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.

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The first time Andy Griffith performs with the Darlings on The Andy Griffith Show
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"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 40 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 41 months ago
and andy in the guitar player world was to that like a Mcds hamburger would be to the fast food world
JHP 41 months ago
very talented musicians - but the stage presence of a cold bowl of mashed potatos
RedSamRackham JHP 23 months ago
* Yet they've been a popular attraction performing in Branson MO.
JHP RedSamRackham 23 months ago
they are a great band - I'll admit that - but to me if I was a Metallica fan and then tried to listen to kenny g (it just don't work for me) - its all about taste in the music that appeals to you

and then to top it off in TAGS - Andy was always there with his lameo geee-tar playing
STARFIGHTER77 41 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 " were Robbed !!
STARFIGHTER77 41 months ago
In this PICT .RODNEY ( DARLING ) DILLARD looks like the " Slacked -- Jawed Yokel that You were accustomed in every appearance here !!
JHP STARFIGHTER77 37 months ago
yeah and their stage presence could rival Mt Rushmore - but they could play so so very well
kimmer 41 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 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 41 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 41 months ago
Darlings-no apostrophe for plurals.
Beta6 Wiseguy 41 months ago
prarieman1 41 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 41 months ago
It also would have been a lot different had Sheriff Taylor paired up with Briscoe.
prarieman1 41 months ago
the dillards are all over you tube.
Sway 41 months ago
Interesting story.
Some of my favorite episodes include the Darlings.
Deleted 41 months ago
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harlow1313 41 months ago
No, BelleFleur, that one makes me cry.
Staunch_Reaganite 41 months ago
I love the Darling's hootenannies, but I could've used a little more moonshine jug!
* On the episode where Andy, Barney & Gomer tried to rebuild that bandstand in the park they should've brought in the Dillards to perform!
Barry22 41 months ago
I think they cut an album with Gene Clark of the Byrds.
LittleMissNoName Barry22 41 months ago
The Fantastic Expedition of Dillard And Clark.
prarieman1 Barry22 41 months ago
they cut their own album its on you tube.
ClemCarpenter Barry22 26 months ago
I take it that album was released after the landmark Sweethearts Of The Rodeo LP......
FrankensteinLover 41 months ago
The Darlings aka the Dillards are better than 99 percent of the garbage on the Radio and more Talented.
JHP FrankensteinLover 41 months ago
you got that right and I dont even care for bluegrass:)
FrankensteinLover JHP 41 months ago
The Garbage that Pollutes the World now days from the Radio will make you Permanently ill.haha
JHP FrankensteinLover 38 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 37 months ago
YESSS, So True. Todays Music is No Talent, Garbage Lyrics, Auto Tuned, sell outs. I appreciate The Older Music.
JHP FrankensteinLover 37 months ago

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 41 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 41 months ago
Always "should have." NEVER "should of."
(The contraction should've SOUNDS like "should of" but is never written that way.)
Sadly they were busy with what has turned out to be a fairly successful career, with the current incarnation still gigging today with extended family members in the lineup....
JHP LittleMissNoName 26 months ago
hate to say it - but the south despised Hee Haw (I think I know why)

I loved the show - corny humor (pardon the pun and I had a Man Crush on Roy Clark - what talent!!!!!!!)
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