Ron Howard changed a line in this season 2 episode of The Andy Griffith Show

An early Opie opus.

CBS Television Distribution

It's hard to imagine that there was a time when Ron Howard's voice wasn't deferred to on any set. If you have a talent like his on a project, any opinion shared would be held as gospel. But once upon a time, Howard was just a kid, starring as Opie Taylor on The Andy Griffith Show. That his ideas were still respected is a credit to his peers on that special show. 

"Almost from the start I got to sit in on their story conferences, chiming in about how I thought Opie should sound," said Howard in a 1984 interview with The Los Angeles Times.

"I remember how excited I got one day in the second season when I suggested a different line of dialogue and they actually took me up on it."

According to Barbera Kramer's 1998 biography Ron Howard: Child Star & Hollywood Director, the suggestion was for a line in the second episode of season two. 

In "Barney's Replacement," a state law official comes to learn how Andy handles the job, and Barney mistakes this all as an attempt to take his place in the small sheriff's office. Howard said director Bob Sweeney was staging a scene in the courthouse when "I came in and was supposed to say my line and I sort of balked." Howard further recalled the details in an interview with the Archive of American Television. 

"What is it?" Sweeney asked Howard.

And young Ronny Howard gave his criticism, "I don’t think a kid my age would say it this way." Instead of fighting the 7-year-old star, Sweeney took him seriously and said, "Well, how would [Opie] say it?" Howard said he pitched a line, and Sweeney said, "Good, why don’t you say it that way?" Howard's response was priceless. He said, "My recollection is I just stood there and started grinning."

Howard said he remembered "very clearly" Andy saying, "What are you grinning at, Ronny?" Howard answered, "That’s the first suggestion of mine that you’ve taken!" 

"It was the first one that was any damn good," Griffith replied.

"Now let’s go rehearse the scene." 

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12 Comments

DoctorSavage 14 days ago
Way to go Andy! Kid is proud of something he accomplished and you get nasty to him. Maybe the stories about him off camera are more true than we thought.
Jbumgar2 15 days ago
This is what I could find about the line (I couldn’t find any specific information about how the line was originally written).

Andy notices Barney Fife sweeping zealously and asks his father what’s going on. Andy gives an answer, before Opie says Barney is “sweeping clear on down the street.”
AnthonyT Jbumgar2 15 days ago
I can't decipher this comment.
Wiseguy70005 AnthonyT 8 days ago
Maybe it should be "Opie notices" not "Andy notices" and "Before Andy gives an answer" not "Andy gives an answer before." Just guessing.
Jbumgar2 Jbumgar2 8 days ago
I meant “Opie notices”. Thanks for the correction.
Jbumgar2 Jbumgar2 8 days ago
Actually, in my defense, the website I found this info on had it goofed up. And it doesn’t make much sense. Here is the link: https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/the-andy-griffith-show-how-griffith-reacted-to-ron-howard-trying-to-change-an-episode.html/
Big3Fan 16 days ago
What line was it anyway?
Jbumgar2 Big3Fan 8 days ago
Apparently Ron Howard doesn’t remember the exact line as it was originally written. Here is a link that has a little more information: https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/the-andy-griffith-show-how-griffith-reacted-to-ron-howard-trying-to-change-an-episode.html/
Zip 16 days ago
What kind of story is this with all this buildup and then it doesn't say what the line was?!!
LabLove Zip 16 days ago
Exactly! I wonder if it was when he said "ain't you gonna be the sheffiff no more pa"?
MaryMitch Zip 14 days ago
Maybe Ron didn't remember the details, only that they made the change.
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