Here's what critics wrote about the Andy Griffith Show's first episode
Audiences loved it, but what about the experts?
Hindsight isn't always 20/20, because nostalgia can cloud our memory. Sometimes our rose-tinted glasses trick us into thinking everyone shared the same experience. The way that pop culture history, in particular, is remembered doesn't always reflect what happened. There are critical darlings that people assume were mega-hits when truthfully they were hardly watched. On the other side, some shows that nobody cares about now were hugely popular in their time.
So what were the first impressions surrounding The Andy Griffith Show? The show was an instant hit in the ratings, especially with blue-collar audiences. Did contemporary media critics receive the show as warmly?
In an October 1960 writeup, The Sacramento Union praised the show for its believability. "One thing certain about Andy Griffith's new show is that the locale will be authentic even if the name is hypothetical. If the first Andy Griffith Show is a fair sample of the series, it's a good one, specializing in gentle country-style humor and occasional tugs at the heart."
Cynthia Lowry, for the Associated Press, wrote that the show appeared to be a winner. "This one seems to have all the ingredients to make the grade."
The Modesto Bee was similarly positive in its appraisal of the new show. "Folks charm abounds," wrote the reviewer. "This is a nice change from all the violence around. And let's face it, Andy Griffith and Don Knotts are just plain loveable."
Earl Wilson of The San Francisco Examiner wrote that the "tall, drawlin', southern Andy Griffith could be the next TV sensation." He also celebrated the "competent little actor who plays Andy Griffith's son."
While the show's popularity would continue to grow, it is nice to see that things weren't so different in 1960. The world might have been a different place, but Andy, Barney, and Opie were all just as beloved.