Andy Griffith (1926-2012)

Television legend Andy Griffith passed away this morning at the age of 86. Best known for sitcom The Andy Griffith Show (1960-1968) and drama Matlock (1986-1996), Griffith also appeared in a number of feature films, like A Face in the Crowd and No Time For Sergeants (where he recreated a role he originated on the stage), as well as numerous made-for-TV movies. During his lengthy career he also had a number of television flops, including The Headmaster, The New Andy Griffith Show and Salvage-1.

You can read more about The Headmaster here. In 1998, Griffith sat down for a two-and-a-half hours with the Archive of American Television, which you can find here. A brief excerpt, in which Griffith discusses the legacy of The Andy Griffith Show, is embedded below:

TV Land, TCM and Me-TV have announced tributes to Griffith. Details on the Me-TV marathon can be found here. TV Land will air a five hour marathon tomorrow from 8AM to 1PM and a nine hour marathon on Saturday, July 7th from 11AM to 8PM. TCM will air four of Griffith’s movies (A Face in the Crowd, No Time for Sergeants, Hearts of the West and Onionhead) on Wednesday, July 18th beginning at 8PM.

Obituaries can be found at The New York Times and Variety.

6 Replies to “Andy Griffith (1926-2012)”

  1. One of the “forgotten” series of Mr. Andy Griffith was a little short-run series called ‘Adams of Eagle Lake’ which ABC ran in the 1974-75 season.

    This series had its genesis in a two-hour 1974 backdoor pilot titled WINTER KILL where Mr. Griffith played a character Sheriff Sam McNeill, and the pilot aired Monday April 15th, 1974 to an impressive 23.3HH/37% rating.

    Based on the Nielsen success of the backdoor, Mr. Martin Starger, President of ABC ordered up two episodes for a short-run test series titled ‘Adams of Eagle Lake’ and for the series, the lead characters name was changed to Sheriff Sam Adams. Mr. Nick Nolte, who played a supporting character named Dave Michaels in the pilot was elevated to Officer Jerry Troy in the series.

    The episodes of ‘Adams of Eagles Lake’ were broadcast as follows:

    s1e1 Jan.10/1975 “Home is the Coward” 24.7HH/45%
    s1e2 Feb.26/1975 “Treasure Chest Murder” 16.7HH/28%

    Based on these two airings, ‘Adams of Eagles Lake’ was officially recorded as a limited run series for the 1974-75 season, finishing with a 20.7HH average in a 26th place tie with ‘Medical Center’ and ‘Gunsmoke’.

    When Mr. Fred Silverman moved into the role as chief of entertainment at ABC in June 1975, he skedded an encore run of these episodes for late summer, and if I remember correctly, he aggressively courted Mr. Griffith and the producers to do a “second” season. The encore episodes did brilliantly, and their encore average of 15.4HH outrated every “original” summer series that year with the exception of ‘The ABC Summer Movie’ on Monday evenings which averaged 16.6HH and CBS’s ‘Moses, the Lawgiver’ series which averaged 16.2HH:

    s1e1 Aug.23/1975 “Home is the Coward” R 15.7HH/36%
    s1e2 Aug.30/1975 “Treasure Chest Murder” R 15.1HH/35%

    I’m not sure why a second season of ‘Adams of Eagles Lake’ episodes never came to be. Mr. Silverman even skedded an encore of the pilot for the following summer on August 22nd, 1976 and it garnered a 20.1HH/38% rating, which was a spectacular rating for a summer encore that must have made Mr. Silverman even more determined to get more episodes of ‘Adams of Eagles Lake’.

    But no further episodes were coming, but Mr. Silverman did succeed in getting Mr. Griffith to commit to another ABC backdoor pilot SALVAGE, which aired and was picked up to series after Mr. Silverman had departed for NBC.

    Given the enormous contributions that Mr. Andy Griffith made to the bottom lines of CBS and ABC with his successful series ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ and ‘Matlock’, I do hope a tribute special is in the works for airing on at least one of those two networks. Mr. Griffith’s stature in the business was such that he always placed atop the TVQs, which rates “likeability” of television performers by the viewing audience…he was right up there with Miss Lucille Ball, Mr. Bob Hope and Mr. James Arness.

    1. Sam McNeill in WINTER KILL, and Sam Adams in the subsequent series, ADAMS OF EAGLE LAKE, and Abel Marsh in the two NBC TV-Movies with the same format, THE GIRL IN THE MEPTY GRAVE and THE DEADLY GAME, was not a sheriff, a county position, but a police chief, a municipal position.

  2. I should have researched ‘Adams of Eagle Lake’ more thoroughly before posting the above, but I did find a commentary string posting by FilmNoirOnline in IMDB which sheds some additional light on the behind-the-scenes in the production of ‘Adams of Eagle Lake’ and its backdoor pilot WINTER KILLS:

    Apparently, even though the first two episodes were filmed as one-hour standalones, the producers envisioned developing it as a four-movies-a-year mystery series a la ‘Columbo’ at the time.

    Given all the passionate views on this thread, ABC might want to pay tribute to Mr. Andy Griffith by airing the two episodes of ‘Adams of Eagle Lake’ back-to-back on some Saturday evening this summer. The WINTER KILL backdoor pilot is already available at Amazon at $24.29 ($3.99 if rented via download):

  3. The Headmaster might have been scheduled too soon after CBS’s infamous “Rural Purge”, as Griffith was too closely associated with Mayberry at that point. Perhaps later in the 70’s, it MIGHT have had a chance.

    RIP to a trusted TV friend…

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