Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Andy Griffith Show

I'm a big fan of the Andy Griffith Show. I say this without embarassment. There is more to be learned about the Golden Rule in any single episode of these shows than in any church, or other house of worship, which I have ever attended. And in between there is some great fingerpicking going on. In the first video, above, the Darling family has come to town, intent on drawing up a marriage contract with Andy for Opie to marry Mr. Darling's grandaughter when the two children become of age. The whole matter is finally settled, Opie doesn't have to get married, and the two families sit down and make some music in Sheriff Taylor's living room.

Andy Griffith really started out telling stories, his first big break came with the recording of his comedy routine "What It Was, Was Football", recorded in Raleigh, North Carolina in 1953. This routine lead to appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, and really launched his career, first in film with "A Face In The Crowd" in 1957, which co-starred Patricia Neal, and then on Broadway as the star of "No Time For Sergeants" in 1958. By 1961 he was the star of his own show on television in the all time classic "The Andy Griffith Show". This show also spawned the career of Ron Howard, who often credits the 6 years he spent with Mr. Griffith as the most rewarding ones of his life.

But in all of these genres, Andy Griffith was able to include, and indulge, his real passion, which was music. In doing so he managed to preserve some of the music of North Carolina's long musical legacy. I watch these shows often, on TV, or even on You Tube, where they are preserved in pristine condition. You can watch them in their full versions, or just watch short clips from the episodes which you like best.

Andy Griffith is one of those performers who will be considered timeless. His shows will be aired long after he has left the stage. Here he is, in the Courthouse, singing "New River Train" with one of the prisoners, Jim Lindsey, played by actor James Best. Herb Ellis, a very talented jazz guiarist, and CBS studio musician, is actually playing the second guitar. The close ups are of Mr. Ellis' hands.

And here is a link to "the original live version of "What It Was, Was Football";


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