Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Tribute to Andy

Opie said, “The cage sure looks awful empty don't it, Paw?" Andy replied, "Yes, son, it sure does. But don't the trees seem nice and full."
Andy Griffith passed away this week. Andrew Samuel "Andy" Griffith (June 1, 1926 – July 3, 2012) was an American actor, director, producer, Grammy Award-winning Southern-gospel singer, and writer. I won't share the details of his biography, you can read them on the Internet, but it's enough to know that he proved the validity of family- focused entertainment with a message. I've heard several interviews today with people that worked with Andy and they're quick to say, "His shows and writing were indicative of the man." Yes, Andy had phenomenal writers for his shows, but he reviewed all the scripts and added his flavor to every episode. It's a good reminder that who we are and what we stand for comes out in our daily lives. What we are is who we are. I just spoke to Janet, the program director for the NBC affiliate in Springfield, KYTV. I called to thank her and the station for faithfully showing the Andy Griffith Show at 12:30, Monday through Friday, for as long as we've lived here, over 30 years! Like I told her, "The show has been a breath of fresh air for our family. We need this show. Excuse me for saying it this way [I told her] but with all the trash on TV these days, it's nice to expect something clean". She replied, "I agree. I don't want my kids watching some of the programing that is popular today and Joey, you need to know we're under contract for the Andy Griffith Show for at least 2 more years." I said, "In the middle of sometimes difficult days, we need what that show provides: simplicity, humor, family and fun.” Simplicity. Life can be so complicated sometimes. Or at least we make it that way. Mayberry was simple and Andy commented in an interview that he modeled the show after his upbringing in Mt. Airy, North Carolina. We need the reminder that as intense and competitive as we can make life, we all need to stay in Mayberry. Interestingly, when CBS cancelled the show in the late 60's, Andy commented, "The producers felt that people didn't want the country flavor anymore. They wanted shows that are more sophisticated." Boy, were they wrong. How many of those sophisticated shows are still airing today? Simple will never go out of style. Humor. Andy was a master at hiring the right actors and employing the right writers. The writing staff for the show won numerous awards for their talent and episodes. And the humor wasn't "potty humor.” It was clean. We need to laugh not only at great jokes, but also at ourselves. We laugh at Barney because we all are Barney, in one way or another. We do dumb things, we try to cover for them and we're glad, in the end, that our friends still love us. Family. In a world that is struggling with the definition of family, we're reminded by Andy that a father's love for his son Opie, a cousin's love for his cousin, Barney and a nephew's love for his Aunt Bee are all what's most important. Through the ups and downs, Andy reminded us that family is the most important. And finally, fun. Television shows today are filled with graphic violence and reality life situations. Most shows last a season or less. Andy's show worked because he took everyday life and made it funny. Remember, the 60's were difficult days in this country: the Vietnam War, assassinations, race riots, etc. But Andy provided some relief and he still provides it today. Thanks Andy, for providing us with a gift. Thanks for using your God-given talent to provide good, wholesome entertainment for us. May you enjoy the simplicity of Heaven with a loving Creator. The world is definitely empty without you, but doesn't Heaven seem nice and full? By Eric Joseph Staples ©

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