Andy Griffith interview resurfaces stirring up emotions in Mount Airy | News
MOUNT AIRY, N.C.– A 1998 interview with Andy Griffith has resurfaced, where the Mount Airy native is not so kind to his hometown people and says Mayberry wasn’t based on Mount Airy.
“They think that I based the show on Mount Airy. I’ve argued about this too long. I don’t care. Let them think what they want to think,” said Griffith in the interview conducted by the Archives of American Television for posterity.
“A barber up there says he cut my hair when I was a child, hell, he’ll have to be 115 years old,” said Griffith.
Longtime barber Russell Hiatt at Floyd’s City Barber Shop on Main Street says he cut Andy’s hair.
Griffith died on July 3 of a heart attack at his home in Manteo.
The 2 1/2 hour interview covered his entire career in which he is asked where the inspiration for Mayberry came from.
Griffith gives credit for creating Mayberry to the show’s producers.
“At first Sheldon [Leonard] didn’t want it to be in North Carolina, he just wanted it to be somewhere in the South. And I hate these made up names. So, we did have Mount Pilot which there’s a place called Pilot Mountain up near Mount Airy. But, I gradually started slipping in real towns in North Carolina like Asheville, and Raleigh and Siler City. And so it became, during that first year, it became a town in North Carolina,” said Griffith.
Griffith addressed the Mayberry origins again four years later when he returned home for the dedication of the Andy Griffith Parkway.
“People started saying Mayberry was based on Mount Airy. Sure sounds like it doesn’t it,” Griffith said, in 2002, in front of a large crowd in his first public visit home since 1957.
Griffith would return home a few years later for his last public visit to dedicate a TV Land statue.
“I think it has to be based on something,” said Bill Snyder of Ohio who believes no matter what Griffith may have said Mayberry will always live in the hearts of its fans.
“It’s still in me and I’m going to visit again when I come through. It really don’t matter what he’s saying,” Snyder said.
Andy Griffith’s remarks can be seen at 27:15.