Old School Americana & Nostalgia


Andy Griffith Often Returned Home to Refresh His Mayberry Accent

Andy Griffith Often Returned Home to Refresh His Mayberry Accent

Going home for a bit means different things to people, yet Andy Griffith put a purpose behind brushing up his accent in North Carolina. Griffith, who played folksy Sheriff Andy Taylor on The Andy Griffith Show, held people’s attention with his down-home humor. Of course, it didn’t hurt that he had a natural Southern drawl.

But living away from that accent’s natural home can whittle away at its strength. Andy Griffith, who lived in Hollywood back in the ’60s, needed that personal connection with the North Carolina people. He talked about this inner need when giving an interview to The San Francisco Examiner in 1960.

Andy Griffith Needed Some NC Love to Brush Up on His Accent

“Every so often, I take my wife, Barbara, and the youngsters back home to our farm in Manteo, N.C., and just refresh myself,” Griffith said. “Yep, that’s what I do. I love going down home because everyone there is kin to one another in my area. Everyone is just wonderful to us. They act as though I’d never been away.”

Andy Griffith, already a star by this time, might just have enjoyed being treated as a regular person. In Hollywood, there is a lot of pretentiousness which takes over. Some people love flaunting their riches, beauty, and residences. While there may have been a little pretentiousness in Griffith, he never totally cut himself off from his home folk.

“Andy Taylor – that’s my name in the series – is closer to me than my skin,” Griffith said. For eight seasons on CBS, Griffith oversaw the small town of Mayberry. It’s been said that the “feel” of Mayberry reflected a little bit of Griffith’s hometown of Mount Airy, N.C.

“Alive, alert people live in small Southern mountain towns,” Griffith said. “It’s been traditionally hard for people who live in the mountains to make a living. Out of this comes a great deal of wisdom and humor. They work hard, play hard, and laugh hard.”

Griffith Wanted ‘TAGS’ to Reflect His Home State

It was important to Andy Griffith that the TV show reflected his home state of North Carolina. As an integral part of show producer, this allowed him to sit in with writers at times. He’d also look at scripts before they were finalized for episodes. Here, Griffith recalls a time when he heard something and immediately got rid of it.

“Like when we got our new housekeeper in the show and the writers called her Auntie Bee,” Griffith said, according to MeTV. “It almost made me sick. I told them at the first rehearsal, no one’s called Auntie anything. It’s Aunt. So they changed it right there. Things like that, you wouldn’t know unless you lived down there.”

This situation occurred before filming was completed on The New Housekeeper, which happened to be the opening episode for The Andy Griffith Show. We’re introduced to Sheriff Andy, Opie, Deputy Barney, and Aunt Bee.

In this show’s early first-season episodes, one can notice Andy Griffith’s tone of voice. It truly is Southern, or North Carolinian if you will. The accent is there throughout the show’s eight-season run, but it’s really strong in the first couple of seasons.

The show opens up its comedic timing, though, in its second episode. An excitable Barney drives out to the lake, where Andy and Opie are fishing. The Manhunt lets Knotts get a little loose, running from the squad car at the lake to tell Barney that something “big” is about to happen in Mayberry. From here on out, a whole bevy of Mayberry neighbors and friends make their way across the cameras.

Still, The Andy Griffith Show stayed true to its small-town roots throughout its run. With a little taste of a North Carolina accent to boot.