Daniel de Visé, author of "Andy and also Don: The do of a Friendship and a classic American TV Show," share a couple of little-known backstage facts around the lover ‘60s sitcom.

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Everyone knows the basic facts of Mayberry: Andy to be a widower v an adorable son. Barney was his childlike deputy. Andy didn’t undertake a gun, and Barney was enabled only a solitary bullet for his. Aunt bee was fairly a chef — except for those pickles.

Yet, most fans that The Andy Griffith Show know substantially less about what walk on behind the scene of that standard 1960s sitcom. Right here are a couple of little-known backstage facts, culled native the new Simon & Schuster book Andy and also Don: The do of a Friendship and a standard American TV Show.


Andy and also Don: The do of a Friendship and also a standard American TV Show by Daniel de Visé.

Andy loved useful jokes

As the undisputed ceo of the Griffith Show, Andy Griffith collection a festive, frolicsome tone. And he loved to stage helpful jokes, an especially when they targeted Don Knotts. In fact, Andy furious Don daily simply by calling that “Jess,” i m sorry was short for Jesse, Don’s very first name, due to the fact that he knew Don didn’t choose it. For every his manic on-screen energy, Don Knotts was surprisingly dignified and reserved off-camera, and also Andy took pleasure in shattering his friend’s calm. He occasionally interrupted Don’s nap by dropping a metal film canister ~ above the floor. George “Goober” Lindsey once awoke indigenous his very own slumber to uncover Andy had actually strung duck guts about the dressing room. Some of the high jinks come at Andy’s expense: Once, the cast made turn off with among Andy’s moccasins, forcing him come go residence wearing his Andy Taylor wardrobe shoes. Lock bronzed it and also returned it come Andy at the season’s end.


Andy Griffith and also Don Knotts shoot their first scene ~ above 'The Andy Griffith Show.' The manufacturing was claimed to revolve roughly Andy; however once producers witnessed the magic in between Andy and also Don, they set about reordering the show approximately their relationship.

Photo: CBS photograph Archive/Getty Images

Don can have lasted simply one episode

Few Andy Griffith cast members come in Mayberry through contracts in hand. Numerous beloved characters, consisting of Barney Fife himself, joined the ensemble without a firm sell of ongoing employment. For Don, that changed after the very an initial day of shooting: executive Producer Sheldon Leonard to be so moved by the chemistry between Andy and also Don the he offered the deputy a one-year deal, later lengthened to five years. Likewise, as soon as Hal blacksmith arrived to play the part of town inebriate Otis Campbell in the 2nd Andy Griffith episode, “Manhunt,” he to be assured of only a single appearance. Producer Aaron Ruben take it him aside afterward and also said, “Hal, this might build into rather a part for you.” In season three, actress Aneta Corsaut so impressed producers together Opie’s earnest schoolteacher the they occurred her character right into Andy’s stable girlfriend. Had actually they well-known what power the couple would spark, surely they would have actually chosen a an ext alluring name 보다 Helen Crump.


Andy and Don with executive producer Sheldon Leonard (at right) and also producer Aaron Ruben (facing camera) in the composing room. A humble sustaining actor wasn’t typically permitted to join the producer in tweaking scripts, however Andy insisted Don get a seat at the table. In ~ weeks the the Griffith debut, Andy and also Don to be writing entire skits for your characters.

Photo: Allan Grant/The LIFE pictures Collection/Getty Images

Aunt bee was not amused

Griffith ran the Griffith Show collection like a big ole family picnic, involvement his cast-mates in song, dance, laughter and also general merriment as soon as the camera to be off. Probably the only actors member who didn’t appreciate the frivolity was Frances Bavier, the veteran brand-new York actress that played Aunt Bee. A consummate professional, Bavier played her component to perfection and became the just Griffith cast member various other than Knotts to victory an Emmy for she work, in 1967. Onscreen, Bee’s domestic pampering provided the perfect enhance to Andy’s fatherly gravitas and also Barney’s childlike vulnerability. Off stage, though, she hardly ever joined Andy and also the others in their day-to-day antics. She was no one to dance and also sing v her colleagues, and she disliked valuable jokes and also coarse language. She rapport through Griffith self was particularly prickly, although they patched things up prior to her death in 1989, according to making it through cast and also crew. George lindsey recounted in his memoir the Bavier once flourished so distressed through his cursing during an illustration of the Griffith spinoff Mayberry R.F.D. the she win him end the head through her umbrella. 

Opie’s rock never hit the lake

When cast and crew the The Andy Griffith Show ventured out to Franklin Canyon, near Beverly Hills, to movie the opened credits in summer 1960, their setup called because that Andy and also Opie to amble along a dirt road with your fishing poles and for Opie come pause and hurl a rock right into the water. Alas, six-year-old Ronny Howard might not throw quite so well as he can act. As soon as he and also Andy got to the appointed spot, Ronny threw the absent — and also it landed short of the water. The crew stopped and filmed an additional take. When again, Ronny’s litter failed to hit that is watery mark. So, assistant manager Bruce Bilson planted a prop man behind a bush. Lock filmed yet one more take, and also when Opie hurled the rock, Bilson yelled “THROW IT!” and the prop guy lobbed a different rock into the reservoir. In the resulting shot, astute viewers will notice a slight, gravity-defying lag in between Opie’s throw and also the succeeding splash.

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Don offered to go back to Mayberry 

Andy, Don and the rest of the Griffith show ensemble had actually expected the program to run its course in 5 years. So, when season 5 commenced, Don started looking because that other job-related —and that quickly uncovered it, agreeing to a five-picture film deal with Universal. Then, sponsors and also network brass convinced Andy to return because that a 6th season. (And a seventh, and an eighth, together it rotate out.) Don politely declined to reprise the function of Barney Fife; that, in ~ least, to be the official line. But there was much more to the story, as Andy revealed come Don’s manager decades later, after Don’s death. In a private meeting midway v season five, Don called Andy he would go back to the sitcom — however only if he can have an ownership stake in the production. Andy and also his manager together owned much more than half of the Griffith Show, when Don own none of it; he to be a salaried employee. Lot as Andy loved working through Don, he balked in ~ his friend’s request: Andy incorrectly thought Don wanted half of Andy’s very own share, or a 4 minutes 1 stake in the show. In fact, Don probably would have resolved for a much smaller sum. Yet Andy and Don to be friends, not deal-makers; this talk had actually taken both males out of their comfort zone, and also it concerned nothing.     

Andy and also Don: The making of a Friendship and a standard American TV display by Daniel de Visé is on revenue now. 

Daniel de Visé is an author and journalist that has worked at The Washington Post, The Miami Herald, and three other newspapers in a twenty-five-year career. His investigative reporting has twice brought about the relax of wrongly convicted men from life imprisonment. He shared a 2001 Pulitzer Prize for deadline reporting. A graduate of Wesleyan and also Northwestern universities, de Visé stays with his wife and children in Maryland. His first book, a memoir the amnesia, i Forgot to Remember (with Su Meck), was released in 2014.