Vintage TV: The Andy Griffith Show

I post this at the risk of being trite. After all, what else could possibly be written about The Andy Griffith Show? It’s not like I’m one of this show’s megafans, able to quote entire episodes. But I can tell you about the secret lyrics to the famous whistled theme. And I can tell you what happens to the rock Opie always throws at the end of the show’s opening.

The video’s a little grainy, but you can still make it out clearly: The rock hits the pond and the splash becomes…the Post Cereals logo!

In the 1950s and into the 1960s, most TV shows had a single sponsor, and the show’s actors often appeared in the sponsor’s commercials. Even though the single-sponsor practice had pretty much vanished by the end of the 1960s, General Foods was the show’s only sponsor during its entire 1960-1968 run. Andy and the gang sold not only Grape-Nuts, but Sanka and Jell-O too – all General Foods products.

Back to the show’s famous whistled theme. When I was a freshman in college, in the name of togetherness I guess, most of the guys on my dorm floor went to dinner together. When we were feeling silly on our way across campus to the dining hall, which was often, we whistled the theme from The Andy Griffith Show. It sure attracted attention! If we had known that the song had lyrics, I hope that we would have had the good sense to stick to whistling.


4 responses to “Vintage TV: The Andy Griffith Show”

  1. Bernie Kasper Avatar

    You nailed this one Jim, this is my favorite show of all time, followed by Seinfeld I think these shows actually had a great deal in common, these videos are wonderful thanks for sharing them !!

  2. Lone Primate Avatar

    I came to the Andy Griffith Show kind of late in history… in the early 80s in reruns out of Toronto and Buffalo. To me, Andy was Harry the moon-tripping junk man in Salvage 1, in the late 1970s. It was weird seeing him as a younger guy, even though I had some vague idea of the show from the cultural references we all grow up with. The show was compelling in a way because it seemed to characterize a lost moment, and reminded me of my first days in school, where walking to and from classes meant crossing a ‘wilderness’ only in the first throes of suburbanization… which were rapidly completed, though. It all vanished before my eyes, literally. Seeing the show nearly a decade later somehow brought it all back.

    It’s funny how the elements of the show had to be arranged back then. Andy had to be single so he could have romantic misadventures. But he had to have a family to demonstrate he was a grounded, responsible, and respectable, which meant Opie. But Opie implied a mother… so Andy had to be a widower. Couldn’t be divorced, God no! But how would a single guy take care of himself? How would he find his socks or eat anything more substantial than Ritz crackers or not be living in Stain Central by the end of his first week? Why, with the help of a spinster or widowed relative, of course! Enter Aunt Bea. I always wondered what would happen to her if Andy ever married. So many of these constraints were removed in the 70s… but that was part-and-parcel of what made The Andy Griffith Show so iconic of its time, probably in a way no one back in the 60s could have anticipated.

  3. Jim Avatar

    LP, you’re right, of course, about the ways they had to contrive the situation. Just think, three years after this show left the air we had All in the Family.

    I saw an interview with Andy Griffith and Don Knotts in which Andy said that the show was written as if it were set in the 1930s, despite all the 1960’s automobiles.

  4. Ryan Avatar

    I watch this show almost everyday. I love it! I did not know about Post being the shows main sponsor, though.
    Good stuff!

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