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The Andy Griffith Show pilot episode was on The Danny Thomas Show

The series began with several actors portraying different characters than they did in Mayberry.

By Cheryl E PrestonPublished about a month ago 3 min read

The Andy Griffith Show remains popular

The Andy Griffith Show remains near and dear to the heart of longtime fans and has remained on the air uninteruppted six decades after it's initial run. Thsi speaks volumes about how television viewing audiences feel about quality family TV programming.

For those who who may not have known The Housekeeper, where Aunt Bee (Francis Bavier) comes to Mayberry to stay with Andy Taylor (Andy Griffith) was the first episode of the popular series but not the pilot episode. Television shows often have different plots, characters,and actors than the pilots because changes are made.

The pilot was on The Danny Thomas Show

The pilot for the long running series was the season seven, episode 20 of The Danny Thomas Show, Danny Meets Andy which aired on CBS on February 15, 1960. You can watch it by clicking on the link below. Danny Williams (Thomas) was arrested while in Mayberry by Sheriff Andy Taylor (Griffith). Williams is the obnoxious city fellow making fun of the small "hick" town and the sheriff.

He is alarmed to find out that Taylor is not only the law, but the justice of the peace and the editor of The Mayberry Gazette. In that episode Andy is more like the streotypical country law enforcement officer than he is during the series run. He and Willliams are polar opposites and play well against one another. it's interesting to note that both characters retain their real first names in their series.

While in jail Williams watche Opie Taylor (Ron Howard) talking to his father about his pet turtle dying after being stepped on and the fact that his mother is dead. The characters Opie and Andy continue when The Andy Griffith Show premiers but two Mayberry residents were in the pilot episode portraying different characters than they did in the series.

Francis Bavier as Henrietta Perkins

From Henrietta to Aunt Bee

Francis Bavier who was beloved as Bee Taylor, portrayed Henrietta Perkins, in the pilot, a woman whose husband had been buried in a rented suit. Perkins knew the towns people of Mayberry saw her husband a ner do well so she wanted him buried properly.

Mrs. Perkins forgot to take the rented suit off of her spouse dead body and it was buried with him. She continued paying on the rental suit for several years after he died and explained this to Sheriff Taylor when he called her into his office for delinquent taxes.

Will Wright as Mr. Johnson

Mr. Johnson was as ornery as Ben Weaver

Will Wright played a character named Mr. Johnson, who owned the second hand store where Mrs. Perkins rented the suit for her deceased spouse. Johnson was stll charging her rent money because the suit had never been returned and Andy was furious.Sheriff Taylor had Johnson to agree to refund $300 of the $350 WIdeow Perkins had paid him.

From Danny's show to a beloved classic

Andy also mentioned having an Aunt Lucy who was not seen on The Danny Thomas Show. When The Andy Griffith Show premiered on October 3, 1960, Griffith and Howard were in their same roles as Andy and Opie Taylor. Beauvier was not widow Perkins but portrayed Andy's Aunt. She was Aunt Bee Taylor and not Aunt Lucy.

Wright later made a few appearances as the second actor to portray Ben Weaver, who was just as ornery as Johnson. He tried to evict a couple and later allowed the husband to work in his Weaver's department store. His most popular episode on The Andy Griffith Show was The Christmas Story where he said "Baa" to the holiday until he saw the Mayberry residents singing Away in a Manger and his heart melted.


About the Creator

Cheryl E Preston

Cheryl is a widow who enjoys writing about current events, soap spoilers and baby boomer nostalgia. Tips are greatly appreciated.

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  • Shirley Belk25 days ago

    I had no idea that the pilot started on the Danny Thomas show! This was great.

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