More than 60 years after The Andy Griffith Show first aired, the children of several of the show’s original actors have come together to pay homage to the iconic series with a new movie called Mayberry Man.
The newly released independent film tells the story of Chris Stone, an arrogant Hollywood actor who is sentenced to attend a local Mayberry Days festival after going to court for speeding. In a plot that rivals our favorite Hallmark holiday flicks, the begrudging protagonist ends up learning a little about humility and a lot about the true meaning of friendship and family during his time in the modern-day Mayberry.
The G-rated family film was written and directed by Stark Howell, whose father Hoke Howell guest starred as Army veteran Dud Wash on several episodes of The Andy Griffith Show. Stark’s brother Cort Howell is credited with producing the film that was funded entirely through crowdsourcing.
But the connections don’t end there. Dixie Griffith, Andy Griffith’s daughter, executive produced the film. Karen Knotts, whose father Don Knotts played the iconic role of bumbling Barney Fife through the show’s eight-season run, gives a cameo, playing herself in the new movie. Clint Howard, whose brother Ron Howard played Griffith’s son Opie on the show, also helped support the movie’s creation.
Howell came up with the idea for the film after attending the real-life Mayberry Days festival. The popular fan festival has been held in actor Andy Griffith’s hometown of Mount Airy, North Carolina, every year since 1990. The film’s release was coordinated in conjunction with this year’s Mayberry Days on Sept. 21-26. In addition to providing inspiration for the film, the festival also helped with casting. Several tribute actors—who portray the show’s beloved characters at events like Mayberry Days—were hired to play roles in the film.
Mayberry Man is currently streaming on Amazon Prime and showing in select theaters based on request.