The Franklin News-Post|
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Friday, July 6, 2012
By CHARLES BOOTHE -
Andy is gone.
It's a tough pill to swallow, especially for those of us who grew up watching" The Andy Griffith Show," which, by the way, includes more than my generation.
All of my children love the show. It is timeless. It is classic.
The main characters -- Andy, Barney, Opie and Aunt Bee -- were surrounded by a supporting cast that always provided top-notch entertainment. The quality of most shows dwindle after a few years, but not this one.
You can randomly choose any episode to watch, and you can be absolutely sure it will be good.
Andy Griffith created the show, and he never gave up control, always knowing exactly how the show should be presented. He knew what worked, and he never messed with the formula.
The formula was a very simple one that worked in other shows as well, and it relied on the small-town characters, very real people, like some we may have known.
I knew several people who reminded me of Barney, and Otis and Aunt Bee and Floyd and Goober.
There is no pretension to be found anywhere in Mayberry. What you see is what you get, kind of like a small town full of Aunt Ebbs.
The writing was also very simple, but effective, playing off each character's personality with consistency.
Sure, we knew exactly what to expect from Barney in about any situation. His heart was always in the right place even when his less than stellar mind was confused. But his innocence was paramount to his character because he did not have a mean bone in his body.
In fact, that was another charm of the show. None of the characters meant anyone any harm. They were all well-intended. The only trouble that was ever stirred up among them was from misunderstandings and miscommunications, much like real life.
The only "bad" people were outsiders, but we always knew they would get their comeuppance, with honesty and cleverness, not with a gun or nightstick.
Of course, Andy was the rock. He was the arbitrator, the referee, the counselor, the sage, the daddy to all.
Always understanding and calm, Andy was, in many ways, the person we all want to be -- fair, honest, sincere, compassionate, wise.
Oh, he could get a little irritated, but never really angry.
He could get confused, but not for long.
He could be authoritarian, but always in a positive way.
His basic morals and keen insight into other people kept his judgment steady.
Andy was not a Rhodes Scholar, but he had the intelligence to have been one if he had chosen to do so.
Rather, Andy chose a simple life, surrounded by people he cared about and who cared about him.
Mayberry was a Garden of Eden of sorts, a place where evil simply did not have a place.
The residents were by no means perfect, but their transparency and good-heartedness compensated for any shortfalls.
Almost every episode relayed a lesson in morality, and honesty was usually the pin ball that scored the points.
Andy Griffith took us to a place where we could kick off our shoes, sit back and relax. We felt at home, and safe, and in good company.
Many shows of that era reflected an idealized, innocent pre-tumultuous 60s America, but "The Andy Griffith Show" went far beyond that.
It reminded us that times may change, but human nature doesn't.
Andy's body may be gone, but his spirit will, in a very real way, live forever.
If human beings somehow manage to be around 1,000 years from now, "The Andy Griffith Show" will still be watched.
People will always be yearning for their own Mayberry.