I never met ANDY GRIFFITH, and the closest I came was when I got a call to work on AMERICAN GRAFFITI, but turned it down to work on THE STREETS OF SAN FRANCISCO. If I had, I would have met Opie, so that would make me once removed from him. I was friends with Richie’s (Ron Howard) dad from HAPPY DAYS, actor Tom Bosley (see my blog entitled, “Happy Days Memories”), so perhaps that counts. However, I was in Mayberry.
During the shooting of one episode of THE STREETS OF SAN FRANCISCO (Title: Jury’s Out) they had to use a soundstage at Desilu Studios. They needed a detailed set supposedly inside a cargo ship, and the San Francisco studio was too small to build it. I went down to Culver City while they were filming, and during a break wandered outside to the studio’s small backlot. Talk about deja vu; there was Sheriff’s Andy’s courthouse office, Goober’s gas station, in other words, there was Mayberry! So I was there, standing out on the street of a place I watched as a child on 60s television…a TV icon…it was so unexpected, but here it was in real life! Needless to say, it was quite an experience.
Tony Piazza is author of the 1930s Hollywood murder mystery novel, “Anything Short of Murder,” which had its roots on the TCM fan website. His next novel, “The Curse of the Crimson Dragon” was released early 2012 and is now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites. He was an actor/extra during the 1970s and worked with such legends as Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, and Karl Malden. His non-fiction e-book “Bullitt Points” is an in depth look at the making of “Bullitt” from a person who was there. Look for it where fine books are sold, or at the link posted below. All profits go to the Boys Republic charity: www.bullittpoints.com.