General Questions

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FAQ: General Questions

Where did the writers come up with the names used on TAGS?

An unusual piece of trivia was supplied by Paul Gerefi of Fort Lauderdale, FL. He observed that within a 30 mile radius of Andy's birthplace in Mt. Airy, NC, are the following towns: Lawsonville, Walkertown, Crumpler and Taylorsville. The names of such characters as Floyd Lawson, Ellie Walker, Helen Crump and Andy Taylor naturally come to mind. Is this simply coincidence?

Who was the announcer at the beginning of the show that said, "The Andy Griffith Show...staring, Andy Griffith....with Ronny Howard. Also starring, Don Knotts?

This answer avoided us for years but thanks to TAGS fan Dennis Hasty we now have an answer. The name of the announcer is Colin Male. He was a former radio announcer in Cincinnati who moved to Hollywood to be part of the motion picture business. Colin appeared in the TAGS episode where Andy and Helen are caught fishing without a licenses by the game warden (#140 "Andy and Helen Have Their Day") . Colin was the game warden.

I have a tape that starts out saying "Andy of Mayberry" instead of "The Andy Griffith Show". Why the name change?

During the original run of "The Andy Griffith Show," CBS began to show reruns of TAGS during the daytime hours. To reduce confusion they re-titled the show "Andy of Mayberry." When TAGS original run was over the titles were changed back but when VIACOM began looking for "uncut" episodes, some of the best ones still had the "Andy of Mayberry" title on them and the tape distributors didn't fix it. They sometimes show up on your local stations, too, so be on the lookout.

Regis uses the phrase "worshipers of Mammon". Anyone know the history of that reference?

The quote is from the episode A Black Day for Mayberry and it is a reference to the Bible Matthew 6:24 (KJV) - No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Mammon is defined as "riches or wealth regarded as a source of evil or corruption."

Do you know in what episode a dart board was hanging from the bulletin board? It was only shown once.

That's in episode #70, "Lawman Barney." Opie beats Andy in a game of darts, and then asks his Paw if he'd like to play for money. Andy says that would ruin Opie's amateur standing, which prompts Opie to ask what an "amateur" is. Andy explains that an amateur plays for fun, while a professional plays because he wants to get paid. Opie decides he wants to be a professional amateur.

(More information)

The TAGS crew kept a dart board backstage. In between takes Andy Griffith, Don Knotts, and Hal Smith used to like to play darts. Hal Smith always wanted Andy and Don to play for "big stakes," but they would never play for more than a dime. Apparently, at some point Ronny Howard started playing too, which probably inspired the writers to write in the aforementioned scene. The entire scene was cut to make more room for commercials, so many folks may not have ever seen it. --Paul Mulik

I was wondering if you know the name of the painting that hangs over the Taylor fireplace in many of the episodes of TACS (it s a farmer in a field)?

It's called "The Angelus, 1859" by French artist Jean Francois Millet (1811875). A similar work by Millet is called "The Gleaners". Prints of these paintings were not uncommon in American house-holds during the first half of this century.

Can you get a blue and gold sleeve patch like the one's Andy & Barney had on their uniforms anywhere?

You can purchase those at Weaver's Department Store. Look in the "Cool Gifts" section.

Who was the first female that wore pants on TAGS?

I'm fairly certain Peggy was the first female resident of Mayberry to wear pants in public (but then, I could be wrong, it happened once before, tick-a-lock.) Later on, after Mayberry turned to color, Goober's girl Flora would wear slacks when she filled in at the filling station, and Helen appeared in some snug-fitting "dancing" pants in "The Senior Play" (or perhaps those were leggings? Anyway, it definitely wasn't a dress.) --Paul Mulik

Watching quiet Sam plant his fields at night, did I hear Barney make a suggestion that maybe Sam's planting a little "happy weed," or marijuana. Did I hear Right?

You sure did. Most of the time that scene is cut from episodes aired on TV today. Now that we're on the subject, most folks know that the original epilogues to the 249 episodes are almost never shown on TV these days.

