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Andy Griffith Statue - On Tuesday, October 28, 2003, the TV Land cable channel unveiled bronze statuary depicting widower Sheriff Andy Taylor (Andy Griffith) and his young son, Opie (Ron Howard) from the classic CBS rural situation comedy THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW/CBS/1960-68.

The Andy Griffith Statue

The inspiration for the statues is derived from the opening sequence of each episode as Andy and Opie are seen walking along a dirt road by a lake with fishing poles in hand.

Although the original series was actually based in the sleepy fictional town of Mayberry, North Carolina (near Mt. Pilot), the statues purchased and installed by TV Land are located in Pullen Park in the real town of Raleigh, North Carolina.


"Mayberry is a state of mind that represents the very best of the North Carolina culture -- friendly, unpretentious, compassionate, fun-loving, decent and solid. As the capital of North Carolina, Raleigh is eager to welcome two such old and dear friends home. We can't wait to see Andy's and Opie's statue and invite everyone in North Carolina, the country and TV Land to visit and embrace this graceful state of mind." -- Charles Meeker, Mayor, City of Raleigh.


A year later, a replica of the statues dedicated in Raleigh, North Carolina was installed on the lawn in front of Andy Griffith Playhouse in the town of Mt. Airy, North Carolina as part of a special ceremony on Friday, September 24th 2004 to kick off the town’s annual 15th Mayberry Days celebration. 78-year-old Andy Griffith, a Mt. Airy native, presided at the unveiling ceremony.

Andy Griffith Statue in Mt. Airy
Mt. Airy Statue

Sadly, six months later, the Mt. Airy site was vandalized on April 28th in 2005 by an unknown fan/felonious collector. The perpetrator stole the plaque (set in concrete at the base of the statues) that bore the words: "a simpler time, a sweeter place." Look like it's time for a "Citizen's ARREST! Citizen's ARREST!"

In late February 2010, the Andy Griffith statue was again violated by vandals who painted Andy's hair green and his mouth and badge red. Luckily, the statue of Opie was not damaged. A reward was offered for the arrest of the perpetrators.

Like other statues dedicated by TV LAND, the Andy Taylor & Opie bronze statues were created by Studio EIS, a three-dimensional design and sculpture studio in New York founded by brothers Ivan and Elliot Schwartz.

The Studio EIS sculpture and design team is comprised of 10 members which includes portrait Sculptor, Stuart Williamson, a former senior at Madam Tussaud’s London, as well as Mark Barnett and Kiril Kirov. All are under the direction of Ivan Schwartz, Founder and Art Director for the project.

Other commemorative statues to immortalize TV characters as part of the on-going "TV Land Landmark" initiative included bus driver, Ralph Kramden (Jackie Gleason) at NYC's Port Authority; Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore) in Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis; Dr. Robert Hartley (Bob Howard) at Chicago's Navy Pier; and (as of 2005) good witch, Samantha Stephens (Elizabeth Montgomery) in Salem, Massachusetts.

In 2006, Tom Hellebrand, a fan of THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW commissioned a statue of bumbling deputy Barney Fife to stand in Mount Airy, NC along with the existing statues of Sheriff Andy Taylor and his boy, Opie but the folks at CBS/Paramount studios who controlled the rights to the character "Nipped" that project "in the bud."

When Hellebrand offered to give the statue to Morgantown, West Virginia, the home town of Don Knotts, his widow Francey thought that the image of Barney was inappropriate and that a statue of Don Knotts, not of Fife should be erected.

In frustration Hellebrand finally abandoned the project and arranged to have the uncompleted clay statue of Barney Fife destroyed. Actor Don Knotts, of course, died in February 2006 at the age of 81.


TRIVIA NOTE: The 'goin' fishin' theme seen in the TV LAND statues of Andy Taylor and Opie are echoed in series theme song lyrics (never used) that invite the viewers to:

Well, now, take down your fishin' pole
And meet me at the fishin' hole,
We may not get a bite all day,
But don’t you rush away.
What a great place to rest your bones
And mighty fine for skippin' stones,
You’ll feel fresh as a lemonade,
A-settin in the shade.
Whether it’s hot, whether it’s cool,
Oh what a spot for whistlin' like a fool.

What a fine day to take a stroll
And wander by The fishin' hole,
I can’t think of a better way
To pass the time o’ day.
We’ll have no need to call the roll
When we get to The fishin' hole,
There’ll be you, me, and Old Dog Trey, To doodle time away.
If we don’t hook a perch or bass,
We’ll cool our toes in dewy grass,
Or else pull up a weed to chaw,
And maybe set and jaw.

Hangin' around, takin' our ease,
Watchin' that hound a-scratchin'
At his fleas.

Come on, take down your fishin' pole And meet me at the fishin' hole,
I can’t think of a better way
To pass the time o’ day.

Opie and Andy Go Fishing - THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW


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