5 little Andy Griffith Show details you never noticed in ''Barney and the Governor''
Learn how Sir Walter Raleigh and Laura Petrie's dad tie into this episode.
"Barney and the Governor" is one of the great showcases of Don Knotts' comedic skills. His by-the-books Deputy Fife shows his naive fastidiousness by giving a parking ticket to the most powerful man in the state. Later, after drinking from a water cooler spiked by town drunk Otis Campbell, Barney stumbles around in a rare drunken stupor. The physical comedy is golden. Plus, Barney even barks, "Nip it!"
Yep, this episode sure is a gem of The Andy Griffith Show. Speaking of gems, if you look closely, you will discover sparkling little details.
1. Andy Griffith discovered this actor who was working his former job.
Andy Griffith may be most associated with Mount Airy, his small hometown in North Carolina, but the actor has just as much history with Roanoke Island in the state's Outer Banks. Griffith married his first wife, Barbara Edwards, on the island. On July 3, 2012, the TV icon passed away in his 70-acre property on Roanoke. Griffith first got the acting bug as a student at UNC-Chapel Hill. In the summers, the budding thespian spent his summers on Roanoke Island performing in the historical play The Lost Colony. He began as a soldier in 1947 and worked his way up the cast to play the lead, Sir Walter Raleigh, by 1949, a role he kept through 1953. After becoming a star, Griffith made a nostalgic return to Roanoke and watched a production of The Lost Colony. A young man named Bob McQuain was Sir Walter Raleigh. Griffith liked what he saw. He befriended McQuain and gave him several small roles on The Andy Griffith Show. Look for him as a postal worker who comes to admire the governor's Cadillac in "Barney and the Governor."
2. Burt Mustin is readying a Curly Kayoe comic strip in a Mount Airy newspaper.
Burt Mustin is another fascinating minor player of Mayberry, most often appearing as Jud Fletcher. He sits with other townsmen jawing outside the post office. Jud flips through a newspaper in the opening scene. A close look at the paper reveals two fun facts. A small print ad proves this is, in fact, a paper from Mount Airy, North Carolina, Griffith's hometown. What a nice detail over a more easily procured Los Angeles Times. Secondly, zoom in on the funny pages and you'll see a comic strip by Sam Leff. It's few panels from Curly Kayoe, a boxing serial that dates back to 1945.
3. The Governor was also Laura Petrie's dad on The Dick Van Dyke Show.
What about the governor himself? Do you recognize him? Carl Benton Reid played the fictional head of North Carolina in this 1963 episode. Around the same time, he could be found on another sitcom. Reid also played the father of Mary Tyler Moore's character on The Dick Van Dyke Show! Look for "Mr. Meehan" (her maiden name) in "What's in a Middle Name?" and "The Plot Thickens."
4. Ron Howard's dad was the chauffeur.
Speaking of dads… a real-life celebrity father plays a key role in "Barney and the Governor." Rance Howard, father of Ron Howard (not to mention Clint Howard, the little cowboy "Leon" of Mayberry), drives the big black Cadillac belonging to the governor. Barney serves him with a parking ticket. Rance was frequently around the set with his sons, which is why you can also find him as another driver — a bus driver — in "Cousin Virgil." He also turned up in "A Black Day for Mayberry" and "The Rumor."
5. The license plate reads "DRLVE GAFTDEYE NOTH CAPOLNJA."
Producers of 1963 black-and-white television probably did not count on HD decades later. The insert shot of the governor's license plate perhaps did not look fishy when the episode originally aired. In the gloriously crisp remastered version, however, you can see the nonsensical details. No wonder Mayberry is not in the real North Carolina — it sits in Noth Capolnja. Is that in Eastern Europe?