Andy Griffith's manager cruised around in a Rolls-Royce with multiple carphones

Richard O. Linke discovered Andy over the radio late one night.

Image: The Ohio Alumnus, March 1962 / Archive.org

Richard O. Linke was working publicity at Capitol Records in 1953 when he came around a recording that would change his life. It was not some bleeding-edge rock 'n' roll bopper. It was not some lost Sinatra number. It was a hillbilly comedy routine.

A native of the New York City area, Linke was perhaps not the most likely candidate to swoon at the Southern charms of Andy Griffith. He was listening to the radio late one night when he picked up a signal coming from the South. The far-away station was playing "What It Was, Was Football." The P.R. man adored this spoken word performance. In the bit, Griffith played up his naive farmboy persona, describing a football game as a spectator who had never seen the befuddling sport.

Linke immediately flew to North Carolina to sign this young comic named Andy Griffith. He bought the rights to "What It Was, Was Football" for $10,000 and inked Griffith to a contract for $300 a week, The New York Times reported.

And what were Griffith's first impressions of Linke? "His teeth are too close together," the future television legend thought.

As Griffith's longtime manager, Richard O. Linke would have a hand in producing TV series featuring his workhorse, including, naturally, The Andy Griffith Show, as well as its spin-offs, not to mention Headmaster and Matlock.

On the business side, Linke would end up managing a stable of Mayberry talents. He backed the career of Jim Nabors. His other clients included Jerry Van Dyke and Ken Berry — both of whom appeared on The Andy Griffith Show, of course.

Linke, an Ohio University alum, saw his talent as a product. Instant decaf coffee, specifically.

"I'm in every aspect of my clients' careers. It's like a marriage," Linke told Television Magazine in August 1967. "I counsel and advise and I market them just like General Foods markets Sanka off a shelf."

In that profile, we learned another fun fact about this colorful talent guru. 

"Linke collects 15% of the income he brings his clients, enough to support a multitelephone Rolls-Royce from which he conducts most of his business," the article revealed.

Mind you, this was 1967, when carphones were not exactly common, unless your name was Peter Gunn, Amos Burke or Batman.

And to think, it all began with a late-night radio broadcast. What if there had been a storm interfering with the signal that night?

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rikkirat 8 days ago
Mannix had a car phone and Perry White from the Adventures of Superman had one too.
PeterGuerin 12 days ago
Aw. come on! Who could forget Jim Rockford from The Rockford Files having a car phone? It would kind of look awkward today to see Rockford on a smartphone, though.
kcv70 PeterGuerin 7 days ago
Rockford did not have a car phone. The character was purposefully portrayed as always broke.
Gary 13 days ago
In the mid 70s in Annapolis my girlfriend and I were sometimes able to pick up CKLW which was a station she listened to back when she had lived in Michigan
daDoctah 13 days ago
*1967, when carphones were not exactly common, unless your name was Peter Gunn, Amos Burke or Batman*

Or a year or so later, Joe Mannix.
Pacificsun daDoctah 13 days ago

😉 Just for fun, first car phone (weighed 80 lbs) in 1946, over the Bell System first used in St. Louis.

Here's a list of how it was popularized on TV.
Richard Diamond, Private Detective (1957–1960) Sixty years ago, Richard Diamond became the first major TV character to regularly use a car phone. ...

Peter Gunn (1958–61) Blake Edwards scored another noir hit with his jazz-loving Peter Gunn character. ...

Burke's Law (1963–66) ...

Batman (1966–68) ...

Mannix (1967–75) ...

Cannon (1971–76)

And don't forget MeTV's own article (2017) "These 6 cool TV detectives had car phones decades before you did!"
Pacificsun Pacificsun 13 days ago
Here's the link to that MeTV story!
https://www.metv.com/lists/these-6-cool-tv-detectives-had-car-phones-decades-before-you-did
dmagoon Pacificsun 13 days ago
Maxwell Smart had a "shoe phone", which was as portable as a cellphone.
Pacificsun dmagoon 13 days ago
😉 Well I guess the fun in this would be to name the imaginary (futuristic) communication devices as well. No doubt ST's communicator was the first cell phone. But then Dick Tracy had a wrist watch device. MFU had cigarette case and later a pen communicator.

Anybody else remember more examples??
Max used a steering wheel phone in episode #17: "Kisses For Kaos."
texasluva Pacificsun 12 days ago
There are a couple of examples of someone using a type of cell phone in 1938. There is footage of this young woman talking into a device which appears to be communications device (cell phone type). You can forget the time traveler stories and there was an explanation given a year later. The woman was a grand mother of a certain individual whom claimed that the factory DuPont was experimenting with a type of phone and she was talking into it while walking. There are several things that do not add up.
1. The transistor was not even invented until like a decade later.
2. A phone with tubes or like a walkie talkie would have to be huge (some stated to be 25 pounds)
3. DuPont was not know for an electronics division.
4. Does not pan out DuPont if working on something like that would just hand it out to a 17 year old.
So what is the real answer to this? Optical illusion? Someones fantasy of doctoring a video? Photoshop?
Pacificsun texasluva 12 days ago
Very clever. Thanks for the research!!
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