Saturday, March 04, 2006

There is no Mayberry in North Carolina

With the passing of Barney Fife, I figured I'd find someplace around Raleigh, N.C., to pay my respects.

The bumbling lawman gave me many hours of television viewing enjoyment, beginning when I was but a wee lad playing on the banks of Goose Creek.

Now, here I am all growed up, sitting in the Marriott Courtyard hotel, watching the Barney Fife marathon on TVLand.

That's all I've ever said I needed. Cable TV and air conditioning. Although the weather is quite gorgeous right now here in the state capital of N.C.

But what about Barn?

I inquired of my local guide where an out-of-stater might go to leave a token of remembrance to the life of Barney Fife, aka Don Knotts.

Well, she said, there used to be a statue in downtown Raleigh of Andy and Opie (but not Barney or Floyd or Gomer or Goober) but it finally was removed from the state capital due to vandalism.

It seems that scalawags kept stealing Opie and Andy's fishing poles and doing other unsavory things to the monument to The Andy Griffith Show.

The monument, created by the good folks at TVLand, was moved to Mount Airy, the real-life hometown of Andy Griffith that is said to be the inspiration for the TV town of "Mount Pilot," which was located 12 miles away from the mythical town of Mayberry.

In Mounty Airy, there is said to be a real Floyd's Barber Shop (minus Floyd, of course, who's dead, I believe) and a Wally's Service station (minus Gomer & Goober.)

It's fitting, if you really ponder the question, that the Mayberry monument was moved out of Raleigh and over to Mount Airy, which I'm not sure I'll get to see on this visit but would sho' nuff like to see one of these days.

In The Andy Griffith Show, Raleigh was sometimes referred to as the "concrete jungle," full of city slickers and all manner of evil and temptation.

Now, based on personal observation of the last few days, I wouldn't call Raleigh a concrete jungle. In fact, it's full of trees that the locals say are just on the verge of exploding into all their green glory. But I guess to Barney and Andy, it was a pretty dangerous town and, what with vandalism and such as that, not such a good place to put a monument saluting the small-town values of a place made up for TV.

6 comments:

JD Allen said...

I always thought it was "Mt. Pilate", like in "Pontius", instead of "pilot", like in "airplane". Deadly serious, important things like this should be researched in depth.

I would, but I can't even remember what network it was on, back in the day.

Give the old owl call, if you find out. Hootey-hoo, hootey-hoo.

Banjo Jones said...

You may be right, JD. I never saw it wrote up in the Mayberry Gazette.

ttyler5@hotmail.com said...

It was on CBS, and where did they film the shots of the town?

Anonymous said...

FYI: McMurtry thanked son James who has played with Dylan.

H. Brute
Sharpstown, TX

Anonymous said...

No, no, Banjo. Mt. Airy isn't the inspiration for Mt. Pilot; Mt. Airy is the inspiration for Mayberry. Mt. Pilot was based on nearby Pilot Mountain (those clever Hollywood types!). I lived just south of there in Winston-Salem for a while and was inundated with this stuff. In fact, I even bought my German shepherd in good old Mt. Airy.

Banjo Jones said...

i guess i was misinformed by my local guide in Raleigh. now that i think about it, she was from san diego, calif.