A fan's tribute to Andy
by Jennifer Cohron
Oct 10, 2010 | 2154 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jennifer Cohron
Jennifer Cohron
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I had a different column planned for this week about our Women's World edition that comes out on Thursday.

Then I found out that "The Andy Griffith Show" turns 50 years old this month. As one of its many fans, I couldn't let the anniversary pass by unnoticed in George "Goober" Lindsey's hometown paper.

I know I'm not alone when I say that watching "The Andy Griffith Show" is a tradition in my family.

When I moved out to marry Zac, I took our collection of "Andy Griffith" season set DVDS with me. My dad didn't appreciate that very much. So I gave them back.

Zac doesn't know it yet, but he's buying me the complete series for Christmas.

There are too many good episodes to pick a favorite, but "The Loaded Goat" is a classic in my family.

Ernest T. Bass is like a lovable cousin, and we can quote him like he's Shakespeare. That is a credit to the talent of actor Howard Morris because he was only in five of the show's 249 episodes.

One of my favorite characters when I was young was Gomer Pyle. I remember being sad once after watching the episode where Gomer joins the Marines because I thought I wouldn't see him again for a while. Thankfully, reruns aren't always aired in order so Gomer was back in the next episode.

Otis and Floyd were certainly special characters too. Floyd reminds me of a neighbor we had while I was growing up, even though I think he enjoyed an occasional "snootful" like Otis.

One of my personal favorite episodes is "A Plaque for Mayberry," where the town wants to honor the descendant of a Revolutionary War hero -- until they find out that it's Otis.

When Otis is late for the ceremony, certain snobs assume that he is drunk again. Then he arrives sober and well-dressed and delivers a heartwarming speech.

Actor Hal Smith and the show's writers helped Otis become much more than the town drunk. They also gave him an appropriate ending in the reunion movie, where he has been sober for a long time and is enjoying a new life as the driver of the town's ice cream truck.

I've always felt like the character of Howard Sprague is unjustly overlooked. His book smarts gave him a unique place in the cast, yet he also had the heart of a real Mayberrian.

If anyone could have gone on to bigger and better things, it was Howard. The fact that he lives in Mayberry is proof that everyone isn't "stuck" in a small town. Some of us choose to be here.

Of course, everyone loves Barney. Anyone who doubts Don Knotts' importance to the series can look to the brief career of Barney's replacement, Warren. Warren must have been so unpopular with Barney's fans that the writers didn't even feel the need to explain where he went after his few appearances as Andy's deputy.

I would probably be run out of town if I didn't discuss my favorite episode starring Jasper's own George "Goober" Lindsey. It's an episode in the last season called "Goober Goes to an Auto Show."

Goober, who now owns the gas station, tries too hard to impress an old, slightly arrogant friend by claiming to own a chain of stations. Later, Andy and Goober see the man working at a gas station as a mechanic. Instead of confronting his friend about his lies, Goober looks the other way and lets the man keep his pride.

Then there were the stars of the show -- homespun hero Andy, lovable Aunt Bee and All-American Opie.

One morning before work last week, I put on an episode that I had borrowed from my parent's house. Wyatt was on the couch beside me.

When the theme song started, he tried to sit up and look around me to get a better look at the television. And, I like to think, a new generation of fans was born.