Old School Americana & Nostalgia


Is Mayberry a Real Place? Where ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Was Filmed

Is Mayberry a Real Place? Where ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Was Filmed

Tuning in to see The Andy Griffith Show every week might leave some fans wondering about the location for the show’s filming. Was it done in North Carolina? Or was it all just filmed in one studio spot? Well, we do know that the show never went “on the road” to film episodes.

Andy Griffith grew up in the small town of Mount Airy, North Carolina, and the city’s charm stayed with him. Things like chatting with people one-on-one or walking along Main Street and seeing the shops meant something to him. Those were places and memories far away from the business of Hollywood.

The Andy Griffith Show, however, was filmed at Desilu Studios, the home for other TV shows like Star Trek and The Untouchables. And yes, before you ask, those studios were the production home of I Love Lucy, run by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.

Exterior shots in Mayberry were filmed at Forty Acres in Culver City, California. One episode that highlighted some of the exterior areas was Mountain Wedding from Season 1, featuring Howard Morris as Ernest T. Bass and Denver Pyle as Briscoe Darling.

‘The Andy Griffith Show’s Spinoff Series Also Used Mayberry as Its Location

Once The Andy Griffith Show ended its eight-season run on CBS, that didn’t put an end to using Mayberry for a sitcom. Andy Griffith used a few of his final episodes to introduce fans to the new characters on Mayberry R.F.D. Andy Taylor introduced Ken Berry as widowed farmer Sam Jones, along with his son Mike, played by Buddy Foster. The spinoff ran for just three seasons, ending in 1971.

This new show allowed other Andy Griffith Show cast members to keep working. Frances Bavier as Aunt Bee, George Lindsey as Goober, and others were regulars on Mayberry R.F.D.

Even in the years after Griffith’s show ended and landed in reruns, fans have gone to Mount Airy. They wanted to see for themselves what made this small town so magical for Griffith. He had homes in California and North Carolina, so he would “go home” at times.

When filming episodic television, actors, makeup artists, crew members, and producers become like a team. One area does its part while another tends to another section of the show. Once all the parts come together, it usually makes for smooth sailing. Prepping to film an episode takes a lot of footwork behind the scenes.

‘TAGS’ Filming Came to an End in 1968

Now, what happens when you follow a series for eight seasons and it comes to an end? It can kind of feel like losing a family member. The Andy Griffith Show produced solid ratings for CBS during its run, but Griffith wanted a break. It doesn’t mean, though, that emotions are not running high when calling it quits.

That day finally arrived on February 21, 1968, when A Girl for Goober was being filmed. While this was the final one filmed, the show ran an episode dedicated to Mayberry R.F.D. as its last original one on air. Griffith didn’t have a lot to say when chatting with reporters who had gathered together on that auspicious day.

“I felt strange this morning,” Griffith said to the group. “It was the same when Don [Knotts] left, three years ago.” He added, “I don’t know what I’ll do next week.” These comments dome from Daniel de Vise’s book on the show and its cast and crew.

Over the years, actors who have worked on long-running television shows have spoken of “the grind” they go through. It’s a lot of work to keep something like The Andy Griffith Show fresh and moving forward. Yet getting the show filmed in one location all the time provides a home base for cast and crew alike.