The final day of filming on The Andy Griffith Show
The last episode filmed was not the last episode that aired!
Television shows, like all good things, must come to an end. That's the sad reality facing viewers everywhere who fall in love with long-running series. Other than The Simpsons, Hollywood has yet to crank out anything that can be wrung out in perpetuity, delighting audiences forever.
While the citizens of Mayberry would live on to see more adventures in Mayberry R.F.D., the far more popular Andy Griffith Show wrapped production on February 21, 1968. The last day of shooting was for an episode titled "A Girl for Goober," the 249th episode in the series.
Even though it was the last episode to be filmed, "A Girl for Goober" wasn't the final episode aired on TV. That distinction is held by "Mayberry R.F.D.," an episode that sets up the spinoff.
Journalists from a wide-ranging list of publications were on set to document the historic conclusion. According to Daniel de Visé's Andy and Don, Griffith met the reporters warmly but with little to say.
"I felt strange this morning," Andy told the reporters. "It was the same when Don [Knotts] left, three years ago."
One reporter noted that the cast and crew looked "as if [each] adjust finished running a thousand miles."
Griffith wondered aloud, "I don't know what I'll do next week."
Luckily for young "Ronny" Howard, he wasn't yet an adult, so his options weren't quite so open-ended. Howard returned to Burbank public schools the following Monday to finish out his education.
Right around four o'clock that afternoon, the crew of The Andy Griffith Show filmed its final scene.
Here's an excerpt from TV Guide reporting on those final moments of production:
"For one last time, Sheriff Andy Taylor stood silhouetted against the jail-cell mock-up on Stage 1 at the Desilu Studios, a six-pointed silver star pinned to the left breast of his gabardine uniform."
Griffith reportedly struggled to stay in character as he delivered his final line filmed for the show. It was a question posed to Goober about his date: "Are you gonna see her again?"
Then, the cameras stopped rolling, the lights stopped shining, and Andy Griffith stopped being sheriff of Mayberry. He left the soundstage and removed his badge.
That evening, 251 guests descended on Griffith's golf club in Toluca Lake for a wrap party. Andy Griffith kept his speech short while tears rolled down his cheeks. "Well, it's been awfully good. It's been the best eight years of my life. I'll see ya again."