When the cast and crew of The Andy Griffith Show ventured out to Franklin Canyon, near Beverly Hills, to film the opening credits in summer 1960, their plan called for Andy and Opie to amble along a dirt road with their fishing poles and for Opie to pause and hurl a rock into the water. Alas, six-year-old Ron Howard could not throw quite so well as he could act.
Little Ron Howard was only six years old at the time that they filmed the opening credits scene, so when the time came for him to throw the rock into the lake his small arms couldn’t hurl it far enough. They needed to come up with a solution to either get him to throw the rock far enough or have someone else do it. They came up with a great solution – a prop man hid in the bushes and threw the rock that made the splash, timing it perfectly to look as if Opie actually threw it. TV magic at its finest!
Andy and Don Were Pals In Real Life
Andy Griffith and Don Knotts were best friends both on the show and off. Their long lasting friendship began in the mid-’50s when the two met in New York City while co-starring in the Broadway play ‘No Time for Sergeants’. It was Don's Broadway debut where he played Corporal Manual Dexterity opposite Andy, who was leading the show as country bumpkin, Will Stockdale.
The two comrades stayed close friends for the rest of their lives. Andy even knelt beside Don Knotts’ bedside during his last days in 2006. Hollywood friendships don’t get any more authentic than these two! This duo is one for the ages.
Andy Griffith Never Was Comfortable With Onscreen Romance
Andy had several love interests throughout the show's run, but his first romantic relationship on the series was Ellie Walker (Elinor Donahue), a newcomer to town who worked in her uncle's drug store.
Elinor Donahue was featured in 12 episodes of the show as pharmacist Ellie Walker. She even got a mention in the opening credits! Elinor's character was intended to be a love interest for Sheriff Andy Taylor, but after just one season, Donahue decided to ask for a release from her three-year contract. The reason for her decision was that she never felt true chemistry with Andy Griffith. Griffith later admitted that it was his fault because he had a hard time showing affection on screen, and as a result, the relationship did not appear to be real or believable. So Elinor's character disappeared without explanation to the viewer.
The Real Reason Barney Fife Never Really Showed Up After Season 5
When the show first premiered, Andy informed Don Knotts and the rest of the Griffith Show cast that he only planned on the show running for five seasons so they each signed contracts for five years. At the end of those five years, when season five commenced, Don began looking for other work and quickly found it.
Knotts agreed to a five-picture film deal with Universal. Then, sponsors and network staff persuaded Andy to return for a sixth season. (And a seventh, and an eighth, as it turned out.)
Don Knotts Was Sent Bullets Of All Kinds
One of the classic running jokes in The Andy Griffith Show is that Barney is never allowed to carry more than one bullet in his gun. This was because Barney couldn't be trusted with a loaded gun (for fear that he’d shoot his own foot or worse) and Andy would relegate him to a single bullet, which he would often have to take away.
In the spirit of an ongoing inside joke, apparently fans of the show from all over the country felt so bad for him that they sent Don Knotts actual bullets! It was both a chide and a gesture of endearment. “Bullet for my Valentine,” anyone?