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FAQ: Locations

Please settle for me once and for all where exactly the lake used on TAGS is located. Is it in California or North Carolina, or where?

Why, it is in Mayberry, of course! No, the lake used is actually in California. In fact, it's in the heart of Los Angeles in the Franklin Canyon area just North of Beverly Hills (you head south on Franklin Canyon Drive at Mulholland Drive). A sign leading to the lake says that the road ends in 800 feet, but it doesn't. Just follow the road to what is now a quiet, little-used park/nature area You'll be able to recognize several landmarks, such as a road and railing next to the lake, but the lake itself appears to be a bit smaller than it was 30 years ago. The accumulation of sediment and the encroachment of vegetation have changed its shoreline and size somewhat over the years. (And, no doubt, Mayberry fans have contributed a few thousand small rocks to the lake bottom during that time as they imitate Opie's familiar tossing of the rock into the lake in the opening credits.)

Using MicroSoft's "Virtual Earth" (it's in Beta so plase let me know if this stops working) you can see exactly where "Myer's Lake is. Don't forget to use the "Bird's Eye" view to see actual photos.

I've always seen curious if there was a city map of Mayberry -- one that might show the layout of Main Street, as far as where the hotel, Walker's Drugstore, Weaver's, Crowley's Market, etc., are located in relation to the Mayberry Courthouse.

Because the sets on the show changed over the years, you won't find one definitive map of the layout of Mayberry. But you'll probably find pretty much what you're looking for in Steve Spignesi's encyclopedic Mayberry, My Hometown. He put together a computer-generated layout of the town based on several episodes With lots of good shots of the town. Steve includes blueprints (including the placement of furniture and fixtures) of key buildings such as the Taylor home and the Courthouse. For a generalized view of what the geography of Mayberry County might look like (based on things said, the maps in the Courthouse and actual North Carolina geography), the Beck Clark Andy Griffith Show Book includes a county map rendering that may be useful to you. (And, say, we just happen to carry both of these books at everyday low prices at Weaver's Department Store.)

You can also check out a great Map done by Jimmy Dean and located on the iMayberry.com site.

Has anybody ever figured out where Mayberry would be located geographically?

It's impossible to pinpoint it precisely since the writers were not always consistent, but here are a few clues: 1. In "Barney and Thelma Lou, Phfftt!" Barney says it's 12 miles to Mt. Pilot (the fictional "Mt. Pilot" is presumably in the same place as the real town of Pilot Mountain, NC.) 2. In "The Luck of Newton Monroe" Goober says it's 60 miles to Raleigh. In "Andy's Rich Girlfriend," Barney says it 55 miles to the capital. 3. In "The Rehabilitation of Otis" and "The Battle of Mayberry" Mayberry is said to be in the northern part of the state. By consulting a map of North Carolina and using these clues, it's possible to get a pretty good idea of where Mayberry is. It's roughly in the same geographic location as Mt. Airy.-- Paul Mulik

How far is Mt. Pilot? I've heard 12 miles and I have also heard it's an hour away.

That's one of those little incosistency glitches. There were so many different writers over the years that it was difficult (if not impossible) for them to know what some other writer may have already established in an earlier episode. The mistakes would never have been noticed during the show's original run, when it was possible to watch just ONE episode per week, but such bloopers are easier to spot nowadays, what with reruns and videotapes and all. In episode 90, Andy says the drive takes about an hour (it takes Ms. Lesch 4 hours.) Later, in episode 124, Barney says it's 12 miles. Both could be correct; if it's a REALLY bad road, it might take an hour to drive 12 miles.--Paul Mulik

What's the deal? Either there is more than one house with a tree stump in the front yard, or that house is moving around!

The house in question was used over and over and over (and over) in numerous TAGS episodes. They had one residential street set on the backlot that they used nearly every time a script called for houses (Andy's house was fifth from the corner.) The house in question was Floyd's house in Divorce, Mountain Style. It was Wallys' house in "Man in a Hurry." It seems like a different person lived in the house in every episode (of course, the other houses on the block were the same way, except for Andy's.) About that stump, for the first couple of seasons, there was a whole tree there. It always had a severe "lean" to it; apparently it finally either fell down, or they had to cut it down out of fear that it was about to fall down on its own. --Paul Mulik

Where was the TV movie Return to Mayberry filmed?

Return to Mayberry was filmed in Los Olivous, CA (a suburb of Santa Barbara, CA) in May 1986.

Was the reference to Saberton in The Pagent a nod to the surburb of Morgantown, VA?

Theresa West quotes a line in the "PAGEANT" episode wherein Barney says that Clara Edwards won't be available to portray her usual starring role in the annual upcoming town pageant because she has to go to Saberton to attend her sick sister.

Thersa asks if I wrote that little factoid in the script knowing that Saberton is a "suburb" of Morgantown W.V., Don Knott's home town. Or was it just a coincidence?

I checked my script copy. On page 12 Barney says "Her sister took sick over in Mebane."

Mebane?...Saberton?...Could she have been stricken in a mobile hospital?

My creaky memory came briefly to life and I remember writing "Mebane." It was a small town in North Carolina which had popped into my mind because it was the home town of Rusty, a classmate who roomed across the hall from me during my freshman year (Fall,1939) at Duke University and unceasingly described it as the fried chicken capital of the known universe.

So how did the name become Saperton. I reckon there was a little friendly change made on the set and Saberton beat out Mebane, chicken wings and all.

Writers often used name of real people and places familiar to them. It was fast, convenient and kind of fun. The legal department would in turn change the name again if they thought it was so unque that it could refer to only one person who might then declare an invasion of privacy or habeas corpus or whatever.

For a short while, writer Jack Elinson and I maintained an underground defamation duel (not on TAGS). I would use Jack's name when a despicable rogue showed up in my script, and he would counter using my name on an equally dastardly wretch in his. On "One Day at a Time" Jack had Bonny Franklin make a list of the most boring dates she ever had. Guess whose name led all.

What the heck, it was a break from staring at the ceiling in search of the ever-elusive story bug. Best to all.

--Harvey Bullock