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Reflecting on a TV icon

Jennifer Sprouse • Jul 3, 2012 at 9:34 PM

While the town and the characters of “The Andy Griffith Show” were fictional, the love and laughter the show, and its star, Andy Griffith, brought into homes over the years remains unparalleled for many in our area.

On Tuesday, the TV icon died at 86 years old, but many Johnson City residents were quick to say his jokes and good family values expressed through his various roles will live on.

“I just think he taught good Christian values to people and how to love your family and spread it on to your neighbors,” said Susan Gilham, who was visiting the Johnson City Public Library. “It (‘The Andy Griffith Show’) was just a good family show. Good principles.”

Gilham said another thing she admired from the show was the presence of a strong and stable father figure, portrayed in his character, Sheriff Andy Taylor.

“Even though he was a single dad, he was a dad,” she said. “He taught Opie good things.”

At the Johnson City Seniors’ Center, James Gibson said he has always enjoyed the humor of “The Andy Griffith Show” and still catches an episode or two when reruns are on. He remembered the scenes between Andy and Deputy Barney Fife as some of his favorites.

“He’s always funny,” Gibson said. “Anytime him and Barney got together they had a good time.”

He said that for him the show will never get old.

“It was just good, clean comedy. You could watch it with ... anybody you wanted to –– your family, mixed company,” he said. “You can sit there with the grandkids and watch him and ... you don’t have to worry about him spouting off something he shouldn’t.”

Gibson said he feels a strong connection to the show and that most people from his generation will miss Griffith.

“That was one of the top shows of my generation,” he said. “My generation grew up with him. We’ll never forget him.”

On Tuesday, the Johnson City Press Facebook page asked followers to leave their memories of the show, as well as thoughts of the late actor.

Alice Beck said the show and Griffith set a positive example to its viewers.

“A show for all ages and a man that stood for good (America, God, wholesome entertainment) things we could use lot more of these days,” Beck said.

Other Facebook comments mentioned the show’s many life lessons and the clean image it sustained during its TV reign.

“One of the best shows ever on TV. Could be watched by all ages and never have to worry about bad language or sexual overtones. Lots of life lessons in this program also. Oh, for the simple life again!!!” Merle Bledsoe said.

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