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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » Happy Birthday Aunt Bea! (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Chessmann
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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.
My ex-cat was named "Muffin". "Vomit" would be a better name for her. AKA "The Evil Ball of Fur".
mastermindreader
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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.
Bob1Dog
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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.
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mastermindreader
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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.


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.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Andy_Griffith_Show
gypsyfish
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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.
Chessmann
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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.
My ex-cat was named "Muffin". "Vomit" would be a better name for her. AKA "The Evil Ball of Fur".
Michael Baker
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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.


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.
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