Tuesday, July 3, 2012

RIP Andy Griffith

Family legend says that I was born during an episode of The Andy Griffith Show. Whether or not that claim can be documented, I am proud to be a member of TAGS generation! How much influence has TAGS had in my life? The Andy Griffith Show Rerun Watchers Club was established in the same dormitory where I lived during my time at Vanderbilt University. And when the Andy Griffith Show trivia board game came out, either my father or I ran the categories, giving the other contestants no chance. To this day when reruns come on, we first determine whether the episode is in black and white or color. Then we compete to be the first to figure out which episode it is. Only a handful of color episodes are worth watching, usually the ones featuring the return of Don Knotts as Barney Fife -- although I am partial to the “Spaghetti Dinner” - the secret ingredient is... (whisper) oregano

The black and white episodes are far superior, with their life lessons and eccentric characters. Favorite episodes include the Pickle Story, The Loaded Goat, Three Wishes for Opie, and Dogs, Dogs, Dogs (featuring the classic line, "Boy, giraffes are selfish").  Who could forget the Darlings and Ernest T. Bass, Malcolm Merriweather, Otis the town drunk, and Cousin Virgil? So many stars appeared on TAGS before they were really famous, including Bill Bixby and Jack Nicholson.

Few entertainers today possess the moral character to be considered a national treasure. Andy Griffith was just such a performer -- a storyteller, musician, actor and homespun philosopher. His comedy routines, movies, television shows and specials were free (for the most part) from adult language and innuendo. TAGS was quietly successful, providing a generation with lessons about personal responsibility, acceptance, and genuine kindness towards one another. Mayberry has always exemplified ideal American values -- a utopia that exists in reruns, and in the hearts of those who were raised on The Andy Griffith Show.

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