Watching how Sheriff Andy copes with Opie growing up is the heart of The Andy Griffith Show, but in the show’s third season, suddenly there was also romance everywhere.
Helen Crump gets introduced as Opie’s new teacher (destined to be Andy’s future wife), and even Aunt Bee gets foolish with matters of her heart a few times. Then, of course, we watched as young Opie experiences how topsy-turvy crushes can be in episodes like “The Rivals.”
Fans know that on the sitcom, as Opie gets older, his onscreen romances get more and more precious, and it’s natural for these viewers to think about how Andy was when he was in high school.
Likely for that reason, The Andy Griffith Show gave us “Class Reunion,” another third season episode focused on romance, where Andy realizes that he may still have burning feelings for his old high school flame.
Season three gave viewers all this romance, but what it couldn’t give us was a glimpse of what Andy Griffith actually was like as a high school boyfriend.
Thankfully, the 2015 book Andy and Don: The Making of a Friendship and a Classic American TV Show filled in that gap, offering a glimpse of what young schoolboy Andy Griffith looked like walking the halls with his steady girlfriend.
According to the book, Griffith got into acting and music during his sophomore year at Mount Airy High, when an English teacher named Miss Haymore encouraged him to go all out, if singing and acting were the things he liked to do.
Griffith said she was the kind of teacher that “they used to make movies about” and that she changed his life forever when “She got me to understand that I was really doing something pleasurable, not only for other people but for myself.”
As Griffith began exploring his love of music and dramatic arts, he found new confidence in himself, and he also found other loves, including his first love and longest high school romance.
According to the book, Andy’s steady girlfriend was named Angie Marshall, and she was the captain of the girls’ basketball team.
A classmate named Eleanor Powell said the pair went steady for three years and confirmed they were one of the hottest items on campus.
“All the younger students loved to watch as he turned on the school water fountain for her,” Powell said.
Although Andy never described himself as popular in high school, this relationship was perhaps his earliest experience being in the public eye, with kids craning their necks in the halls to get a look at the long-time couple.
We’re sure when Griffith was filming “Class Reunion” and acting out scenes where he watched Opie experiencing first love, the TV star couldn’t help but recall striding the halls with his first love, Angie.