What many fans DON'T know is that there are LOTS of other scenes missing too, not just the epilogues. Many episodes also have opening scenes which have also been cut out, and just about every episode has a couple of scenes missing from somewhere in the middle. Some episode have as many as TEN cuts! Each episode originally ran 24 minutes and 30 seconds in length, not including credits or commercials. Nowadays, the versions shown by most stations run about 21 minutes each. Add those lost minutes up, and it's the equivalent of more than ONE ENTIRE SEASON of The Andy Griffith Show! Terrible, ain't it? -Paul Mulik

How many times did TAGS made the cover of TV Guide?

Here's what I have; surely someone can add a few more to this list? I assume we're talking about nationwide TV guides only. Jan 28, 1961 -- Ronnie (sic) Howard and Andy Griffith -- Photo shows Andy with his hands folded under his chin. Ronny's hands are folded on top of Andy's head; his chin rests on his hands. May 12, 1962 -- caption reads "Don Knotts of 'The Andy Griffith Show' " -- Head and shoulders photo of Barney staring in an indignant pose. April 24, 1965 -- head and shoulders shot of a smiling Andy in uniform. May 20, 1967 -- Andy Griffith and Aneta Corsaut -- Andy in tan shirt, Helen behind him wearing pink blouse (to my knowledge, this is the only TV Guide cover to feature one of the main women from TAGS.) July 13, 1968 -- "The Wondrous Andy Griffith TV Machine" -- cartoon caricatures of Barney and Gomer carrying Andy on their shoulders. April 4, 1998 -- includes small photo of Jan 28, 1961 cover photo. I know there are at least three more that I don't have -- One shows Andy, Don and Ronny (Andy is holding Opie up by his belt loops and tickling him), one depicts Andy alone, seated with his guitar in his lap, and the other shows Andy, Don and Jim Nabors laughing it up. There were also at least two Gomer Pyle covers and two Mayberry RFD covers (RFD info by Sheri Lobue). --Paul Mulik

I was looking at the map in the courthouse, and somewhere it was said on the TAGS site, that it was upside down..How can you tell? I could barely see it.

There were actually several different maps used throughout the run of the series. In a couple of episodes, there are two maps hanging there. According to the book "Inside Mayberry," one of the maps was actually an upside-down map of the Idaho/Montana border, but I studied and studied that map and I couldn't make head nor tail out of it. Perhaps there's a distinctive river or lake on the map that identifies it?

From the March 2006 issue of The eBullet

March 2006 issue of The eBullet shows Barney
in front of the map in question.

Mayberry Scout Troop #44, who no doubt have earned their Orienteering Merit Badge, have determined what the location is on the map that is usually behind Andy's desk in the Courthouse. (It's not usually a map of Idaho turned sideways that legend has it is on the wall in a few early episodes.)

Nope, the Scheurermanns freeze-framed their DVDs (most successfully with "A Deal Is a Deal") and got a clear picture of the map. Dave then went looking through modern maps to find what locations seemed to match up with the Mayberry map. (Yes, now that construction of the Taylor home is largely complete, Dave does seem to have a lot of extra time on his hands!)

Map at the Courthouse Anyway, Dave narrowed the field of possibilities and then pinpointed an exact match. And the location is….Cincinnati, Ohio. You see, that's not Old Man Kelsey's Crick winding its way through the map in the Courthouse. It's the Ohio River. Not only have Dave and Marsha identified the city, but they've also tracked down a copy of the exact map that hangs in the Courthouse. It's a 1951 map of Cincinnati.

As to why the Mayberry Courthouse would have a map of Cincinnati on its wall, we can only speculate that there might be some chicken thieves and whatnot up that way and that Andy and Barney (O.K., mostly Barney) had big plans for tracking them down. Whatever the case, our hat's off to Dave and Marsha for some mighty fine detective work. And for anybody who had doubts about their serious attention to detail in constructing their Taylor home, this map story should nip those notions…in the bud!

Are there any animated TAGS characters out there?

Andy Griffith played a cartoon version of himself for the Christmas cartoon "Frosty's Winter Wonderland." Don Knotts was actually in 2 Scooby Doo cartoons: "The Spooky Fog of Juneberry" and "Guess Who's Knott Coming to Dinner?" He also played a Barney-type character in a "Garfield and Friends" episode.

