(Close Window)
Topic: Happy Birthday Aunt Bea!
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Dec 14, 2013 09:40AM)
Today is the birthday of Frances Bavier, better known as Aunt Bea on the Andy Griffith show.
She didn't always look like we remember her, as my friend Bobby Torkova pointed out when he sent me the following link:

http://travsd.wordpress.com/2013/12/14/stars-of-vaudeville-847-frances-bavier/


[img]http://travsd.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/francesbavier.jpg[/img]
Message: Posted by: Kevin Connolly (Dec 14, 2013 09:51AM)
Bob...We bever agree on anything, but this is your greatest post ever! ;)
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Dec 14, 2013 09:54AM)
Thanks, Kevin. Good to see we finally found some common ground. (But I've also always enjoyed your Houdini materials.)
Message: Posted by: Marlin1894 (Dec 14, 2013 09:55AM)
Frances Bavier have have been a beautiful young lady once, but that's a picture of Gloria DeHaven. Regardless, big fan of the Andy Griffith Show. Happy Birthday Aunt Bea!
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Dec 14, 2013 10:10AM)
Bummer. You're right! I've been hoaxed:

http://urbanlegends.about.com/od/celebrities/ss/Young-Frances-Bavier-Aunt-Bea.htm
Message: Posted by: balducci (Dec 14, 2013 10:38AM)
From IMDB: Despite her good-hearted image on screen, cast members of The Andy Griffith Show often remember her as difficult, temperamental and somewhat cold. Griffith himself said "There was just something about me she did not like."
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Dec 14, 2013 10:42AM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-14 11:38, balducci wrote:
From IMDB: Despite her good-hearted image on screen, cast members of The Andy Griffith Show often remember her as difficult, temperamental and somewhat cold. Griffith himself said "There was just something about me she did not like."

[/quote]

Maybe she found out about the pickles.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Dec 14, 2013 10:47AM)
On her Wikipedia page, though, Andy Griffith is quoted as saying the Bavier called him many times in the months prior to her death apologizing repeatedly for having been so difficult to work with.

Interesting that in the pilot of "The Andy Griffith Show," which was actually an episode of Danny Thomas's "Make Room for Daddy," Bavier didn't play Aunt Bea but was a distraught townswoman upset because her late husband was buried in a rented suit which she continued to pay rent on because she didn't want anyone to know that he was too cheap to own his own.

It was actually a pretty funny bit. Almost like a vaudeville routine. You can see it here at 3:09 of this video of the pilot:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJ03gX2VD_0&list=PLrISFH0_bcfbBDSSGnbHnyt1WSSlFeibF
Message: Posted by: tommy (Dec 14, 2013 10:53AM)
Thanks anyhow. All them Pin Up girls were beautiful.
Message: Posted by: arthur stead (Dec 14, 2013 12:55PM)
Gloria, Baby! Why wasn't I born 25 years earlier?

On a more serious note, as a young adult I read and studied, and basically devoured an amazing book on film scoring written by Earle Hagen. He composed the theme song for the Andy Griffith Show (and whistled it on the track).

"Scoring For Films - A Complete Text" was a fantastic book examining innovative musical techniques used by Mr. Hagen in some of his other scores, including background music from the "I Spy" series. An acetate disc was included with recorded examples which you could play on a record player. Among others, he also composed the theme song for The Dick Van Dyke Show.
Message: Posted by: Mark Boody Illusionist (Dec 14, 2013 01:19PM)
Being a BIG Dick Van Dyke Show fan I also heard there were actual words to the theme song...written by Morey Amsterdam I believe.

Mark
Message: Posted by: balducci (Dec 14, 2013 01:42PM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-14 11:47, mastermindreader wrote:

It was actually a pretty funny bit. Almost like a vaudeville routine. You can see it here at 3:09 of this video of the pilot:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJ03gX2VD_0&list=PLrISFH0_bcfbBDSSGnbHnyt1WSSlFeibF
[/quote]
In part 3: Andy admits that he has "different standards of punishment for big people rather than for little people" and so he fined a rich guy $100 instead of the designated fine of $5 or $10. What does that make Andy? A commie, an occupy Wall streeter, or ?

:)
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Dec 14, 2013 01:44PM)
Yes. Morey Amsterdam wrote the lyrics to the Van Dyke theme. Here they are:


So you think that you've got troubles?
Well, trouble's a bubble
So tell old Mr. Trouble to get lost!

Why not hold your head up high and
Stop cryin', start tryin'
And don't forget to keep your fingers crossed.

When you find the joy of livin'
Is lovin' and givin'
You'll be there when the winning dice are tossed.

