The death of Andy Griffith last week was sad news for those of us who “grew up” with The Andy Griffith Show and watched it thousands of times in reruns.
Though he starred in several movies and television shows, including the popular “Matlock” series, he will always be Andy Taylor to me and countless others across America.
Griffith’s passing, along with his co-star Don Knotts (Deputy Barney Fife) a few years ago, signaled the end of an era for television fans.
The show, which was based in the fictional town of Mayberry, N.C., remained popular for decades after its last episode.
The Andy Griffith Show captured small town America at its best — a time when life was simple and you could depend on your friends and neighbors.
You could watch the Andy Griffith Show and not have to worry about inappropriate language. Andy and Barney and all the gang showed you could have fun and that you could laugh without lewd behavior or language. That can’t be said of the majority of television programs today.
The Andy Griffith Show also reminded us of the morals and values that made this country what it is. Andy Taylor always found time for his son Opie and was able to rescue his best friend Barney time after time from embarrassing situations while leaving Barney with his dignity in tact.
As the years have gone by I have watched fewer and fewer network television shows. There are only a handful that I watch with any regularity.
But over the weekend I discovered a program that gives me some hope for television.
The show is “Duck Dynasty” which airs on the A&E Network.
It is a “reality” show based on a self-described “red neck” family in Louisiana who built a million dollar business selling duck calls.
After watching five or six episodes I am hooked. It’s a little “hokey” but it is hilarious. The characters make you laugh. At the same time there are signs of morals and family values in the programs even though I would not describe it as “Mayberry clean.”
But almost every episode that I watched ended with the family at the dinner table with someone praying. One episode even had the grandfather advising his grandson to find “a woman who can cook and carries a Bible in her hand” when looking for a spouse.
There will never be another “Andy and Barney” but this show gives me some hope.
The simple days of Mayberry are gone forever. But thanks to DVDs and reruns, Andy and Barney will remain with us forever.
And, hopefully, we will see more television shows that remind us there are still people in our country today who have a moral compass. We just need more of those programs.