Few television comedies are more synonymous with the 1960s than “The Andy Griffith Show.”
A spinoff of “The Danny Thomas Show,” it aired on CBS between October 3, 1960 and April 1, 1968, bringing to life the colorful characters and comedic situations of a fictional town called Mayberry.
The 249 episodes followed Sheriff Andy Taylor (Griffith), his bumbling deputy Barney Fife (Don Knotts), son Opie (Ronnie Howard) and the lovable Aunt Bea (Frances Bavier).
Here are a few fun facts you might not know about this TV classic:
1. Off-air feud
Andy Griffith owned 50 percent of the show and reaped a lion’s share of the profits. Don Knotts, however, was a salaried employee and quit the show after five seasons when he was denied an ownership stake.
2. Secret behind the theme song
The instrumental theme song, “The Fishin’ Hole,” was written in 15 minutes by Earle Hagen. Griffith recorded a vocal version — with lyrics by Everett Sloane — but it was never used. Instead, Hagen provided the now classic whistling.
3. Bring your spouse to work day
Look closely — Griffith’s real life wife, Barbara Bray Edwards, made several appearances in the background of the show.
4. A real town inspired Mayberry
Griffith’s hometown, Mount Airy, North Carolina, is the inspiration for Mayberry. The community of 10,000 residents is home to the Andy Griffith Museum and the annual “Mayberry Days” celebration, which attracted nearly 50,000 visitors for the show’s 50th anniversary in 2010.
5. How the characters got their names
The characters of Andy Taylor, Floyd Lawson, Ellie Walker and Helen Crump all got their names from from towns nearby Mount Airy, North Carolina: Taylorsville, Lawsonville, Walkertown, Crumpler.
6. ‘Gone With the Wind’ connection
Despite its authentic small town feel, the show was actually filmed at Desilu Studios in Culver City, California — on the same soundstage as “Gone With The Wind.” The lake, used in exterior scenes, is located on Franklin Canyon Drive in Beverly Hills.
7. Ron’s early beginnings
Ron Howard — then known as Ronnie — was only six years-old when the show started and could barely read. His father, Rance Howard, and other cast members would have to read him lines to memorize.
8. So good, you could watch it twice
During the peak of its popularity, CBS ran reruns of the show during the day, renaming them, “Andy of Mayberry” to avoid confusion with the prime time episodes. When the show concluded its run, all episodes were changed back to “The Andy Griffith Show.”