Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Andy Griffith, We Bid You Farewell

The Flaming Nose has been rather dormant lately (sorry!) as its writers have been traveling and working and otherwise buried in the minutia of life. But it would be terribly out of character for a classic TV blog to stay silent for the passing of one of the all time greatest TV (and film) characters, Andy Griffith. Born in Mt. Airy, North Carolina in 1926, Mr. Griffith died today on July 3rd at the age of 86. See this older Nose-Talgia post for a sense of how sad we are to mark his passing. Andy Griffith was an award winning actor best known for creating a lovely, gentle homage to small town America, (The Andy Griffith show), but also had immense talent as a singer-songwriter and serious dramatic actor (A Face in the Crowd). Andy Griffith could play a knee slapping country boy or a menacing Hollywood ladder climber with equal aplomb. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005, after a lifetime career that included nominations for Emmy Awards (Andy Griffith Show), Grammy awards (1996 gospel album) and Tony Awards (No Time for Sergeants).

I was watching The Andy Griffith show just last week on TV Land, and was moved to tears by its simple message. In this particular episode, Barney (the unforgettable deputy played by Don Knotts) gave a slingshot to Opie (child actor turned great Director, Ron Howard). Opie accidentally shoots and kills a mother bird in his front yard. His attempts to make her fly again are so heart rending, I believe that The Andy Griffith show earned its stripes as the first "Dramedy" at that very moment. Opie is miserable until he decides to adopt the orphaned baby birds in order to make things right with nature. He raises them by hand in a cage and wonders if he could keep them as pets, but his wise Dad convinces him that they were meant for the air. Opie sets them free. "That cage sure looks empty now, doesn't it Paw?" he says. "Yeah, but don't the trees look full?", is Andy's lovely reply.

Our lives were full because of Andy Griffith's enduring work. Rest in peace, sir. I picture you at the fishing hole with your dear friend Don Knotts forever.

TV Land has just announced that they will feature a day long Andy Griffith Show marathon tomorrow on July 4th. Let's get it started a bit early on the Nose with this snip from the "Opie the Birdman" episode.