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Andy Griffith RIP

[ 27 ] July 3, 2012 |

And it falls to me to observe that we are all now effectively living in Mayberry R.F.D. Goodbye, Matlock.

Comments (27)

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  1. Paul Gottlieb says:

    but ours is a Mayberry run by sociopathic keptocrats instead of that nice Sheriff Andy Taylor. I never hear Andy or Barney talk about how much they worshipped the free market

    • Hogan says:

      It’s more like A Face in the Crowd with the alternate ending.

      • Ben Hosen says:

        Beat me to it. Love that flick, even if it took a pillhead sex tourist, a nut too batshit for Faux News and a Mama Grizzly to understand it properly.

        And hey, can we have an open thread to discuss Campos’ bombshell? If his source is not misleading him, I think this is a very big deal.

        • Slocum says:

          Brian Leiter thinks Campos is unreliable. What else do you need to know?

          • John says:

            Campos is unreliable. In his anti-healthy diet rants he posts pro-industry studies while ignoring independent ones. In his anti-law school rants he was willing to use the suicide of a troubled former student as the basis for an argument. And here, he somehow has an exclusive source within the Supreme Court? Who’s telling him an implausible story that he was already pushing before he supposedly spoke to that source? And that nobody else has heard anything about?

            Until there’s some corroboration, I see no reason to credit this story.

    • John says:

      Mayberry RFD is about Mayberry after Andy leaves, no?

  2. Anonymous37 says:

    There was a great moment in an episode of Matlock that I was watching — I’ll note that I wasn’t a regular watcher, so I was kind of impressed that I happened upon this moment in a show which was treated as a punchline for the most part.

    Griffiths as Matlock is cross-examining a police officer accused of police brutality. He elicits the fact that the cop had hit someone in the head with the butt of his gun. The cop admits to it, but defends himself by saying that he didn’t hit the guy that hard: it was barely a tap.

    There’s a little bit of back and forth, with Matlock trying to nail down just how hard he hit the guy. He then pulls out a bust of a human head, wheels it in front of the cop, and asks him to demonstrate just how hard the tap was. The cop takes out his gun; hits the bust with the butt of his gun; and the bust, which was thin-walled and hollow, shatters into a hundred pieces.

    The defense attorney stands up and objects, and that’s the end of the scene. Or at least I think it was — I was doubled over laughing.

    I never made fun of old people’s taste in television after that.

  3. sleepyirv says:

    Besides his fine turns in Face in the Crowd and Andy Griffith Show, Andy was also a strong advocate for the Democratic party.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-the-democratic-politics-of-the-late-andy-griffith-20120703,0,3106007.story

    • mark f says:

      At NRO the commenters can’t decide whether that can be overlooked or if it makes him the moral equivalent of the Khmer Rouge. I wish I was exaggerating.

      • KadeKo says:

        Plus there’s the “Funny or Die” bit with Ron Howard (as Opie, then Richie Cunningham), Griffith, and Henry Winkler.

        Howard (grew up in TV and movies) and Winkler (Yale Drama) one could peg as sufficiently “Hollywood” to be in that video with no “blowback” to their reputations, but it took a bit of doing for an octogenarian born-n-bred Southerner with gospel Grammies on his mantle to “come out” for Obama like that.

        As a suburban liberal I know it wasn’t something to do lightly given his circumstances. Good on him.

  4. DocAmazing says:

    Also check out Murder in Coweta County and Savages for good examples of Andy Griffith acting evil very effectively.

  5. Stag Party Palin says:

    Dang. I don’t understand this game. I think I’ll get me a Big Orange.

  6. Erik Loomis says:

    I’m really disappointed that no one has talked about everyone at LGM is an asshole for not properly venerating Andy Griffith.

  7. Slocum says:

    I never saw “Matlock,” but saw lots and lots of re-runs of the show that made him famous. He was a excellent straight-man/dry humorist.

    • Heron says:

      It actually wasn’t all that bad, in spite of what you’d think from how often it’s the punchline of old-people jokes. It was also one of the last really popular shows to portray defense attorneys as decent people providing a valuable service for society, instead of as scheming semi-criminals.

      • John says:

        I do remember, though, the one episode where Matlock realizes his client is guilty, so he puts him on the stand and gets him to confess. The idea that being a defense lawyer is a noble calling, but only if you’re defending someone who is innocent, seems like a strong one.

  8. lawguy says:

    If anyone else is interested in not particularly likable Andys I’d suggest “6 Characters in Search of an Author” and “Hearts of the West.”

  9. Mike F. says:

    The Andy Griffith Show was — apart from featuring the most talented ensemble cast ever assembled for a TV show — successful because it brought into stark relief the contradictions and ironies of it’s time. Andy Griffith was not unaware of these ironies and tried to make the most of them.

    The character he portrayed was the most masculine in the community by filling a role that was stereotypically feminine. Sheriff Taylor, in other words, did “womans work”. His role was that of Priest, nurturer, confessor, peacemaker and healer — those which at that time were associated with women, not men.
    Notice for example that he not only didn’t carry a gun, he deplored them as he deplored violence generally. The “man” who insisted on acting out his “manliness” in every episode was Barney, not Andy. And Barney was there for no other reason than to make “manliness” look ridiculous.
    The scripts were written as if to say week after week “real men don’t raise their voice, carry guns, resort to violence or threats. They listen, empathize, seek justice and make peace”. Wisdom trumps fear. Mind trumps body. Women do, Men show out.
    Sheriff Taylor didn’t even drive the squad car for Christ’s sake. He didn’t sit in speed traps or hunt down bad guys. He almost never left the damn jail (except for lunch). He waited patiently for Barney to get himself in some macho induced jam and then he worked it out peacefully.
    Sheriff Taylor did not have a wife. He filled the role of Mother and Father for his son as if it were perfectly natural and expected, at a time when such things were anything but. Not coincidentally Sheriff Taylor was, to his community, what he was to his son and his Aunt Bee. The personal, in Mayberry, was political.

    Sheldon Leonard shared production rights equally with Andy Griffith and Griffith essentially ran that show. He made Mayberry out to be an arcadia of the rural south that he grew up in. There’s nothing very interesting about creating such a place for a fictional TV sitcom, of course. But what is interesting is why this place where Women ruled the world was so popular.
    I think Griffith wrote and played Andy Taylor as an (again) idealized version of his Mom. So again, why was a fictional Sheriff Mom so popular at that time?

  10. Mike F. says:

    Not for nothing, it’s the occasional Mad Men deconstructions I see around here which remind me of this gender-role confusion. It’s interesting that the fictional Mad Men and the actual Andy Griffith Show are contemporaneous. Subjectivity as such is, in both scripts, much in question – but in very different ways and for different reasons. I wonder . . . .

  11. grouchomarxist says:

    I wouldn’t call his character in Hearts of the West so much evil as bedeviled by his weakness for wine and women, along with a heapin’ helpin’ of late-middle-age angst. Great movie, though, and a fine turn by Andy.

    Since no one’s brought it up yet, No Time for Sergeants — besides being the direct inspiration for Gomer Pyle, USMC — is Griffith at his comedic best.

    And here’s the comic monologue that started his career, still funny, after all these years.

    I know the term has been overused to the point of cliche, but he really was an “American Original”.

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