America's Favorite Country Bumpkin

Andy Griffith

Reading Comprehension for June 1

Have you ever heard of the town of Mayberry? The name brings to mind pictures of a sleepy little one-horse town. In this vision, Opie, a little red-headed boy, is strolling along, fishing pole in hand. With him is his father, the town sheriff.

Nearly everyone knows Opie and "Sheriff Andy" from the old Andy Griffith Show. The show first came out in 1960. For eight years, kids and parents alike watched Andy and the others every week. Since then, many more have watched reruns of the show. More than fifty years later, viewers still enjoy its simple stories and warm humor.

Andy Griffith was the man who played Sheriff Andy Taylor on the show. One big reason the show was such a hit was that Andy played his part so well. He seemed born to be the wise, easy-going sheriff of a sleepy little town.

Parts of The Andy Griffith Show came from Andy's real life. The actor was born June 1, 1926, in North Carolina. His home town of Mount Airy is a little country burg, much like Mayberry. In fact, some places in Mayberry come from the real town. Sheriff Andy and his deputy Barney often ate at Snappy Lunch. Mount Airy has a real café by the same name. There was also a Floyd's Barber Shop in both the real and the made-up town.

Andy grew up in Mount Airy. He earned a college degree in music. He was a singer as well as an actor. His specialty, however, was always country humor. His first recording was not a song, but a monologue (a speaking part for one person). Its title was "What it Was, Was Football." In it, Andy played the part of a country person seeing a football game for the first time. He described the game in "hillbilly" speech.

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