Yep, I know, this is an odd post for a science fiction author in 2019. I also know that I’m running behind on blogging (trust me, I read the emails). Still, for those of you who don’t know, Mayberry actually exists. It’s called Mount Airy, folks, and it’s about 1 hour from my house! A few days ago we drove down to visit the town itself, which still includes a lot of things you remember seeing on the classic TV show.
Yep, these are the actual doors and placards used on the Andy Griffith Show, and they now sit in the Andy Griffith Museum which is not only a fantastic place to visit, but sits on the same real estate that Griffith’s high school once stood. I even had the chance to sit in THE barber’s chair from the show – Floyd’s City Barber Shop is still there! Yea, I get it, most of the show was filmed in California and not in North Carolina, but Griffith and friends secured a lot of the film’s props when the show ended, and they are now located throughout the town in which Griffith based the show.
Mount Airy has reconstructed the actual sheriff’s office (I got to touch Andy’s desk!), the shop Helen worked at is still in operation, as is Griffith’s favorite place to eat (Snappy’s), and you actually see the real police squad cars carrying tourists around.
Why am I telling you this? Because I’m an old-school guy. I’m not into Jersey Shore or Game of Thrones. I’m into the classics – shows like Andy Griffith. I believe that this Golden Age of Hollywood delivered a product that will never be bested. They didn’t rely on remake after remake, and they typically didn’t sell a product based on sex appeal. They didn’t have to. The writing was that good.
I encourage all of you to make your way to Mount Airy, N.C., if the opportunity ever presents itself. The town is divided by train tracks and on one side you have your chain restaurants, your strip malls (complete with Wal-Mart), and your cell phone zombies who could care less about the history of good entertainment. But once you cross those tracks you’re in for a treat. You’ll find yourself back in the 1940s which, compared to 2019, must have been one incredible time period to live in.