A smile is just a frown that's turned upside down
So smile, and that frown will defrost.

And don't forget to keep your fingers crossed
Message: Posted by: Bazinga (Dec 14, 2013 01:49PM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-14 11:42, Michael Baker wrote:
[quote]
On 2013-12-14 11:38, balducci wrote:
From IMDB: Despite her good-hearted image on screen, cast members of The Andy Griffith Show often remember her as difficult, temperamental and somewhat cold. Griffith himself said "There was just something about me she did not like."

[/quote]

Maybe she found out about the pickles.
[/quote]
Funniest post of the week. Thanks for the laugh.

Bazinga!
Message: Posted by: Kevin Connolly (Dec 14, 2013 05:37PM)
LOL. They got us both Bob! We can dream can't we? :)
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Dec 14, 2013 06:07PM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-14 11:47, mastermindreader wrote:
On her Wikipedia page, though, Andy Griffith is quoted as saying the Bavier called him many times in the months prior to her death apologizing repeatedly for having been so difficult to work with.

Interesting that in the pilot of "The Andy Griffith Show," which was actually an episode of Danny Thomas's "Make Room for Daddy," Bavier didn't play Aunt Bea but was a distraught townswoman upset because her late husband was buried in a rented suit which she continued to pay rent on because she didn't want anyone to know that he was too cheap to own his own.

It was actually a pretty funny bit. Almost like a vaudeville routine. You can see it here at 3:09 of this video of the pilot:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJ03gX2VD_0&list=PLrISFH0_bcfbBDSSGnbHnyt1WSSlFeibF
[/quote]

I haven't looked it up, but I recall the actual first episode (first season, not pilot as you mention) of The Andy Griffith Show was about Aunt Bea coming to live with Andy and Opie.
Message: Posted by: arthur stead (Dec 14, 2013 06:09PM)
Listen to Andy Griffith singing his TV show theme song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PVUit1-0Ck

Music by Earle Hagen & Herbert W. Spencer. Words by Everett Sloane.
Message: Posted by: Daryl -the other brother (Dec 14, 2013 06:33PM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-14 19:07, Michael Baker wrote:
[quote]
I haven't looked it up, but I recall the actual first episode (first season, not pilot as you mention) of The Andy Griffith Show was about Aunt Bea coming to live with Andy and Opie.
[/quote]

You are correct Michael. It was also the only episode where Barney mentions being Andy's cousin.
Message: Posted by: Mark Boody Illusionist (Dec 14, 2013 08:17PM)
Bob

Thanks for the lyrics, I remember hearing Dick singing them on some retospective show. One of the best sitcoms of all time!!! IMHO.

Mark
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Dec 14, 2013 08:37PM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-14 19:33, Daryl -the other brother wrote:
[quote]
On 2013-12-14 19:07, Michael Baker wrote:

I haven't looked it up, but I recall the actual first episode (first season, not pilot as you mention) of The Andy Griffith Show was about Aunt Bea coming to live with Andy and Opie.
[/quote]

You are correct Michael. It was also the only episode where Barney mentions being Andy's cousin.
[/quote]

And you might remember that in the first season both Barney AND Andy were portrayed as bumpkins. Andy didn't become the straight man until the second season. (Andy basically played the same character he portrayed in the hit comedy film "No Time for Sergeants," which brought him to fame a few years earlier after his beginnings as a stand-up comic.)
Message: Posted by: Chessmann (Dec 14, 2013 09:28PM)
I always had the impression that Griffith portrayed Andy Taylor as a bumpkin for at least a couple of seasons.

On another note, I thought that as Andy Taylor and Archie Bunker began to get more serious, the shows began to lose their touch. I stopped watching All In The Family when it became clear that Archie was going down a more serious path.

I don't know why those choices were made, but I could certainly understand them, as actors, wanting to add more depth (or whatever) to their characters. I imagine that doing the same character in the same way for more than a few years could easily become a bit old.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Dec 15, 2013 12:16AM)
I think that the Andy Griffith Show was improved immensely by letting Andy be the straight man to Barney, Floyd, Gomer, Goober, Ernest T. Bass et al. It provided contrast and prevented the whole show from being a farce. The show actually got MORE popular after that change.
Message: Posted by: Bob1Dog (Dec 15, 2013 12:17AM)
I agree with you Chessman.

I believe many TV series begin without a long term plan. I could be wrong, but as a casual observer of TV series in my life, I've noticed that after a few good years, in some cases, many years, the writing just gets stale and they run out of steam. Yet some series get taken off the air with plenty of steam and others are left to wallow in poor writing, changing air times, days and other tricks to keep them popular.

