Here's a peek into Andy Griffith's backyard wedding to a Seventies ''flower child''
Ken Berry said the bride and groom made the most unlikely couple he ever saw.
Blink and you might miss what's so special about the opening scene of The Andy Griffith Show's third season premiere, "Mr. McBeevee."
The episode about Opie's "imaginary friend" kicks off with a shot of Opie playing in the Taylors' backyard.
For all the time we spend on the Taylors' front porch, we rarely get invited into the backyard, so it's neat to see that the layout is just as wholesome as you'd expect.
There's a woodworking bench for Andy, a picnic table for Aunt Bee's outdoor feasts, Opie's bike is propped up on its kickstand in the very center, and along the back fence, a clothesline holds Andy's shirts.
Although the backyard may not have been the heart of family activity on The Andy Griffith Show, after the show ended, Griffith proved the backyard was a pretty precious place in his real family life.
In the mid-Seventies, Griffith remarried, and it was during a simple backyard wedding at Griffith's home that he said "I do" to his second wife Solica Cassuto.
"A more unlikely couple you never saw," Ken Berry said in the book Andy and Don: The Making of a Friendship and a Classic American TV Show.
Solica was a Greek actor unknown to Griffith's fans. Unlike the conservative country boy Andy who she married, she was more of a free spirit, Berry said.
At the wedding — which featured a large harp in the middle of the backyard instead of Opie's bike — Berry said, Solica "looked like a flower child."
"I don't mean that in a bad way," Berry said. "But the image that Andy has — you would just never pick them as a couple." You can see the two of them here.
The house where they wed became the couple's first home together, and it used to belong to Bing Crosby, so Griffith said the couple sometimes liked to play his records.
"We pretend it's Bing singing in our shower," Griffith joked to Detroit Free Press in 1975. He also confirmed Solica made a fine wife who "puts up with me and my children, is a fine person, and cares about by kids."
The couple had a proper honeymoon after their nuptials, but the most important trip they would take happened a few years later.
In 1977, Griffith told The Times that he was bringing his bride to his hometown, Mt. Airy, North Carolina. It was about time she met all his kinfolk and saw the family farm with all the livestock.
Griffith confirmed that he was a "happy man" then. He joked that Solica would be in for a culture shock — but admitted that when it came to meeting his "flower child" bride, "So are the relatives."
On The Andy Griffith Show, we may have seen the Taylor's backyard only a handful of times, but one thing we saw every episode, thanks to the opening credits sequence, was Andy and Opie heading to the lake with their fishing poles.
That's why it's especially charming when The Times asked Andy what he thought he and his bride would do with his family out in Mt. Airy, his answer was pitch-perfect for The Andy Griffith Show fans following along:
"We can fish," Griffith said.
Fishing poles aside, the marriage ended in divorce in 1981, an experience Griffith told The Star-Phoenix was another culture shock that Andy felt was "too painful."
Although we're used to thinking of Griffith as a leading man with no trouble with the ladies, Griffith admitted he was shier than most folks realized, and that truthfully, he'd always been that way.
"Making conversation with a lady you don't know is one of the most difficult things you can do," Griffith confessed. "Some people have got it down. But I never did know."