When Andy Griffith left television, his plan for life after was simple
"I thought it was going to be a big chance to discover myself."
It can be hard for actors to let go of a beloved character, but Andy Griffith knew it was time to move on to other roles and projects. The Andy Griffith Show saw a lot of success, and from 1960 to 1968, viewers got an episodic dose of the fictional town of Mayberry every week.
A few changes happened throughout its run; for example, Don Knotts left the show, and it went from black & white to color. Yet, audiences tuned in consistently to see what hilarious situations Andy, Aunt Bee, Opie and more got themselves into and got the laughs they were looking for.
However, after eight years of portraying the small-town sheriff, Griffith turned his show over to Ken Berry, and the new version or spin-off was called Mayberry R.F.D. So what was the actor's plan after leaving television? To him, it was simple.
According to an article in The Post-Crescent in 1970, Griffith would "make movies when the spirit or story moved him. He was going to spend a lot of time with his wife and kids." To really take in the new point in his life, he was also going to look at "sunrises over the bay in front of his retreat at Manteo, N.C."
Griffith said, "I thought it was going to be a big chance to discover myself and to play things I'd never had a chance to play before." Things went differently than planned, though. He made one picture at Universal called Angel in His Pocket that was shot in six weeks, but they were having trouble finding the right scripts for him.
"I had a picture contract, and I asked Universal to let me out of it, and they did, except for one picture a year. That's all right: they are having trouble finding the right scripts," he said.
What did Griffith decide to do next? Head back to television, which was something he was grateful for. "I'm lucky to be able to go back to television — I see an awful lot of actors, including very big stars, hanging around not working because they can't find good enough material," he added.
Coming back to television didn't mean he would be back in Mayberry, though. "I've got to leave that. I can't be Andy Taylor one day and Andy whatever-my-name-will-be in the new series without getting people pretty confused."