Thursday, August 1, 2013

Gee I think you're swell (The Turtles)

This morning I watched an episode of The Andy Griffith Show, originally produced in 1963, while I ate my cereal before heading off to work. I'd recorded it on mysky.

I laughed out loud... a lot! And smiled... a lot! And enjoyed it...a lot!

I used to watch the programme way back in the 1960s. I loved it then, and it appears that I love it still.

This seems to be an anomaly. I've recorded and watched other sixties/seventies/eighties iconic TV and the appeal has waned considerably. There are a number of channels now that just show retro TV: Jones and Cue and two. I've taken to sampling old shows to see if they still hold up.

I couldn't last the distance with Mission: Impossible. It was slow paced and proved unable to transfer the excitement from that fuse intro into a whole 60 minute episode. It had dated badly.

The Twilight Zone (the remade one from the eighties, not the original Rod Serling version) has lasted comparatively better because it's not trying to be a wham bam action show. It's purely story driven and once you get past the eighties' hair, fashions and cinematography the story is still providing the momentum.

But each one comes in a distant second to The Andy Griffith Show.

I have delayed watching it because I was a tad scared that it would make me cringe and wonder what I'd loved in the first place. I should have had more faith.

Ron Howard, or Ronny Howard as he was then, gets second billing after Andy and before Don Knotts and he deserves it. He's amazingly self contained and knowing for such a young actor.

Apart from him and Andy's laid back, laconic style and Don Knotts' physical humour and comic timing, the key delight in the show I watched was the fantastic dialogue and interplay between Sheriff Andy Taylor (played by Andy Griffith) and his son Opie (played by Ron Howard).

In this episode Opie is influenced by a spoiled new kid in town who gets a bigger allowance and doesn't have to work for it. Opie tries to get this deal from his pa. Try watching the scene (posted below) without smiling and laughing loudly. If you can watch it and not be moved you've come to the wrong blog!!

The whole scene was warm, natural, funny, not overly sentimental, and idyllic and idealistic in a non cheesy way.

I don't remember ever watching the show in the sixties when I was roughly the same age as Opie (Ron is three years my senior) and wishing, during the opening credits as Andy and Opie carry fishing rods along a country road while the down home whistling happens on the soundtrack, that I was Opie and my dad was Andy.

But watching it now I do somewhat regret that our father son relationship wasn't as tight as the show portrays. It was a good relationship that got better with time but it wasn't as idyllic as Andy/Opie.

There were many reasons for that.

Apart from other things that don't obviously come to mind, we didn't live in Mayberry (no cops with guns in Royal Oak), I had a mum who I spent far more time with (there is no mother role in the show), our dialogue wasn't scripted (worked on until it was 'perfect') and Opie was an only child (I shared my parents with my younger brother).

I did subconsciously bond with Opie I'm sure. He was like a cool older brother from another mother to us all.

Love and peace - Wozza

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