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Ron Howard's favorite episode of 'The Andy Griffith Show' was based on his own life

It's a lesser-known episode.

There are plenty of great Opie moments over the course of The Andy Griffith Show's eight seasons. Who could forget when he gets into a fight in the episode "One-Punch Opie," or when he kills the mother bird in the episode "Opie the Birdman"?

Although audiences love those episodes, Ron Howard is fond of one in particular. It's season seven's inconspicuous "The Ball Game." 

As far as Andy Griffith episodes go, it's not one of the most memorable. After all, it was produced in color.

But the reason Ron Howard holds this moment from the show so close to his heart may surprise you. It's because it's based on a similar situation that happened to him and his dad.

The episode centers on Andy Taylor serving as an umpire for Opie's championship baseball game. Andy has reservations about serving as an umpire and showing favoritism, so he decides to play fair. However, the town turns against its own sheriff when he calls out his son at home plate, forcing the Mayberry Giants to lose. 

"That had happened to me and my dad," Howard told Larry King in 2013. "He called me out at home on a ball game that was on my birthday. I couldn't believe he called me out!"

Howard's father, Rance, thought the incident was hilarious, so he took the idea to Griffith. Shortly after, an episode of the series was based on Howard's near miss at home plate.  

Rance ended up writing "The Ball Game" along with Sid Morse, giving the episode a more familiar touch.

Do you remember this episode? Which one is your favorite?

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