This Day in Entertainment History: The Andy Griffith Show Premieres (October 3, 1960)

By: Sean Sporman Email
By: Sean Sporman Email

It was a television show that would become a staple of syndication for decades to come, and it all started in a small southern fictional town named Mayberry.

The Andy Griffith Show debuted on the CBS network on October 3rd, 1960. The black-and-white 30-minute situation comedy starred Andy Griffith as Sheriff Andy Taylor. Taylor was the protector of the small, quiet North Carolina town of Mayberry. His sidekick, played by Don Knotts, was the nervous, law-loving Deputy Barney Fife. Taylor lived with his son, Opie, played by Ron Howard and his Aunt Bee, played by Frances Bavier. Many other supporting characters came and went, such as the town drunk Otis and nuisance Ernest T. Bass.

The show became a huge hit and lasted eight seasons on CBS, including a transition to color for the show’s sixth season. That season did not include Knotts as Barney Fife, after he left to film a series of movies.

The show ended at the top, leading the Nielsen ratings by the time it went off the air in 1968. It had two spin-offs, one featuring Gomer Pyle (Gomer Pyle USMC) and another that followed up on the show’s supporting characters (Mayberry R.F.D.)

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