Archive for June 13th, 2007

As a kid, the “Andy Griffith Show” was my all-time favorite program on television. Better than “Gunsmoke” or “The Rifleman,” better than “Rawhide” and much much better than “Happy Days.” The Fonz was okay, but he had nothing over Sheriff Taylor’s wide smile and ability to run Mayberry without a gun.

On most days during my elementary years, I’d walk two blocks home for lunch (by myself), grab a sandwich from mom (egg or tuna salad or maybe left over roast beef, made with WonderBread, of course) and eat in the TV room, watching another episode of Andy, Barney, Opie, Gomer, Aunt Bea, and Helen Crump. They were my TV family. I was a surrogate Opie Taylor. When I looked at my Dad, I saw Andy Taylor…although my Dad was a mechanic, not a sheriff.

Why the trip down black-and-white TV memory lane? Well this morning I heard a riotous joke on the radio (www.kfan.com). These radio hosts were doing a skit based on Carnac the Magnificent. You remember Carnac, right? Johnny Carson’s mystical wise wizard who would hold an envelop up to his head, say three words and then read the question in the envelope. 

So the radio guys were doing this and it was only so-so on the humor front, until the following:

Show host playing Carnac: “Oral B.”

Others in the studio repeating: “Oral B. Hmmm Oral B.”

Carnac: “Yes. Oral B.  There seems to be an echo in the studio.”

Sound effect: Ripping envelope

Carnac: “And the question is: What did they call Aunt Bea during her crazy college days.”

Sound effect: Much laughing and gaffawing.

I laughed out loud.

Aunt Bea was my Grandma Clara. She baked. She kept a clean house. She doted on her nephew. She gossiped about the neighbors. She talked in a sing-songy voice that grated on my nerves after five minutes.   I believe the long-standing success of this ’60s TV program was because the writers and producers managed to find in each character a way to relate to just about everyone on the planet.  From the dopey car mechanic who had no common sense to the bungling deputy who wanted to be a star in the FBI. Even Floyd the barber, a character who epitomized ALL barbers in small town America! We can still relate to each character in some fashion.

Of course when I was in grade school, I never imagined or considered that Aunt Bea would have experienced crazy college days.  Nor do I want to imagine that as an adult (shiver)!


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