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Mayberry to Matlock and More

Winners’ Wisdom: By Jim Stovall

This past week, I joined the rest of the world in mourning the loss of Andy Griffith.  He died at age 86 after living a successful life both professionally and personally. 

He will always be remembered for playing the sheriff on The Andy Griffith Show.  That series began over a half-century ago and has never been off the air.  You can go virtually anywhere in the world and enjoy The Andy Griffith Show dubbed into a myriad of languages. 

Although his role as Sheriff Andy Taylor and the lessons from that show will be his lasting legacy, if you only experienced Andy Griffith through that role, you missed a lot. 

His first love was singing gospel music and standards, although initially he failed to launch his career as a singer.  He came to national prominence as a comedian performing long monologues as a storyteller.  This led to a major role on Broadway and television in the show, No Time for Sergeants.  If  you never saw Andy Griffith perform as a dramatic actor, you’re in for a treat when you watch him in the lead role in Elia Kazan’s film, A Face in the Crowd. 

After his Mayberry fame, Andy Griffith did a number of guest appearances and commercials until he found another TV home playing the great southern lawyer, Ben Matlock.  When I began my company, the Narrative Television Network, one of the first syndicated programs we narrated for millions of blind and visually impaired people across the country, was NBC’s Matlock.  

When you write a narration script for an existing program, as our team does at NTN, you spend many hours focusing on each program.  You come to appreciate great performances and quickly become bored with sloppy productions.  As a writer myself, I came to truly appreciate Andy Griffith as an economical and powerful actor in his role as Ben Matlock.  Later in his life, Andy Griffith returned to his first love and recorded a number of best-selling, award-winning gospel albums. 

Media analysts and historians will continue to debate why The Andy Griffith Show has become and will remain an enduring classic.  The fact of the matter is that through the vehicle of a simpler time and place, Andy Griffith introduced us all to our higher selves through the characters in Mayberry.  Mayberry showed us all that by taking away everything we thought was important, we can drill down to the things that really matter. 

As you go through your day today, draw on your Mayberry memories and avoid the clutter.  Focus on the things that matter and laugh a little.

Today’s the day!

Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network, as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift. He is also a columnist and motivational speaker. He may be reached at 5840 South Memorial Drive, Suite 312, Tulsa, OK 74145-9082; by email at Jim@JimStovall.com; or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jimstovallauthor.

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