Andy Griffith used silence to keep The Andy Griffith Show special

His genius still remains within the sound of silence.

The first time Andy Griffith met Sheldon Leonard, co-creator of The Andy Griffith Show, it was at a sandwich shop in New York. Andy picked the place on Eighth Avenue, his favorite spot in the city to grab lunch, and during that first meeting, Sheldon talked while Andy listened.

Leonard said, "I told him the idea we had, which was to make him sheriff of a small town." He expected Andy to leap at the chance to star in his own show — but that's just not knowing Andy well enough.

Griffith nodded and was polite, but didn't react much more than that. And the effect was maybe what Andy intended: Leonard was impressed by this cool-headed actor who didn’t make a peep during his pitch and didn't jump at anything he was offered.

Because of that respect, Sheldon kept setting up meetings and Andy kept taking them, but Griffith left each one not committing to the show. These later meetings took place in a fancy hotel, the Hotel St. Moritz, located where The Ritz-Carlton New York sits today next to Central Park. Clearly, the point was to impress the young Griffith, but Andy hadn’t yet heard enough to sell him on the show.

When Andy finally did talk, he took Leonard by complete surprise again, firing off an intense line of questions. Griffith wanted to know how the show was being financed. He needed a thorough understanding of the artistic direction. Sheldon's observation was correct: Andy wasn’t just signing on to anything, and he wanted to make sure his concerns were heard before he signed any dotted lines. It showed Andy wasn't simply a quiet man, but a keen listener, and he only spoke up when he didn't like what he was hearing. Now, Leonard was even more impressed.

It took three meetings for Andy to agree to do Leonard’s show, and according to Andy and Don: The Making of a Classic American Friendship, the series creator waited until after Griffith’s name was branded on the contracts before he risked asking, "Why all this advance rigamarole?"

Griffith’s response was as Mayberry as it gets, "Just wanted to know who I was dealing with," Griffith said in his Carolina drawl.

Over the course of The Andy Griffith Show, any time Andy Griffith grew quiet, like he had so often while meeting with Leonard, it became a sure sign to cast and crew that something needed to change to get the show’s star onboard, whether it was the script or how it was delivered.

Goober Pyle actor George Lindsey remembered how crystal clear it was if Andy liked your performance in any given episode. When he was happy, he gave you a call to say so. When he wasn’t particularly pleased, your phone didn’t ring.

Regarded as a benevolent boss, Andy controlled the show’s distinct comedy, heaping praise where it was due and using silence to suggest something could use a little improvement.

Lindsey explained how much it made the cast want to live up to his high standards, "It wasn’t so much what he said; it’s what he didn’t say. The silence would just kill you."

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Tom 21 months ago
Are we not supposed to be able to watch the METV shows on the METV app
Coldnorth 21 months ago
My Mother never went by the sound of silence. She was Southern. Even in later years she still had the Southern accent when she was not happy with something you heard it loud and clear
ELEANOR 21 months ago
The sound of silence could be a Southern thing. Great literature has come out of the South and so there must be a tradition of the use of words which includes when to speak and when to be silent. Sometimes silence speaks louder than words.
F5Twitster 21 months ago
"The series creator waited until after Griffith’s name was branded on the contracts before he risked asking, 'Why all this advance rigamarole?'"

The word is RIGMAROLE, three syllables.
LoveMETV22 F5Twitster 21 months ago
The word is listed on Merriam-Webster:
rigamarole - noun
less common spelling of RIGMAROLE
1: confused or meaningless talk
The definition perfectly fits your observation and associated comment.
eddiecantorfan 21 months ago
Andy Taylor tricked Rafe Hollister into taking his shot
by singing the song Dig My Grave
With A Silver Spade.
I also enjoyed seeing Charlene Darling 💕 sing
There Is A Time
ncadams27 21 months ago
Although this article is meant to be complimentary, I see Andy as a difficult person to work with, using the “silent treatment” as a means to avoid an actor who didn’t perform as expected. I would rather have a frank discussion about my performance -good or bad - rather than being ignored. I find this behavior somewhat cruel and demeaning, especially coming from the star of the show. I don’t suggest he praise everyone no matter what, but I feel a frank discussion about what he wasn’t happy with along with praise when he liked it would be more effective.
wanderer2575 ncadams27 21 months ago
His being difficult is my impression as well. He wore a bandage on his hand in the episode "Aunt Bee the Warden" supposedly because he had injured it when he punched a wall in frustration.
Marvnel wanderer2575 21 months ago
He punched the wall when he heard Kennedy was assassinated.
Xsquid Marvnel 21 months ago
That’s incorrect. The first episode he wore thr bandage was aunt bea and the warden. Released march 12 ‘62. Jfk was assasinated nov ‘63. Not possible.

It was said to be while filming.
ncadams27 Xsquid 21 months ago
MeTV explained the injury in a article on Aug 3, 2020. The bandage episodes aired in Mar 1962.
eddiecantorfan 21 months ago
Andy Taylors Practical Joke
On Barney Fife!!
eddiecantorfan 21 months ago
Andy Taylor tells Opie and
Aunt Bee the story of
Romeo and Juliet written by William Shakespeare.
JHP 21 months ago
and I guess it was balanced due to Barneys excessive yelling (ad nauseam)
LoveMETV22 21 months ago
Great story MeTV. I'm surprised I missed it the first time. But obviously " Silence is Golden" worked for Andy Griffith when needed. Even in some episodes when Andy remains silent in certain scenes the unspoken word speaks just as loud.
Pacificsun LoveMETV22 21 months ago
--------> Over in the Tent, under the Palm Tree ------>
Runeshaper 21 months ago
That's the power of silence right there.
LouSherwood 56 months ago
He also worked very closely with Ron(ny) Howard's parents, and made sure he was treated right.
As a result, Ronny had a chance to HAVE a decent upbringing, and became easily the best adjusted kid actor ever.
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justjeff KathyMcKinny 21 months ago

(I was using Andy's method of remaining silent)
McGillahooala LouSherwood 21 months ago
If you say so
Zip KathyMcKinny 21 months ago
About the only thing you can hold against Clint Howard is being in the movie Cotton Candy(along with his brother Ron, who directed it), other than that, Clint is a very accomplished actor and from what I have seen from his public appearances, a pretty decent guy.
WayneKeith Zip 21 months ago
Now I'm gonna need to check it out, it sounds really mindless and Hank Kimball has a part.
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