"The Andy Griffith Show," arguably the greatest television sitcom of all time, is approaching the 50th anniversary of its 1960 debut. And what's remarkable is that in the fifty years since the show premiered, the Mayberry classic has never been off the air in this country -- and the comedy still holds up. The episodes (at least the black & white ones) are every bit as funny now as they were then.
Locally, the folks over at WRAL say "Andy Griffith Show" repeats have run on channel 5 since the mid 1960s, when the show was first offered for syndication. They even ran it in prime time for awhile in 2003 in the place of the seedy (by 2003 standards) reality show, "Cupid." Currently, you can catch it on WRAL on Saturday mornings at 4am.
Andy and Barney and the gang are also very much at home on TV Land these days. That network is celebrating the show's golden anniversary with special programming during their "50 Days of Andy," featuring daily marathons and culminating with the airing of the top 50 episodes as voted on by fans (you can vote here).
During TV Land's "50 Days" (we're in the middle of them right now), "Andy" episodes are aired from 3pm to 6pm, Monday through Friday. During each block of shows, TV Land offers up interesting Mayberry trivia.
The final results of the fan voting will air in two sweet sets of marathons: Saturday, September 25 from 8am to 9pm, and on Sunday, September 26 from 8am to 8:30pm.
The show's actual anniversary is Sunday, October 3, and TV Land will also air a marathon of "landmark" episodes that day, beginning at 4pm.
I'm heading over to TV Land now to vote for my favorite. It's awfully hard to choose, though: "The Pickle Story," "Man in a Hurry," "The Haunted House," "Goober and the Art of Love," "Convicts at Large."
In the end, I will probably go with the episode that makes me laugh (Barney: "[Whistle] Gee, I'm feelin' good! [Whistle] Gee, I'm feelin' baaaad. [Whistle] Here comes a cat!"), but also makes me cry (Andy: "But don't the trees seem nice and full?"): "Opie the Birdman."
Voting ends September 22.