Ron Howard believed that Andy Griffith was a natural leader
"[Andy] poured everything he had into [the show]. He was the rock on which the show was built in every way."
When you hear the words family and comedy, The Andy Griffith Show should be the first series that comes to mind. It's a sitcom that'll never grow old, keeping classic television alive for years to come even though it ended over fifty years ago.
Andy Griffith was a beloved actor that valued his craft and the environment around him. He ensured that everything felt right when filming because the show was vital to him. According to Ron Howard, Griffith was a natural leader.
Howard played Opie, the son of Andy Taylor, and he was only six years old when he appeared in the 1960 backdoor pilot. Although he was young when he started, Howard remembers what it was like working with Griffith. He told his story in an interview with the Television Academy.
"Andy, um, is a very intelligent guy. Sort of self-schooled," Howard began. "He was a teacher who kind of taught himself to be an entertainer. I don't know if he ever studied acting anywhere or not. But, he built his own sense. His own aesthetic. And, it came from a place of logic for him."
Howard believed Griffith was one of those entertainers who could quickly get the attention of an audience, even years after the show ended, saying, "He's ambitious about it. He wants to entertain."
Life on set can be different for child actors than for adult actors. They view certain aspects of the industry differently, but Ron Howard could easily understand the type of person Griffith was on set.
"He could be very, very serious. The show was important to him," he added. "[Andy] poured everything he had into [the show]. He was the rock on which the show was built in every way. He was the one that established the tone of the set, which was playful when it was appropriate to be having fun. But when the time came to make the show, to [film] the shot, to get the joke, that was pretty serious."
Howard learned from the series that show business could be fun, but there was also a responsibility. He believed that it was an opportunity that couldn't be wasted.
Yet, no matter what, Griffith made sure that everything was right. "Andy was a real, great natural leader even though he wasn't a producer on the show or formally a writer. He was a tremendous contributor."