''The Yeagers'': Andy Griffith's two-episode TV flop

Andy Griffith played a stern patriarch of a mountain family, but audiences were lost in the woods.

Everett Collection

After the end of The Andy Griffith Show, Andy seemed to have a hard time getting a new series off the ground. After all, TAGS was a juggernaut on the TV. He was a household name all over America. Audiences had a hard time seeing him as anything other than their beloved sheriff.

He did a few appearances on the TAGS spin-off continuation, Mayberry R.F.D. Then came Headmaster, a comedy-drama that lasted one season. Following that was The New Andy Griffith Show — also one season.

Then came guest roles, TV movies, and miniseries. In 1979, Griffith took another swing at a regular series with Salvage 1, a science fiction series about a scrap man leading a ragtag crew recovering scrap from, among other places, the moon. That lasted two seasons, with the final four episodes being unaired at the time.

Well, if space didn't work, maybe the mountains would. In 1980, Griffith filmed The Yeagers. The Yeagers was about "a fiercely independent lumber and mining family in the Northwest, who are headed by a proud patriarch." Griffith was that patriarch.

The Spokane Chronicle explained "the first few episodes of the modern-day Bonanza family are not funny, however, and deal with an airplane crash... and being lost in the mountains of Northern Idaho, where the show takes place."

Griffith's character was a father, just like Andy Taylor, but he was a more stern man. "He is a good father," Griffith said, "not perfect; he has a temper, he's, ah, he runs the place with an iron hand."

Unfortunately, The Yeagers got lost in the woods. ABC only aired two episodes; two more produced went unaired.

A Washington Star column discussed the show after its dismissal, mentioning the troubles that besieged the Yeagers onscreen and off. "Check the disastrous Nielsen ratings for Griffith's version and you would have thought it was a documentary."

Don't feel too bad for ol' Andy, though. He kept busy after that, mostly in TV movies, and his next foray into a regular TV show was a little thing called Matlock.


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26 Comments

Mark 4 months ago
Andy was busy in that long span between TAGS and Matlock, even though the shows he starred in were short-lived. He did some interesting TV movies and memorable guest shots in that time as well.
MichaelVegas 6 months ago
I LOVED Salvage 1 and though his idea to get to the moon was WAY BETTER then how we always do it. I would love to find out where I can see that show again
BenSobeleone 6 months ago
I remember Salvage 1. Thought it was ok. Also remember a tv-movie Stowaway to the Moon. It was the 1970s.
Moverfan 6 months ago
I remember Salvage 1 being on, but I never watched it and I never heard of The Yeagers. Now Matlock...Matlock...that's the one about the lawyer, isn't it?
kalika4 6 months ago
There was another Andy Griffith series that only lasted a couple of episodes. Adams of Eagle Lake aired approx. January 1975. In it, Andy was a small town police chief. I believe it was based on his movie Winterkill.
klt83 6 months ago
I was fairly young when the Andy Griffith Show ended. I think there were people who wondered why he didn't just stay with a still highly rated show and weren't ready to accept "Headmaster" or "The New Andy Griffith Show." I never heard of "The Yeagers" until today and just about everyone saw "Salvage 1" as a blatent attempt to capitalize on "Star Wars."
DeputyWarren 6 months ago
"Headmaster' lasted Half a season. Critics called it a mediocre Room 222/Mr Novak clone. Andy & Aaron Ruben knew they had a critical & ratings flop and proposed scrapping HM, in favor of "The New Andy Griffith Show.", which premiered in January 1971 as a mid-season replacement. Andy reassembled much of the cast from his movie "Angel in My Pocket" (1969) and the 1st episode had Goober & Floyd visiting Andy as if he were Andy Taylor, even though he was clearly a different character on this series. Don Knotts also appeared briefly as a salesman, apparently channeling Daffy Duck in "The Stupor Salesman." Ratings started out strong, but withered over successive weeks and by season's end it was clearly over. Even if TNAGS had been more popular, it would certainly have been a casualty of CBS' "rural purge", that ended Mayberry RFD, Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, etc. that same year.
Bapa1 6 months ago
Maybe he should have added Don Knotts to the cast.
Jerryfan 6 months ago
It would be cool if MeTV could air these shows as a weekend marathon.
timothys71 Jerryfan 6 months ago
Agreed. There are so many short-lived, forgotten TV shows out there, and while some were truly bad, others deserve to be rebroadcast as a special presentation once in a while.
Mark Jerryfan 4 months ago
TV Land, when it was worth watching, did a thing called Wonders of TV Land, which spotlighted short-lived shows that had an interesting element to them (concept, actors, etc.). Maybe Me-TV could do something similar?
MichaelPowers 6 months ago
Salvage 1 was an entertaining series with a likable cast.
WGH MichaelPowers 6 months ago
I remember really enjoying that show as a kid.
Treechris23 6 months ago
Matlock was one of my all time favorite TV shows; Andy was perfect in the role and made Ben a very real character. Every episode was a 60 minute vacation. Loved all the characters, lots of memorable episodes. Andy G was very underrated as an actor!
cperrynaples 6 months ago
Well if you want to split hairs, Headmaster and NAGS each lasted half a season! NAGS replaced Headmaster then Headmaster reruns played in the summer of 1971!
Irish 6 months ago
Hmmm....I don't remember the Yeager's. I do, however, watch Matlock!
Wiseguy70005 Irish 6 months ago
The Yeagers, a family name, a plural, not a possessive, no apostrophe.
Calhoun1959 6 months ago
Howard Morris was brilliant as Ernest T Bass
Rob 6 months ago
I remember watching Salvage. It was pretty far fetched, but I liked it.
Runeshaper 6 months ago
Just a thought: I bet if they rewrote the Yeagers to have a similar concept to that of Yellowstone, they may have had quite the hit!

In other words, what if the Yeagers was about a fiercely independent lumber and mining family in the Northwest, who are headed by a proud patriarch, that had to defend their land from others trying to take it or move in on their business, etc.? That sounds pretty interesting to me!
WGH Runeshaper 6 months ago
Sounds like they were trying to do The Waltons.
Bapa1 6 months ago
So if a show fails in the forest, does it make a sound?
Runeshaper Bapa1 6 months ago
HAHAHAHA
WGH Bapa1 6 months ago
I don't care who you are, that there is pretty funny!
Bapa1 WGH 6 months ago
Thanks, just a good ol' country boy doing his job.
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