Peter Graves narrates this account of the life and career of Andrew Samuel Griffith, from his 1926 birth, "on the poor side of town" in Mount Airy, North Carolina, through a lengthy career featuring his abilities with music, humor and drama on stage, screen, radio and records. But a new medium unknown during his formative years would bring Andy Griffith his greatest fame: television.
This episode follows the path of the child whose parents made his crib in a bureau drawer through his education, at Mount Airy High School, at which he enrolls in its Drama program and learns his musical instruments from Reverend Ed Mickey at Grace Moravian Church, before enrolling at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, to major in Music, before teaching at Goldsboro High School in Goldsboro, North Carolina.
Andy courts the star of the UNC stage, Barbara Edwards, and after their marriage, travel to Broadway, along with with friend R.G. Armstrong, at which Andy plays NYC nightclubs, as the three find acting roles difficult to obtain.
But in 1954, after hearing a recorded performances of Andy's homespun act on radio, Universal Studio offers Andy a five-picture contract, and so the three travel to Hollywood, where Andy receives modest attention as a talented up-and-coming discovery of Director Elia Kazan.
From here, Andy's popularity soars to new heights from his appearances on television programs, before he receives his first starring role in a series.
After his first series, Andy goes on to reinvent his acting persona, from Comedy to Drama, and back to his Musical roots, recording a Gospel album at the age of 70, after starring in a second hit television series.
Andy's marriages are with Barbara Edwards (1949–72), Solica Cassuto (1975–81), and Cindi Knight (1983–present). With Barbara, he adopts two children.
Theatre performances include "The Lost Colony" (1944-51), "No Time for Sergeants" (1955-57) and "Destry Rides Again" (1959-60).
Interview Guests for this episode consist of Lorraine Beasley Gilley (Cousin), Patricia Neal (Actress), R.G. Armstrong (Actor), Don Knots (Actor), Dan Roebuck (Actor), Ron Howard (Actor), Roddy McDowall (Actor), and Emmett Forrest (Childhood friend).
Archive footage includes Andy Griffith, Steve Allen, Walter Matthau, Danny Thomas, Sheldon Leonard, Frances Bavier, Howard McNear, Betty Lynn, Jim Nabors, Karl Malden, Doran Clark, and others not identified.
Film and Television Clips include "Birth of the Blues" (1941) with Bing Crosby, as well as a screen glimpse of Andy Griffith through the years, in scenes from "The Steve Allen Show (Episode #2.32)" (1957), "The United States Steel Hour: No Time for Sergeants" (1955), "A Face in the Crowd" (1957), "No Time for Sergeants" (1958 Film), "Onionhead" (1958), "Make Room for Daddy: Danny Meets Andy Griffith" (1960), "The Andy Griffith Show" (1960-68), "Angel in My Pocket" (1969), "Headmaster" (1970 Series), "Don Knotts' Nice Clean, Decent, Wholesome Hour" (1970), "The Mod Squad: Big George" (1972), "Go Ask Alice" (1973), "Matlock" (1986-95), plus a ceremony with Andy's receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award and induction into the TV Hall of Fame, in addition to Andy's endorsement as spokesperson in a cracker commercial.
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