The Andy Griffith Show premiered exactly fifty years ago on CBS on Monday, October 3rd, 1960. The beloved, long-running, highly-rated sitcom began as an episode of The Danny Thomas Show (“Danny Meets Andy Griffith”), broadcast in February 1960. Both Ron “Ronny” Howard and Frances Bavier appeared alongside Andy Griffith in the episode, although Bavier was not playing Aunt Bee, the character she would portray on The Andy Griffith Show and Mayberry R.F.D..
The Andy Griffith Show ran for eight seasons–the first five in black and white and the remaining three in color–and 249 episodes. It spawned a spin-off, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., in September 1964. When the series ended after the 1967-1968 season, it was followed by a sequel, Mayberry R.F.D., which ran through the 1970-1971 season.
Daytime repeats of The Andy Griffith Show were aired on CBS under the title Andy of Mayberry from the fall of 1964 through the summer of 1968. A reunion telefilm, Return to Mayberry, was broadcast in April 1986. A pair of reunion specials, “The Andy Griffith Show Reunion” and “The Andy Griffith Show: Back to Mayberry,” aired in February 1993 and November 2003, respectively.