The Final Episode of 'The Andy Griffith Show' Was Nothing Special – But Served This Purpose

When The Andy Griffith Show ended after an eight-year run in 1968, there were no goodbyes. It was just another day in Mayberry.

While it was an anticlimactic moment, there was a reason for it.

‘The Andy Griffith Show’ reached this milestone

The Andy Griffith Show grabbed viewers’ hearts from its start in 1960. The comedy about a single dad raising his young son in a charming small town alongside their loving community was a ratings success.

Author Richard Kelly in his 1981 book The Andy Griffith Show wrote of the series, “Unlike so many programs that begin with a slick pilot and then degenerate, the Griffith Show actually improved with time. Beneath its simple rustic setting lies a high degree of sophistication.”

The final episode of the show was ‘Mayberry, R.F.D.’s pilot episode

Andy Griffith was ready to leave his show and announced he would be leaving after Season 8. Also announced was a new show, Mayberry R.F.D., to be spun off from The Andy Griffith Show.

The Griffith Show left prime-time television as quietly as it had arrived. No fanfare or drawn-out speeches. The final episode of the Griffith Show served as the pilot for its spinoff. Remaining in the new series were the characters of Goober, Emmett, Howard, and Aunt Bee.

In The Andy Griffith Show finale, farmer Sam sponsors his former Army pal Mario to come from Italy and help him on his farm. Unfortunately, Mario brings along his father and sister as well, without Sam’s consent.

Just as Sam is about to suggest the family may be better off in a more spacious neighboring town, Andy comes to the rescue and talks Sam into letting them stay. The new arrivals love Mayberry and the town has taken to them as well. They agree to stay, although they’re never seen again on Mayberry, R.F.D.

‘Mayberry, R.F.D.’s 1st episode was important

Andy Taylor and his longtime girlfriend Helen Crump are revealed to be married on the series premiere of Mayberry, R.F.D. The couple moves away and take Opie along, of course.

Aunt Bee, now without a family to care for, decides to live with her sister who lives in another state. Seeing a need in his own family, Sam asks Bee to consider helping him raise his son and run his household. She eagerly agrees, remaining in her cherished town.

Asked why he left his successful series, Griffith told the Archive of American Television in 1998, “[Barney Fife actor Don Knotts] was gone, and the show had gone into color from black and white,” Griffith said. “And it was getting like a regular situation comedy. And I was afraid I wasn’t holding up my end of it any longer. Also, I wanted to try my wings outside.”

Griffith’s manager agreed the series had worn on the actor telling Richard Kelly, “Andy had gotten to the point where he was physically and mentally tired and felt he couldn’t add any more to the character,” he said.

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