Ron Howard once revealed his favorite episode of The Andy Griffith Show, and he explained that it has a wholesome connection to his personal life.
The former Opie star sat down with Larry King in 2013 to talk about his Oscar-winning career. During his interview, fans wrote in to ask questions. And one person wanted to hear about Ron’s favorite story on the classic TV series.
Ron explained that most people seem to love “Opie the Birdman.” In that installment, Opie accidentally kills a mother bird while playing with his slingshot one day. Riddled with guilt, he raises her babies on his own, and he’s heartbroken when he has to release them. He, however, prefers the episode titled “The Ball Game.”
Rance Howard, Ron’s father, wrote “The Ball Game” and based it on an actual incident he shared with his son. The story showed Opie playing in a baseball game with Andy umpiring. At one point, Opie runs to home base and thinks he has scored one for the team, but his dad calls him out.
“Opie is sure he was safe, and he’s just shattered and pretty pissed off,” Howard told King. “Well, that had happened to me and my dad. He called me out at home on a ballgame that was on my birthday. It was just a pickup game. But I couldn’t believe he called me out. My dad thought that it was hilarious that I was so upset about it. He took the idea to Andy, and they made an episode out of it.”
Rance Howard Was Regularly on ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ Set
Rance Howard was a regular on the set of The Andy Griffith Show because he was his son’s manager. He decided to take the position hoping to keep Ron from becoming a stereotypical Hollywood kid. Rance believed he could keep his son more grounded. Not to mention, he knew how to help Ron excel in his craft because he had also worked in film.
“I was there from the beginning from the time they did the pilot, which was a spinoff of The Danny Thomas Show,” Rance told The Huffington Post in 2012. “I had been working in the business. At that point, I had been in the Air Force in Special Services directing plays and variety shows. So I had a real sense, if you will, of what was needed and what was required in helping Ron learn his dialogue and working with him. Ron was terrific. He had a great sense of drama and of timing and how to use emotion in a scene.”
While working with Ron, Rance forged a friendship with lead star Andy Griffith. The two often paired together to perfect the series. Rance famously helped create the wholesome father-son bond in the show and also appeared in four episodes.
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