The Darlings had this feedback after their first appearance on The Andy Griffith Show

Plus: The story behind the Dillards' audition is as funny as an episode of the show.

Read to Me

"That's mighty fine juggin', Mr. Darling," Andy tells Briscoe Darling in The Andy Griffith Show episode "The Darlings Are Coming."

"Thank you," Briscoe says. "I can get banjo sounds, guitar sounds, whatever I want out of it."

Canned laughter erupts.

"I mean, you're a mighty fine jug player, but I doubt there's a pair of lips around with that much versatility," Andy quips.

The character of Briscoe Darling is played by Denver Pyle, who does have a musical past as a drummer, but who may not actually have been much of a jug player. In an interview with Wide Open Country, Rodney Dillard (Rodney Darling) said he told Andy Griffith that the jug playing was too loud in that first episode, and Andy took the note to heart, never letting the jug playing overpower the bluegrass picking.

When you watch "The Darlings Are Coming," the jug barely factors into the music you hear, even though you see Briscoe puffing on the jug continually.

It must've been some feeling, as newcomers in Hollywood, for the Dillards to be telling veterans like Andy and Denver Pyle how things should be, but it's a credit to how big a music fan Griffith was that he listened. Dillard once told retro pop culture fan Jeremy Roberts about the Dillards audition for The Andy Griffith Show. He said Griffith was looking for "weird-looking guys from the mountains who played bluegrass music."

Nobody fit the bill, until Andy found the Dillards. He called them down to Desilu Studios. They arrived in the middle of the production shooting "Barney and the Choir."

"As we walked into the soundstage, we saw all these people gathering around to meet us," Dillard said. "They had heard the hillbillies were coming."

Their arrival was so distracting, Andy and Don stopped filming immediately.

The Andy Griffith Show director Bob Sweeney and Andy pulled up a couple chairs. "Show us what you've got," they said.

"So we started playing, and then Andy slapped his knees and got up, exclaiming, 'That’s it!'" Dillard said.

The band figured they were getting tossed out and started putting up their instruments, but Dillard said Andy put an end to that right away.

"Where are you going?" Andy said. "You've got the job."

The Dillards weren't going anywhere, except maybe going down in Mayberry history as one of the best bluegrass bands to ever come to town.

Dillard said he was always pleased with how respectful Andy was throughout the band’s recurring appearances, saying not every invitation they got to appear on TV really understood the heart and soul of mountain folk the way the Dillards and Andy Griffith did.

"There's dignity in rural folks," Dillard told Wide Open Country.

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ScreechOwl 6 months ago
It says a lot for Griffith and the production team that they went with a real bluegrass band who could really play.
It would have been easier to dub the music with session musicians as most shows would have done at the time.
Griffith being a musician and fan knew that wasn't good enough and he went the extra county mile.
JHP 6 months ago
and andy in the guitar player world was to that like a Mcds hamburger would be to the fast food world
JHP 6 months ago
very talented musicians - but the stage presence of a cold bowl of mashed potatos
STARFIGHTER77 6 months ago
The Many feel that. ERNST T. BASS should have had his OWN Show as a Spin -- OFF of the Andy Griffith Show !! Ernst " T " ...you were Robbed !!
STARFIGHTER77 6 months ago
In this PICT .RODNEY ( DARLING ) DILLARD looks like the " Slacked -- Jawed Yokel that You were accustomed in seeing..in every appearance here !!
JHP STARFIGHTER77 3 months ago
yeah and their stage presence could rival Mt Rushmore - but they could play so so very well
kimmer 7 months ago
Growing up country and listening to old bluegrass...and mountain songs would break the silence at night. Lots of ppl would gather on my grandma's porch ...eat pie, sing and reminisce. When I saw the Darlings on the show reminded me of home and listening to the old ppl on my grands porch. I was so little, but still a vivid memory.
Beta6 7 months ago
I love the Darling's/Dillards. The episode with the wedding that happened again with a Minister after Ernest T. Bass said they weren't married was a total GEM!
Wiseguy Beta6 7 months ago
Darlings-no apostrophe for plurals.
Beta6 Wiseguy 6 months ago
Hm....
prarieman1 7 months ago
The Andy Griffith show would've been alot different if Sherriff Taylor had just married Charlene Darling.I think itwould have been a better story down the line.
Local boy marries local girl and more agricultural hill folk oriented.
harlow1313 prarieman1 7 months ago
It also would have been a lot different had Sheriff Taylor paired up with Briscoe.
prarieman1 7 months ago
the dillards are all over you tube.
Sway 7 months ago
Interesting story.
Some of my favorite episodes include the Darlings.
Deleted 7 months ago
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harlow1313 7 months ago
No, BelleFleur, that one makes me cry.
Staunch_Reaganite 7 months ago
I love the Darling's hootenannies, but I could've used a little more moonshine jug!
Barry22 7 months ago
I think they cut an album with Gene Clark of the Byrds.
LittleMissNoName Barry22 7 months ago
The Fantastic Expedition of Dillard And Clark.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fantastic_Expedition_of_Dillard_%26_Clark
prarieman1 Barry22 7 months ago
they cut their own album its on you tube.
FrankensteinLover 7 months ago
The Darlings aka the Dillards are better than 99 percent of the garbage on the Radio and more Talented.
JHP FrankensteinLover 7 months ago
you got that right and I dont even care for bluegrass:)
FrankensteinLover JHP 7 months ago
The Garbage that Pollutes the World now days from the Radio will make you Permanently ill.haha
JHP FrankensteinLover 3 months ago
at least the Dillards had pure musical talent - I appreciated that

but todays "music" is someone "singing" into a mic and other amped up dancers looking like storm troopers dancing behind the "star"

there is very little actual pure music - whoever coined the term "boy band" should be banded
FrankensteinLover JHP 3 months ago
YESSS, So True. Todays Music is No Talent, Garbage Lyrics, Auto Tuned, sell outs. I appreciate The Older Music.
JHP FrankensteinLover 3 months ago
NOW WAIT A MINUTE!!!!!!!!!!

are you telling me that endless whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa's arent lyrics? :)

on a side note - I saw Cheap Trick on Colbert the other night. I wasnt a real big fan of them but heck they are still kicking it and did really well
LittleMissNoName 7 months ago
If I see a Darling episode, I always have to crank up the volume. Somebody smart should of gave them their own Hee Haw type variety show.
Wiseguy LittleMissNoName 7 months ago
Always "should have." NEVER "should of."
(The contraction should've SOUNDS like "should of" but is never written that way.)
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