Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Sheriff Of Mayberry!


The passing of Andy Griffith calls to mind many hours of enjoying The Andy Griffith Show, arguably the most perfect comedy television show ever crafted for the medium. I have never seen better comedy timing in any show, movie or otherwise than between Giffith and Don Knotts. They were masterful.

Over twenty years ago when I was just starting out as a teacher, I had to leave my wife and girls for a week at a time to work. I was forced to live in a boarding house during the school week and commute home to my family weekly, and to fill in the time, I watched quite a bit of television. Without cable, the options were thin, but one independent station offered up nightly hour-long blocks of The Andy Griffith Show. I'd seen all the shows before, many times, but in that isolated situation I watched the shows with a focus that I'd never done before, seeing the early episodes over and over again during the year. I really developed an appreciation for the craftsmanship of the show.

It didn't hurt either that the boarding house I lived in was filled with furniture from the period. I was to some extent, living that Mayberry life while watching it on screen. I grew up in the country, in a small town demographically very like Mayberry and of course the TV town is mythical in many ways, but there is a core truth to that show which supersedes the details. Griffith and his colleagues created a masterpiece.

I remember too Griffith's outstanding comedy sketch "What it Was, Was Football". Here's a presentation of that canny bit of comedy with some artwork from MAD magazine by George Woodbridge. It's a comedy classic featuring the naive homespun yokel that Griffith made his career on, but which characterization he wisely put on the shelf when he realized the humor in Mayberry was less in his character than in its other peculiar but recognizable residents.




To read the complete MAD magazine version from which the artwork comes see this link.

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