In another Garfield episode, Jack Burns played a Warren Ferguson-like character (huh? yeah. huh? yeah. huh?) and in others, Howard Morris does the voices of characters who talk and act like Ernest T. Bass.

Gomer Pyle appears in a Pinky and the Brain cartoon (the voice was not done by Jim Nabors, though.) Gomer was the guard at the secret Roswell "ufo" site.

Now to my favorite cartoon, the Animaniacs! I have spotted Barney Fife in two episodes. One is "Three Tenors and You're Out" (Andy and Barney appear brifely on the big screen TV in Dodger Stadium) and the other is about TV censors (I can't remember the title). Atilla the Hun is chasing the Warners through the TV studio, and the guard at the front desk is Barney Fife. Don Knotts did not provide the voice, though.

There are also many other Animaniacs episodes in which Don Knotts, who apparently is a great favorite of Wakko Warner, is mentioned, but not seen. In "Garage Sale of the Century," Yakko tells Wakko he'll have to sell his collection of Don Knotts videos (apparently the entire collection is worth only two cents); In "Chairman of the Bored" Wakko asks Pip if he has ever met Don Knotts; in "You Bet Your Life" Wakko guesses Don Knotts as the answer to a quiz question; and on the second sing-along tape, Mostly in Toon, there is a bit of dialogue that goes like this: Yakko: Now, we'll sing about an exquisite beauty who works at the studio. Dot: Finally, a song about me! Wakko (disappointed): I thought he meant Don Knotts! (The song turns out to be "Hello Nurse.")

In the last few months, animation cels depicting a cartoon version of Andy Griffith have turned up. Very little is known about these cels, but one rumor has it that at some point in the late 1970s or early 1980s, an animated version of The Andy Griffith Show was in the works, with the voices to have been provided by the original cast members. Of course, such a series was never actually produced, but the surviving cels are fascinating nonetheless. --Paul Mulik

Well, nobody came up with the answer to the extry-tough trivia question I posed the other day (the one about voices being heard in the background before the words were spoken aloud), so here is the long-awaited answer.

Remember in the episode "Mayberry on Record" when Mr. Maxwell asks Barney to say a few words into his tape recorder? A moment later, Maxwell rewinds the tape, and a series of squeals erupts from the machine, which prompts Andy to warn him not to play it too loud, as it would round up every hog in the county. Supposedly, then, the sounds we hear while Mr. Maxwell rewinds the tape should be Barney's voice played backwards and at high speed, but I got to wondering what was REALLY on that tape! I recorded those "squeals" as a .WAV file on my computer, then reversed it and slowed it down a bunch. The squeals on the tape turned out to be the following lines of dialogue: Andy: Mr Maxwell, I don't reckon you'd be interested in a small local band, bunch o' young fellas and myself, got banjos, guitars, and mandolins and such as that in it? Maxwell: Oh, it sounds great! Andy: Oh, well, good! In the episode, this dialogue comes LATER in the same scene. Now how do you suppose those words got on that tape before they were ever spoken? Maybe Count Istvan Teleky was behind this one! --Paul Mulik

I thought of five people who appeared on both TAGS and Star Trek: Elinor Donahue, Clint Howard, Michael Pollard, Teri Garr, and the man who played Mr Atoz on the Star Trek. Can anyone think of anyone else who was on both?

Well, let's see. How about Stanley Adams, Keith Andes, Arthur Batanides, Sheldon Golomb, Chalres Dierkop, Pam Ferdin, Paul Fix, Roy Jenson, Lloyd Kino, Jon Lormer, Keye Luke, Ken Lynch, Byron Morrow, Susan Oliver, Roger Perry, William Schallert, and Jan Shutan? (William Schallert was almost a giveaway, as he appeared on just about every TV show ever made!) Star Trek's Mr. Atoz (in "All Our Yesterdays") was played by Ian Wolfe, who also appeared as Septimus in the ST episode "Bread and Circuses." On TAGS, he played Reverend Leighton in "Aunt Bee's Crowning Glory" (the time Aunt Bee buys a blond wig.) --Paul Mulik

Additional listings:

Was The Andy Griffith Show the first TV spinoff?