The original Law And Order, in my opinion, even after many character changes, had staying power and was one of the major disappointments to me of a cancelled series despite its lengthy run. And while I'll admit to being a huge fan of Two and a Half Men for the first few years, and despite Charlie Sheen's shortcomings, he was the show. It doesn't work without him, in my opinion and yet it still remains. I refuse to watch it anymore because Ashton Kucher just doesn't cut the series and I can't believe it's still on the air. But what do I know?

I guess I'm rambling, so back to your point Chessman, I think All in the Family, and other great series became victims running out of steam for lack of evolutionary planning and good writing.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Dec 15, 2013 12:40AM)
The Andy Griffith Show ran for eight seasons and in its final year was #1 in the ratings.

[quote]The series never placed lower than seventh in the Nielsen ratings and ended its final season at number one. It has been ranked by TV Guide as the 9th-best show in American television history.[/quote]

As to the change in Andy's character, it happened because he just didn't like the character he played in the first year:

[quote]Initially, Griffith played Taylor as a heavy-handed country bumpkin, grinning from ear to ear and speaking in a hesitant, frantic manner. The style recalled that used in the delivery of his popular monologues such as "What it Was, Was Football". He gradually abandoned the 'rustic Taylor' and developed a serious and thoughtful characterization. Producer Aaron Ruben recalled:

"He was being that marvelously funny character from No Time for Sergeants, Will Stockdale [a role Griffith played on stage and in film]...One day he said, 'My God, I just realized that I'm the straight man. I'm playing straight to all these kooks around me.' He didn't like himself [in first year reruns]...and in the next season he changed, becoming this Lincolnesque character."[3]

As Griffith stopped portraying some of the sheriff's more unsophisticated character traits and mannerisms, it was impossible for him to create his own problems and troubles in the manner of other central sitcom characters such as Lucy in I Love Lucy or Archie Bunker in All in the Family, whose problems were the result of their temperaments, philosophies and attitudes. Consequently, the characters around Taylor were employed to create the problems and troubles, with rock-solid Taylor stepping in as problem solver, mediator, advisor, disciplinarian and counselor.[3] Aunt Bee, for example, was given several wayward romances requiring Andy's intervention, Opie suffered childhood missteps that needed a father's counsel and discipline, and Barney engaged in ill-considered acts on the job that required Sheriff Taylor's professional oversight and reprimand.

Andy Griffith has also said that he realized during the earlier episodes of the program that it was much funnier for him to play the straight man to Knotts' "Barney," rather than his being the originator of the comedic scenes between them.[/quote]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Andy_Griffith_Show
Message: Posted by: gypsyfish (Dec 15, 2013 02:20AM)
Bob, it was worth your being hoaxed to see the pilot show. Thanks do much for posting it. I've been an Andy Griffith Show fan for years and knew that it premiered on the Danny Thomas show, but I'd never seen it.

I've noticed that during the time Andy was a bumpkin, one of his pant legs was usually caught in one of his boots. He and Don Knows were a perfect comedy pair, too, on par with Martin and Lewis and Laurel and Hardy, maybe even Abbot and Costello.

I loved seeing the Dick Van Dyke lyrics. Most shows had lyrics back then even if the themes were instrumental. Gene Roddenberry wrote lyrics for the Star Trek theme, so he could get half the royalties. One of my Dad's favorite shows, Combat, had great lyrics.
Message: Posted by: Chessmann (Dec 15, 2013 10:02AM)
Guess I'm speaking more of the color episodes. There was a transitional stage (iirc) where he lost the very thick dialect, but was still was funnier than the later years (to me).

And, I am only speaking of my own feelings about these shows. Others mileage will vary.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Dec 15, 2013 11:53AM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-15 01:16, mastermindreader wrote:
I think that the Andy Griffith Show was improved immensely by letting Andy be the straight man to Barney, Floyd, Gomer, Goober, Ernest T. Bass et al. It provided contrast and prevented the whole show from being a farce. The show actually got MORE popular after that change.
[/quote]

Their casting director had to have been a genius. That show had some of the greatest character actors ever... at least for the roles they played. Seinfeld also used the "one straight man" formula.

Having a straight man gave The Andy Griffith Show the opportunity to add messages for better living to the episodes. That fact alone is responsible for much of its popularity. It made people want a lifestyle as good and simple as what Mayberry offered.

But, the formula of one straight man to a cast of clowns was the exact opposite of shows like Gilligan's Island, where one funny guy interacted with an island full of straight men. Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C., a direct spin-off of TAGS also used that "one funny guy" formula.

The same formula was discussed being used in "Men in Black". The director was insistent that Will Smith be the only comedic character in the entire cast.