All of Mayberry's money talk revolved around sharing one's good fortune
Howard McNear's son Kit got emotional describing Andy Griffith's "big heart" and generous spirit.
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"I've never seen so much money in my whole life! You, Andy?" Goober says, astounded as he and Sheriff Andy crack open a suitcase stuffed full of hundred dollar bills.
"No," Andy says, picking up wads of cash. "It must be a couple hundred thousand dollars here."
Goober whistles through his teeth. That's clearly an enormous figure to both him and Andy.
In The Andy Griffith Show episode "If I Had a Quarter Million Dollars," we get a chance to see some of Mayberry's finest handle the largest sum of money any of them have ever seen.
Heck, in one episode, Floyd the Barber was over the moon to win a $200 cash prize in "Goober's Content." Multiply that by a thousand, and that's how mind-blowing a quarter-million dollars looked to Andy, Goober and Barney in this fifth-season episode.
By this point in the series, the audience had come to understand that Mayberry was a genuinely humble small town, full of people who prized a peaceful quiet life over the pursuit of wealth.
Probably the only other brush with luxury that Mayberry had was when a truck loaded with $7 million in gold bricks passed through on its way to Fort Knox in "A Black Day for Mayberry."
Most of the money talk in Mayberry revolved around not inheriting big bucks, but sharing one's good fortune, as we saw in "Opie's Charity." The show also strongly endorsed the notion of rightfully returning riches that don’t belong to you, as we saw with Aunt Bee in "Lost and Found."
The only real money-grubbing we saw on the show was little Opie gathering soda bottles, cashing them in for a couple of cents apiece at the grocery store.
This hustling side of Opie channels the kind of thrifty work ethic that the show reveals that Sheriff Andy displayed as a young boy.
Just another way that Opie's just like his paw!
The lore of The Andy Griffith Show depicts young Andy Taylor as a boy who hustled, mowing lawns and delivering packages to scrape together a little spending money. Once he got to his teen years, his first real job was handing out popcorn at the Mayberry movie theater.
No job was too big, too small, too salty, or too buttery for the future sheriff.
And behind the scenes, the actor Andy Griffith was just as charitable and intent on sharing his good fortune as the character he played.
Nothing underscores this giving side of Griffith quite like the way The Andy Griffith Show took care of Howard McNear and his family after the Floyd the Barber actor's left side unexpectedly became paralyzed from a stroke during the show's run. According to Andy and Don: The Making of a Friendship and a Classic American TV Show, Griffith would not hear of replacing McNear on the show and saw to it that McNear stayed on. He knew that McNear needed support now more than ever.
"Andy Griffith had a big heart and knew that my mom had never really worked and that I had gone to school and we didn't have a lot of money," McNear's son Kit recalled. "And he brought my dad back. He didn't have to. That is a really, really rare thing in Hollywood."
It's likely that sort of generous spirit is rare in Hollywood, but Griffith proved onscreen and off that’s what made Mayberry so rich!