Tuesday, July 3, 2012

There Will Always Be Time for Andy Griffith

Did you ever see the play "Love Letters" by A.R. Gurney? One of the exchanges between the two characters, Melissa and Andy, goes like this:
MELISSA: I was very sorry to hear about the death of your father. I know he was a great influence on you, and I know you loved him very much. I also know he didn't like me. I'm sure he thought I was bad for you and I probably was. Still, he was a good, decent man, and I always knew where I stood with him when you'd bring me home to your family, back in the old days, back in the Land of Oz. I wish I'd had a father like that. Please accept my deepest sympathies. Love, Melissa.
ANDY: Dear Melissa, Thank you for your note on my father, I did love him. He was a classy guy, the best of his breed. Even now he's gone, I can still hear him reminding me of my obligations to my family, my country, and myself, in roughly that order. All my life, he taught me that those born to privilege have special responsibilities, which is I suppose why I came home alone from Japan, why I chose the law, and why I'll probably enter politics at some level, some time on down the line. Thanks for writing. Love, Andy. 
Andy Griffith, Tony Award-nominated and Emmy A...
Andy Griffith, Tony Award-nominated and Emmy Award-nominated American actor, producer, writer, director and Grammy Award-winning southern gospel singer. Image taken as President George W. Bush presents him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In case you are wondering why I am so familiar with this play, check out #52 of 84 Things You May Not Know About Me.

Today we learned that one very special television father passed away. Andy Griffith. I think many of us who met Andy Griffith, playing single parent Andy Taylor, way back in 1960 (and any those who grew up watching re-runs of the same show), often wished we'd had a father like that. For the record, I did have a father like that and I will be forever grateful.

As Dennis and I read today about Andy Griffith's death, Dennis reminded me that the first play he ever saw on Broadway was No Time For Sergeants.  The year was 1955 and Dennis' father took him to see the play. Mr. Griffith played the part of Will Stockdale and was nominated for a Tony for Best Featured Actor and it was in this production that Don Knotts also made his Broadway debut as Corporal Manual Dexterity.

All in all, nice memories about fathers and what they teach us.

One other thought crossed my mind this morning when I started seeing all of the stories of Mr. Griffith's life and the notice of his death. There was a time that I didn't understand that media outlets (newspapers, news networks, etc.) are always prepared with a famous person's bio, so that when the end comes all that is required to go to press are the details of the passing. This allows the news-writers to be prepared at a moment's notice. You might be wondering how I learned this fact.

It was February 2, 1974. I tuned in to watch what is now referred to as Season 4, Episode 20 of The Mary Tyler Moore Show: Better Late...That's a Pun...than Never. The quick synopsis: Mary writes a humorous obituary as a joke, but when it's mistakenly read on the air, she's suspended from the newsroom.

You can watch the whole episode here, and I am including it, as I think Andy Griffith probably would have gotten a kick out how the news media can sometimes just get things all tangled up, not unlike his pal Barney Fife.

And if you are having trouble viewing the video, see it here.

An interesting fact about this episode is that it was directed by John C. Chulay. You know his work, but you may not know you know his work. Item #39 of 84 Things You May Not Know About Me mentions that I started working for Wells Fargo Bank in 1969. From 1971-1972 John C. Chulay would visit my branch every week and every week I was the teller who waited on him, additionally his son and I were classmates at Pasadena City College that year.

Sometime this week I am sure the lights will dim on Broadway to honor Andy Griffith, many of us will tune into a re-run of The Andy Griffith Show or Matlock, we might catch him in a movie like Waitress where he displayed the compassion and love that saved Jenna's life. He was "a father like that!"
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1 comment:

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