I've been reading the discussion lately about whether or not TAGS was the first TV spinoff. In mid-1996, when I wrote an article about TAGS for Classic TV magazine (no longer in print), I mentioned the "fact" that TAGS was the first spinoff (1960), but someone wrote in to correct me, pointing out some earlier shows -- Wanted: Dead or Alive (1958, spun off from Trackdown); Law of the Plainsman (1959, spun off from The Rifleman) and Pete and Gladys (1960, spun off from December Bride.) In my book (that's a figure of speech) a series is not a spinoff unless it's pilot episode aired as an episode of an established series. To the best of my knowledge, the three above example do NOT fit this definition, which means that TAGS truly was the first real TV spin-off. --Paul Mulik

I will often see people sign off with "Abisinnia" (sp) and I remember Opie saying this in "Barney's Sidecar", but I have never understood what was meant by it?

That little gem was the product of Fritzell and Greenbaum (who wrote that episode.) It was something they used to say when they were kids. "Abyssinia" means "I'll be seeing you." The response, "See ya Samoa," means "[I'll] see you some more." --Paul Mulik

In the opening scene where Andy and Opie are walking down the path by the lake, didn't we use to see the rock hit the water?

You're 100% right. Originally, the segment showed the second rock splashing into the water. Right after the announcer said "also starring Don Knotts,"the camera cut to a close-up of the lake surface andwe saw the rock splashing in. The announcer at this point continued, saying "...brought to you by...." and then a commercial for a General Foods product would air. The reason the rock splash is not shown anymore is because now that the show is in syndication, GF is no longer the sponsor. In the good old days, one sponsor would pay for the entire show, but nowadays, several different companies advertise during a 30-minute program. --Paul Mulik

Was Vietnam ever mentioned?

Yes! It was, in the 8th season episode "Aunt Bee and the Lecturer." The Professor and Aunt Bee are having dinner in a restaurant, and Professor Hubert St. John is pestering Bee with all sorts of comments about how she reminds him of his late wife. To try to get him to change the subject, she asks, "Hubert, what do you think about the situation in Asia?" This is obviously a reference to the Vietnam War, even if they didn't "say it right out like that." This scene also shows us a side of Aunt Bee that's never even HINTED at in any other episode. When the professor offers her a second glass of wine, she refuses, saying the second glass always makes her a little giddy. --Paul Mulik

Where there any collectors plates based on Mayberry?

There were a total of eight plates issued in the Mayberry series (this may not be the correct order): Sheriff Andy Taylor (Andy seated at desk with hands folded) 86 A Startling Conclusion (Barney with dipper full of Jubal Foster's moonshine) 147 Mayberry Sing-a-Long (Andy holding guitar, seated by a tree with Opie) 89 An Explosive Situation (Andy and Barney with Jimmy, the Loaded Goat) 92 Aunt Bee's Kitchen (Aunt Bee standing by Andy who is seated at kitchen table) Surprise! Surprise! (Gomer standing in front of filling station) Meeting Aunt Bee (Andy, Aunt Bee and Opie in driveway w/ pickup truck) 48 Opie's Big Catch (Andy and Opie in fishing boat) The numbers I've indicated are from the TAGS trading cards, 5 of which happen to have the same photos that were used on the plates. These plates, produced by the Hamilton Collection, have been out of production for about 5 years now, but they occasionally turn up on the secondary market. They originally sold for about $30 each, but they commonly fetch from $50 - $100 now. --Paul Mulik

Did it ever rain in Mayberry?

