The creators of The Andy Griffith Show debated how Andy should punish Opie

To spank or not to spank? That was the question after season two.

After The Andy Griffith Show wrapped its second season, the creative minds behind Mayberry looked to shake things up. "We're going to bring in a new mayor," director Bob Sweeney told Hollywood columnist Charles Witbeck in the summer of 1962, "A boss who is younger and less intelligent." 

That's not exactly how it worked out, of course. Parley Baer, later introduced in "Andy and the New Mayor," was neither younger nor noticeably less intelligent.

In that summer between seasons, things were changing but still uncertain. Beyond the mayor, the big topic of debate was Andy's personal life.

"Something has to be done about Andy's love life and his son Opie," Witbeck wrote.

"Bringing up Opie has us all talking," Sweeney admitted. "We all have our personal ideas on how it should be done. For instance, if Opie has disobeyed his father, does he get whipped?"

Producer Aaron Ruben, Sweeney and Andy Griffith himself debated the topic. The men behind the scenes deferred to their star.

"Aaron and I first must know how strongly Andy feels on the subject," Sweeney said. "Andy has to sit down with the boy, and if he feels Opie must be spanked, that is what will happen… it can be done off stage and to a limited degree."

As fans know, Andy Taylor is never seen spanking Opie. So you can surmise how that discussion went between Ruben, Sweeney and Griffith. In fact, the closest he came was in season two, in "Keeper of the Flame," when Andy tells Bee that Opie is in for a whippin' for what he did to Jubal Foster's barn.

A season later, in "Opie and the Spoiled Kid," corporal punishment is handed out on the show — to a different child. Arnold Winkler is literally taken out to the woodshed, leading Opie to apologize to his pa. 

Spanking did occur on the set of The Andy Griffith Show, albeit behind the scenes. Rance Howard, who parented his precocious child star Ronny on set, dished it out. Just once. In his book Andy and Don: The Making of a Friendship and a Classic American TV Show, author Daniel de Visé wrote, "Everyone on the Griffith set witnessed the dynamic between Rance and Ronny in its full complexity… One day, Rance surprised everyone on the set by bending the child star over his knee and administering a spanking. It happened only once."

Bear in mind, this was a hot topic of parenting and public debate at the time. "Spankings of grammar school pupils have been authorized by the Berkeley School board," a news bulletin declared on July 12, 1965, on the same newspaper page that printed Andy Griffith Show listings.

Andy and the sitcom's call to keep it out of the Taylor household scenes was a conscious decision.

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Nala92129 19 days ago
While I loved TAGS, I had a big problem with the occasional animal abuse. I cannot watch certain episodes, like "The Loaded Goat," or the Jubal Foster episode, in which chickens and a rooster were manhandled. Andy always made reference to hunting, shooting crows & rats and "frog-gigging." It made me shudder!
country46 21 days ago
I'm 63 I got the seat of my britches set on fire at home and at school did it help?
djw1120 country46 21 days ago
I'm 63 also, but I never got spanked.
Once I got sent to bed without my supper (I played hookey from school that day), but that's about the extent of it.
country46 djw1120 21 days ago
are you a better person for it?
nerakr 22 days ago
Opie got an offscreen spanking in Mr. McBeevee because Andy thought Opie was lying to him. Andy later apologizes.
rjcload nerakr 22 days ago
No he didn't. Andy told Aunt Bee that he would have to give Opie a whippin and he told Opie that as well while they were sitting by the window. Andy looks into Opie's innocent eyes and backtracks and doesn't whip him. Opie asks Andy if he believes and Andy says "yes."
JHP nerakr 20 days ago
I know what you mean - the networks chop shows (for the almighty AD) now but the one I did see andy told bee that he didnt spank him
WordsmithWorks 22 days ago
I got spanked at home and at school and it never made one bit of difference. Ever.
Runeshaper 22 days ago
I think it was a good idea to keep it off screen.
RobertK 22 days ago
I got paddled as a kid in the 60's, not only from my parents, but also from the teacher nuns at the Catholic grade school I attended. Let me tell you, the thrashings we got from the nuns was worse than the spankings we got from our parents! We were all afraid of the Sisters at school!!
Moody RobertK 22 days ago
Same here, went to parochial school in the 60s & spankings were a common form of punishment. My parents were also firm believers in spare the rod, spoil the child.
djw1120 RobertK 21 days ago
Thankfully I never went to Catholic school (I'm Jewish) so my teachers never spanked me.
JHP djw1120 20 days ago
that would have made a interesting sitcom:)
AnnieM RobertK 12 days ago
I too went to Catholic grade school, 1st (1970) thru 8th (1978). I was too afraid of some of those nuns to ever be out of line. We had a few (rare) who were kind, but too many of them were so sadistic they should never have been allowed to work with children in ANY capacity. 😢
RobertK AnnieM 11 days ago
Agreed! I guess some things have changed for the better. I certainly wouldn't want children today to deal with some of those nasty nuns...
JHP 22 days ago
Andy should have left Opie alone and SPANKED BARNAY - or worse

one of fav dreams - a yelling contest

Frank Sutton vs Don Knotts
ncadams27 22 days ago
I remember in high school (late 60s) that the male teachers all had a paddle very prominently displayed hanging on the wall behind their desk and would take a boy (no girls) out to the lockers to paddle them. They would always have another male teacher with them. Never got paddled, but heard many who did as the sound could be heard in the adjacent classrooms. Some of the teachers would do it in their classroom after school.
LoveMETV22 ncadams27 22 days ago
There is a scene in "Dead Poets Society" where one of the students is paddled by an administrator as a form of control. Thankfully only one scene as the movie is really good and it doesn't detract from the main story line.
djw1120 ncadams27 21 days ago
Personally I would have liked to spank the girls - teenagers only and on the bare butt too.
JHP LoveMETV22 20 days ago
monty python and the holy grail had a reference to spanking also

"bad zoot ; bad bad zoot"
LoveMETV22 JHP 20 days ago
Lol Love that scene. The Holy Grail
LoveMETV22 JHP 20 days ago
I like the scene with th prince and the father explaining or trying to the guards, and he pops in to stop music from playing LOL
JHP LoveMETV22 19 days ago
you bet - I remember that scene

the guards were to keep the son in the castle and he wanted only to be a singer
LoveMETV22 22 days ago
Looks like this is going to be an interesting thread.
Pacificsun 22 days ago
I don't know if it was in debate in the 60's or not. There was corporal punishment in my school. And in my extended family. I was spanked once, and the effect was more of humiliation than pain. I think it is an instinctive reaction when someone takes control over another, it doesn't matter the age.

These backstories from TAGs are fascinating. In support of Ron Howard's upbringing, it seems to have turned out, okay?
JHP Pacificsun 22 days ago
once my mom used thee ol' wooden spoon - (I guess german had something to do with it?)

It broke but I made it looked like it hurt - when it was over and I was alone - I laughed so hard!!!
Andybandit 22 days ago
I never got spanked, I would never spank if I had kids. I just got yelled at and that was it.
Chavella13 23 days ago
This is really interesting… I’m happy I don’t get a butt bomb anymore.
JHP Chavella13 17 days ago
unless you are president
KMT6600 23 days ago
I never got a spanking Just got yelled at a few times I guess I was lucky Nice parents
Maverick66 23 days ago
Spanking was a fact of life back then. I got it at home & was introduced to the "board of education" at school as well.
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