‘The Andy Griffith Show’: Why None of the Characters on the Show Had a Traditional Family

Members of the 'Andy Griffith Exhibition'
Members of CBS ‘Andy Griffith Show’ via Getty Images

Must be on list of favorite family programs, Andy Griffith Exhibition reveal everything but “Normal” nuclear families.

The main character Andy Taylor was leading a life with his young son Opie in the town of Mayberry with his aunt Bee by his side.

The concept of family seems to have been in the eye of the keeper in Mayberry.

No one in Mayberry was married

One of the moderators of the show later in the series was Jack Dodson who played the boy Howard Sprague.

Dodson told author Richard Kelly about his 1981 Andy Griffith Exhibition a book that the marriage in Mayberry just wouldn’t have worked.

“If the series isn’t going to be about marriage,” he explained, “it’s a terrible barrier for the writer to have married characters because it takes away the writer’s freedom to create situations.

“A character has to move from one environment to another,” said Dodson, “and he would not always believe if he were married.”

Another actor agreed with Dodson’s assessment of the introduction of married life in Mayberry. Don Knotts who was known as Barney Fife Deputy Sheriff Andy Griffith refused to marry Andy Taylor’s character.

Knotts’ feeling on the subject was that, if the main character married, he would change the show in every way.

Ron Howard says Mayberry was anything but traditional

Ron Howard, left, with Don Knotts and Andy Griffith
Ron Howard, left, with Don Knotts and Andy Griffith CBS through Getty Images

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In a 2006 interview with the American Television Archive, Howard who did not play a small Opie Taylor on the series, went under the surface of the show and revealed what he always felt the show was all about.

“I’ve come to realize, in a bigger way, that the show is about community as a family,” he said. “Ironically, none of the characters in the show have a traditional family.

“Andrew’s wife, who will be treated as Danny Thomas’s pilot, has died. A new family is raised when his aunt Andrew takes over the role of mother of the house. But it’s not a traditional family. ”

Howard gave examples: “Don [Knotts’ character] is lame. The other characters are bachelors. Otis has a wife who is drunk but you will never see her. Ironically, it is thought of as one of the last family shows. But, ironically, what it really says is a community being a family. The town of Mayberry is a big family. ”

Andrew Taylor eventually married

Andy Griffith, right, with Aneta Corsaut on 'Mayberry, RFD' in 1969
Andy Griffith, right, with Aneta Corsaut on ‘Mayberry, RFD’ in 1969 | CBS Photo Archive / Getty Image Archive / Images

As much as Andy Griffith Exhibition he stopped marrying boy Andy Taylor, finally tying the knot with his longtime girlfriend, Helen Crump.

“Helen Crump solved the show’s problem with women,” says author Kelly. “She was engaging, understanding, warm-hearted, sensitive and always very fit. She was not a sexual creature that had to be dealt with in romantic terms. She was ‘Andrew’s daughter’, but it is possible that she was his sister. ”

Andrew and Helen got married and had a baby, not on the Griffith Show, but on their spinoff series, Mayberry, RFD

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