Monday October 3rd marks 62 years since the debut of “The Andy Griffith Show” – the popular family program set in Mayberry – a fictional small town modeled loosely on North Carolina’s Mount Airy – the late actor’s actual childhood hometown.
Cynics like to run down the simple and sometime syrupy themes of the sitcom. After all, whoever heard of a town where the crime is so low that the deputy keeps a bullet in his pocket instead of his gun?
But that was the charm and tug of the Andy Griffith Show. It was something of an escape and also a tease – leaving viewers with the hope that maybe life could one day work out the way it did in Mayberry. National Public Radio once asked Griffith what the backbone of the show was – and why viewers continued to tune into reruns decades after it debuted?
“The backbone of the show and the thrust of the show was love,” Griffith replied. “The deep regard that these people had for one another.”
A Christian believer, the actor once told an interviewer:
“I firmly believe that in every situation, no matter how difficult, God extends grace greater than the hardship, and strength and peace of mind that can lead us to a place higher than where we were before.”
But given the polarized, antagonized and mixed-up nature of today’s cultural climate, it’s fun to look back and consider that much of the commentary from Sherriff Andy Taylor, Opie, Deputy Barney Fife, Aunt Bee, Gomer, Goober, Floyd and the cast of character still holds up – and some even still applies. Here are ten memorable quotes from the show:
- Actions have consequences:
Andy Taylor : Let’s have it… you know what I’m talkin’ about. Hand it over.
[Opie hands over the slingshot]
Andy Taylor : You killed that bird, didn’t you?… Didn’t cha?
Andy Taylor : You remember me tellin’ you to be careful with this thing?
Opie Taylor : I’m sorry, Pa.
Andy Taylor : That won’t bring that bird back to life. Being sorry is not the magic word that makes everything right again.
Opie Taylor : You gonna give me a whippin’?
Andy Taylor : No, I’m not gonna give you a whippin’.
[opens the window]
Andy Taylor : You hear that? That’s those young birds chirpin’ for their mama that’s never comin’ back. You just listen to that for a while.
- We’re all still facing the same problem:
Aunt Bee: Oh, Dr. Breen, your sermon has such a wonderful lesson for us.
Andy Taylor: Yes, sir, you really hit the nail right on the head there.
Barney Fife: Yes, sir, that’s one subject you just can’t talk enough about… SIN.”
- It’s the wise parent who disciplines well:
Barney Fife: “Well, today’s eight-year-olds are tomorrow’s teenagers. I say this calls for action and now. Nip it in the bud. First sign of youngsters going wrong, you’ve got to nip it in the bud.
Andy Taylor: I’m going to have a talk with them. What else do you want me to do?
Barney Fife: Well, don’t just mollycoddle them.
Andy Taylor: I won’t.
Barney Fife: Nip it. You go read any book you ant on the subject of child discipline and you’ll find every one of them is in favor of bud-nipping.
- Childhood is fleeting:
Andy Taylor: Opie! Time to come in, son.
Opie Taylor: Aw Pa, just a little while longer… please?
Andy Taylor: Well, OK.
Andy Taylor, talking to Barney: Daylight’s precious when your a youngen’.
- Good sportsmanship goes a long way:
Andy Griffith, to Opie: “It don’t take courage to be a winner. It does take courage to be a good loser. Now, you want to be a good loser, you’ll be proud of your friends that did win and you’ll congratulate them for it.”
- It’s always a good to help one another:
Barney Fife: Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their neighbor! Repeat! Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their neighbor!
- Perspective is everything:
Andy Taylor: “What’s small potatoes to some folks can be mighty important to others.”
- Always respect the ladies:
Barney Fife: “When you start dealing with a woman you’re dealing with a dangerous commodity.
- Crime doesn’t pay:
Barney Fife: “Remember, the weed of crime bears bitter fruit.”
Andy Griffith: “You know when you’re young you think you will always be. As you become more fragile, you reflect and you realize how much comfort can come from the past. Hymns can carry you into the future.”