Regarding the subject of bad weather, there was a flood in Mayberry sometime between episode 95 "The Big House" and episode 118, "Andy's Vacation." Barney says, "I can get Gomer as a deputy. He's still sworn in from the flood." Also, in episode 219 "Goober's Contest," Andy mentions that a tornado once struck Mayberry. Of course, neither of these catastrophes happened on-screen; they were just mentioned later. The only time it actually rains on-screen is in "A Black Day for Mayberry" while everybody anxiously awaits for the arrival of the gold truck. My guess is that it actually was raining at the time, but the producers were forced to shoot the episode anyway due to one deadline or another. I mean, why would they go to the trouble to make FAKE rain? There are a few other episodes in which storm sound effects are heard (Quiet Sam, The Jinx, Dogs Dogs Dogs) but no rain is actually seen in those episodes. --Paul Mulik Speaking of weather, the other day my little boy was asked by his teacher to spell "weather" and he spelled it w-a-n-t-h-e-r. That's just about the worst spell of weather we've had in a long time (from "An Evening With Me" by Don Knotts.)

I was watching an episode and I thought I saw Lucy on the magazine rack in Walkers Drug Store. Was it Lucy?

As far as I can tell, yes, that really is Lucy on that TV Guide. Remember that TAGS was filmed at Desilu studios (for them that don't know, the name Desilu comes from "Desi" (Arnaz) and "Lu" (for Lucille Ball.) So, it probably wasn't a coincidence. --Paul Mulik

Was the fireplace in the Taylor home ever used in any episode?

No, it wasn't ever used, the simple reason being that it was not a real fireplace, but only a prop. It would have been very expensive andimpractical to build a working fireplace (with a chimney and everything) on a studio sound stage. This serves as an excellent example (you'd better sit back, pal -- this could be a jolt.) The creators of TAGS, especially the prop department and the set designers, did such a masterful job that we often don't realize that the Taylor family's home was nothing but a set! --Paul Mulik

Can someone tell me how many married couples were actually shown on TAGS? I can't think of that many.

Good question! In most sitcoms, it is standard for the leading characters to be single, so that the writers can have more leeway in writing interesting situations for them to get into. For example, if Andy was married to Helen, and Barney was married to Thelma Lou, we wouldn't have had the terrific "Fun Girl" episodes; and if Ernest T. Bass were married, we wouldn't have had ANY episodes with him at all, since in all 5 of his episodes he wants to get romantically involved with someone. This goes for the Darlings, too -- every one of the plots of their 6 episodes involves marriage. There are a few married couples we see on TAGS, such as: Otis and Rita Campbell Ralph and Verlaine Campbell Fred and Jenny Boone Sam and Clara Lindsey Maudie and Naylor Uncle Ollie and Aunt Nora Charlene and Dud Wash And then there are other characters who are said to be married, but we never see their spouses, such as: Floyd Lawson Mayor Pike Sam Becker --Paul Mulik

In the title Mayberry, R.F.D., what does RFD stand for?

In 1896, the U.S. Congress approved Rural Free Delivery. People were becoming increasingly concerned taht a growing country needed to provide postal service to as many citizens as possible, and the villages of Charles Town, Halltown, and Uvilla, West Virginia were the "test markerts" for the project. Postmaster General William S. Bissel was outraged that Congress would charge him with such a ridiculous idea and he refused to spend the $20,000 appropriation stating it was clear that such a move would bankrupt the nation.

Thelma Lou had to go to Mt. Pilot to get her teeth fixed. Were there any dentists in Mayberry?

Mayberry did have at least one dentist. In "Ellie for Council," Otis' mother-in-law made an emergency visit to the dentist after Otis hit her in the mouth with a leg of lamb.

Could any good neighbor tell me what the rhymn is that the boys recite when they are eating apples that they stole with that new Quincy boy?

I don't know the origin of this ritual, but I think it goes like this:

first person: "Apple core" second person: "Baltimore" first person: "Who's you friend?"

...and then the person named by the second person becomes the target for the apple core thrown by the first person.

This same bit was used in the 1952 Disney short "Donald Applecore," when Chip and Dale were stealing apples from Donald's orchard. Therefore, it was probably a pretty old gag at the time it was used on TAGS. --Paul Mulik

In Return to Mayberry when Barney was posting the warning sign for the monster in Meyers Lake, he said it was posted by Richard Kelly. Was that in reference to Richard Kelly the author?

