11 little details you might have missed in 'The Andy Griffith Show'
Discover the disappearing beauty shops and upside-down maps of Mayberry.
One of the lessons we learned from The Andy Griffith Show was to appreciate the little things in life. Well, we're taking that rather literally here.
We put a magnifying glass to the screen to show you some small details from the beloved sitcom that might have slipped by your eyes. When you watch The Andy Griffith Show, your attention is rightly on Andy, Barney, Floyd, Opie, Aunt Bee, Helen, etc. So minor little decorative details such as wall hangings go by unnoticed.
Let's zoom in on some Mayberry images that reveal fascinating trivia about the iconic series.
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Andy Griffith wore a bandage on his hand for two episodes after punching a wall.
For two episodes in season two, "Aunt Bee and the Warden" and "The County Nurse," Andy sports a bandage on his right hand. This is quickly explained away onscreen as the result of a scuffle, but in real life, the star had put his fist through a wall in a moment of anger.
Andy has upside-down maps of Idaho and Nevada behind his desk.
Hey, that's not North Carolina. In fact, the map seen here is an inverted representation of Idaho and western Montana. You can recognize the panhandle shape of the state when we flip it. Similarly, in early episodes there is another map to the right showing an angular border. This is the line between Nevada and California, also turned upside-down.
The Mayberry phone book was a Mount Airy phone book.
In the episode "A Black Day for Mayberry," Barney picked up a "Mayberry" phone book. If you look closely, you will see it is actually a directory for Mount Airy, North Carolina, Griffith's hometown which inspired the bucolic TV hamlet.
The police station updated its presidential poster.
In the first season, an illustration of Woodrow Wilson hangs above the bookcase in the police station. It must have been there for a while, as Wilson was president during World War I. In later seasons, this artwork was replaced with a poster showing a timeline of all the presidents, from Washington to Eisenhower. This was in reality the 1952 Woman's Day Chart of Presidents of the United States. Take a look at a real copy here.
This actor's identity remains a mystery to this day.
To this day, the man who played Mr. Schwamp (sometimes called Mr. Schwump) remains a mystery. The silent citizen of Mayberry appears in 26 episodes, and even in a Mayberry R.F.D. and Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. or two. The extra also pops up in the film Christmas in Connecticut. A few years back, a TAGS fan club claimed to reveal the true identity of this man as an April Fool's joke.
Ron Howard's dad twice played a driver.
Yep, that is Rance Howard, father of Ron Howard. He drove a bus in "Cousin Virgil" and chauffeured the governor in "Barney and the Governor." He had bit roles in two other episodes, too. Ron's brother, Clint, also pops up from time to time.
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Mayberry has mysterious license plates.
Speaking of "Barney and the Governor," take a close look at the license plate on the black car. Where is "Noth Capolnia"?
There was briefly a beauty shop adjacent to Floyd's.
Early on in the series, when we first walk into Floyd's Barbershop, just to the left of the waiting chairs, there is a door marked "Beauty Shop." Of course, that is not the only major difference in "Stranger in Town" — there is a different actor playing Floyd, as well. The "Beauty Shop" disappears from the door in later episodes, and the door eventually disappears entirely. What ever happened to that other business?
Don Knotts wore the same suit in his hit movies.
When Barney has a hot date with Thelma Lou, he spiffs up with a white hat, salt-and-pepper blazer and bow tie. This distinctive look became a trademark of Don Knotts, who wore the same outfit in big-screen comedies like The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, The Reluctant Astronaut and How to Frame a Figg, all seen here.
Andy's girlfriend Peggy was the first woman to wear pants on the show.
Played by Joanna Moore, Peggy is the overlooked lover of Andy between Ellie Walker and Helen Crump. She does have one claim to fame, however. She was the first female character wearing pants, as seen here in "Opie's Rival."
Rockne Tarkington was the first black actor to have a speaking role on the show.
Rockne Tarkington, who has a name any football historian would love, was the first black actor with a credited appearance on the show. He would be the only African American to have dialogue on the sitcom, when he shows up late in season seven, in "Opie's Piano Lesson."
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