A ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Star Once Made the Jump to ‘Happy Days’

You’ll be hard-pressed to find more iconic shows during their time in the sun than The Andy Griffith Show and Happy Days. Appearing on just one of the two programs was a big enough deal. Well, what would you say, Outsiders, if one star from The Andy Griffith Show once made the jump to Happy Days?

Well, it happened. Elinor Donahue, all the way back in 1984, appeared in Happy Days after her run on The Andy Griffith Show. In the show, Donahue played a concerned mother briefly for a teen that was in some trouble.

This was the lone appearance for Donahue on the program and it took place after Ron Howard had already left The Andy Griffith Show as well.

Why ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Succeeded

Most shows don’t unfold the way things unfolded for The Andy Griffith Show. Rarely do you find both the success and long-term cultural viability that the show starring Andy Griffith and Don Knotts had. People still watch the program for a reason.

In an interview with The New York Times years ago, Griffith told the paper as to why the show worked, “I think it is because we–everyone on the show–have a real sense of community, of kindness toward one another.” That sort of family-like atmosphere on the show and all the cast and producers treating one another with respect paid long-term dividends it certainly seems.

What Was ‘The Andy Griffith Show’

He continued, “The basic rule by which we live comes through on the program, kindness comes through. The show also has a number of featured performers, each with a definite character we can write around for any episode. But equally important is the character of Mayberry itself. We try to make it a real little community with its small problems and those of its people put forth comedically.”

Be kind. That’s what Griffith suggests and what he finds the ethos to be for the show. The ethos of being good to one another was what the town of Mayberry was all about. He continued when talking about the demographic the show drew during that time, “We rarely appear in the ratings for the 30 major cities, but we do just great in towns of 50,000 or less.” This was a show not geared towards the Chicagos or the Atlantas of the world, it was geared toward folks in smaller towns. This is part of what made the program so unique at the time, is that Mayberry was for a different audience.

Even better, Griffith enjoyed the role. He concluded, “I get enormous satisfaction from my role as Andy Taylor”. That goes a long way when you enjoy what you do and who you play.

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