Andy Died

Every boomer knows this guy. We grew up watching him on television in the role of the sheriff of the fictitious town of Mayberry, modeled after the real town of Mt Airy, North Carolina where actor Andy Griffith was born. His character was a role model for nice guys and fatherhood, while the town provided a glimpse of the simple life in small town America.

Gen Xers might recognize Andy more from his role as Matlock, a big-city lawyer with small town roots, values and attitude. Andy Griffith’s career spanned the decades from the 1950s into the 2000s, as stand-up comic, story-teller, singer, actor (playing both good guys and bad) and producer to his more recent cameo appearance in Brad Paisley’s 2008 video for “Waiting On A Woman.”

Andy lived the later years of his life in another small North Carolina town called Manteo, located across the bridge from the popular Outer Banks beach resort, not far from the site of his first acting jobs in an on-going tourist-season play about Sir Walter Raleigh called The Lost Colony.

Here’s a short version of the theme song from The Andy Griffith Show, a song that gets stuck in your head. Bet you can whistle the rest of it.

And here’s the Brad Paisley video, one of Andy’s last acting jobs. This was shot at an outlet mall in Nags Head. I’ve been to that mall so many times that I recognized it instantly, even before looking up details to verify that I was correct about the site. There is something eerily appropriate about watching this video in the context of his death and also as a salute to small-town America on the eve of Independence Day.