women prison escapees episode. However, in the episode of Barney preparing to foil a bank robbery, it is in his right.
During one of Barney's first crushes as a boy, he allows her, Vicki Harms, a taste of his snowcone. She bites off the end and sucks out all the syrup. It is then that Barney reveals his favorite flavor of snowcone: raspberry.
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
Howard Morris who played Ernest T. Bass was also George the television repairman, and the radio voice from the Mt. Pilot radio station. He interrupted the singing of Leonard Blush to announce that a convict had escaped. Howard Morris also directed many episodes.