“He didn’t sell ‘em or anything. He gave ‘em away to the Boy Scouts.” Indeed, The Andy Griffith Show‘s titular star was an Outsider to his core.
Nothing else in life brings the same joy as the great outdoors. Outsiders know it, as did avid outdoorsman Andy Griffith. And the only thing sweeter than enjoying it yourself is ensuring others get to do the same.
Griffith excelled at both. His legendary sitcom made him a household name. But once it was over, the icon spent most of the following decades secluded at his Manteo, North Carolina property.
Manteo knew they had a legend in their midst, too. Like a handsome sasquatch, Andy Griffith would only emerge from his forest home on rare occasions. His was a quiet life; one marked by the peace only a tree canopy can grant. Which is what eventually led him to share this joy with others of his kind.
Andy Griffith Was Santa to His Local Boy Scouts of America
Griffith could see the Roanoke Sound from his own backyard. He’d often watch the sun set over its majesty. The view wasn’t perfect, however.
There in the distance were 53 acres of Christmas trees of his own sowing. This wasn’t a mistake, either. According to The News and Observer Sun‘s coverage from 1974, Griffith would give back to his Manteo community every single Christmastime by inviting local Boy Scouts to his beachfront acreage. There, they would be able to pick out and harvest their very own Christmas tree free of charge.
“He didn’t sell ‘em or anything. He gave ‘em away … to the Boy Scouts. You heard of this fella. Used to play Sheriff Taylor on that TV show. Now ain’t that just like him to go and do that?” a local citizen told The News and Observer Sun at the time.
Providing trees to these budding, kindred youths was all the reward Andy would need for a cluttered beachfront, too. And episodes of The Andy Griffith Show like “The Christmas Story,” in which little Opie can barely contain his wonder and joy over their Taylor Christmas tree, memorialize this grand feeling.
‘To Be Chosen to Play a Part is One of the Greatest Joys in the World’
Griffith’s commitment to his community made many question why he ever up and left for Hollywood to begin with. His working life began as a schoolteacher in North Carolina, and he wound up right back home after The Andy Griffith Show.
To this, however, Griffith answered in the same interview: “I’d hate it,” he said of never leaving home. “I don’t know what I would’ve done without show business. There’s nothing like it. To be chosen to play a part is one of the greatest joys in the world.”
A joy, we’d imagine, he found matched in providing Christmas trees to bright young faces.