This Answer provided by Harvey Bullock:

David Millard asked a question and quoted a line by Barney Fife in RETURN TO MAYBERRY wherein Barney gave thanks to a certain "Richard Kelly" for painting the warning sign about a monster in the lake...despite " painful arthitis in his knuckles."

David wondered if it was only a coincidence that "Richard Kelly" is also the name of the author of THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW (1981) the first book published about TAGS, and still very definitive.'

David, it was no coincidence.

When the beloved Everett Greenbaum and I were writing "Return", Richard Kelly's name just happened to flash in my mind. I had met him and his charming wife Barbara when they came to Hollywood and visited me and my erstwhile partner Ray Allen at Twentieth Fox Studios where we were producer/writers on the LOVE BOAT series.

Mr, Kelly (Acually DOCTOR Kelly he was a professor of English at the University of Tennessee)had become an enormous fan of TAGS when he was an undergraduate at Duke University. He had become known for his scholarly writings of the Victoria era, so a book on TAGS was quite a departure.

However, it has enjoyed an enduring success. SERENDIPPPPPITY STRIKES!

It so happened Bob Sweeney was on the lot directing a "Love Boat" episode. We nabbed him at lunch break and all revelled in swapping stories, a writer/director/critic symposium. It was great!

I kept in touch sporarically with the Kelly's, but somehoiw didn't get around to telling them we had dropped his name into "Return." The first he knew was when he was watching "Return to Mayberry" on it's premiere showing..and suddenly up it his total surprise and delight.

Admittedly a small thing, but it did serve as thanks to this most gifted, affable , honorable Mayberrian.

Harvey Bullock

How many public domain episodes of TAGS exist?

16 episodes from The Andy Griffith Show's 3rd season are in public domain. They are:

High Noon in Mayberry The Loaded Goat Class Reunion Rafe Hollister Sings Opie and the Spoiled Kid The Great Filling Station Robbery Andy Discovers America Aunt Bee's Medicine Man The Darlings Are Coming Andy's English Valet Barney's First Car The Rivals A Wife For Andy Dogs, Dogs, Dogs Mountain Wedding The Big House

There are no other episodes in public domain.

How many people appeared in both TAGS and The Brady Bunch?

I can think of 15. They are...

  1. Alan Melvin (Numerous episodes of each, best know as Alice's boyfriend Sam the Butcher).
  2. Hal Smith (Was in 2 episodes of TBB. One as a store Santa Claus and the other as the host of a kids show called Cartoon King).
  3. Burt Mustin (Played a man who wrote a book on Jesse James that came to the Bradys house to tell Bobby he was not a good guy).
  4. Mary Treen (Rose and other Mayberry ladies and played Alice's friend Kay who filled in for her when she stopped working for the Bradys in one episode).
  5. Herb V iagran (Bookie Barber and was in 2 epiodes of the Bradys as a store clerk and DMV test giver for Marcia).
  6. Robert Emhardt (Malcolm Tucker and Mr. Foster, played a judge in an episode of TBB).
  7. Jackie Coogan (Was the person suing Carol Brady in that same episode and also played a man who wouldn't sign a petition to save the neighborhood park).
  8. Steve Dunnel (Announcer when Barney comes back to town and dates Teena Andrews and was in 2 episoded of TBB, one as an old boyfriend of Alice and the other as host of the tv show that the kids sang on).
  9. J. Pat O'Malley (The man who tried to con Mrs. Mendlebright also played Carol Brady's father in the pilot episode).
  10. Dabbs Greer (The minister who married Mike and Carol, but like William Schallert, he was in EVERY tv show).
  11. Jay Novello (Attorney when Otis sues the county and jewel thief in Guest of Honor, played Peter Brady's boss when he worked at a bike shop).
  12. Russell Schulmam (Bully who picks on Mike Jones and also played a bully who fought Peter Brady).
  13. Hoke Howell (Original Dud played a gas station attendent when the Bradys went to The Grand Canyon).
  14. Ken Berry (Was in an episode where he and his wife adopted 3 boys of different races. It was a pilot that was never bought).
  15. Jackie Joseph (Played the head of the adoption agency in that episode).

Submitted by John Floyd