Thursday, July 5, 2012

Andy Griffith: Freemason Or Not?

Andy Griffith (1926 - 2012)
"Mornin' ladies, my goodness don't you look happy! 
Must be cuttin' somebody up pretty good."

~Sheriff of Mayberry, Andy Taylor

As Americans everywhere were celebrating the Fourth of July weekend in 2012, some very sad news arrived.  Andy Griffith passed away at the age of 86.  And just about everyone from the very young, to the very old knew exactly who this man was, and was saddened by the news.  He was Sheriff Andy Taylor--he was Ben Matlock.  If you were too young to remember the shows when they were first on television, you remember watching reruns of The Andy Griffith Show and Matlock (and still can just about any time day or night).  I saw an interview with Andy Griffith, and in it, he said he saw himself as a storyteller.  He certainly was. And he surrounded himself with a cast of some of the most unique actors, who portrayed some of the most interesting characters in television history to tell those stories.  There had never been prior, nor is there ever likely to be another cast quite like the one that populated the fictional town of Mayberry. It seems like everyone took a moment over the weekend to pause, and remember all the hours we've spent with him in our living rooms watching him on television, and feeling as if we knew him.

Recieving Medal of Freedom from President Bush--
still think he should have worn the grey Matlock suit
Andy said every once in awhile, he'd be out in public, and somebody behind him would recognize him and instead of bothering him, they would just start whistling the theme to the Andy Griffith Show.  And he'd turn and smile at them, and give them a wave.  Few may be surprised to hear this, but Andy Griffith was also a Grammy Award Winning musician.  He sang and played gospel music.  I'm not very familiar with his music, but music was always a part of both his life in Mayberry, and later as Ben Matlock in Atlanta.  He'd sing and play with Barney on the porch.  He played and sang with James Best (known for his later role as Rosco P. Coltraine) at the jail.  Played and sang with Denver Pyle and his hillbilly jug band.  He even sang and played with Randy Travis when he defended him on Matlock.  We know Andy mostly through the characters he portrayed during his lifetime, but I can't help but think that art imitated life when it came to Andy Griffith. 

Was he a Freemason?  Andy Griffith was one of those individuals that when I was writing my Famous American Freemasons series I checked on--along with Jimmy Stewart, Humphrey Bogart, Don Knotts, Peter Falk, etc.  That was my "wish list" when I was looking for Freemasons to profile in my books. His name did appear on a few lists at the time, and I had very much hoped he would be somebody I could include in my books.  However, Andy Griffith was not a Freemason.  Although as I've said about others in the past, he certainly possessed all the prerequisites.  Freemason or not, what a great legacy he left behind, that I'm sure Americans will continue to enjoy for generations to come.

Goodbye Andy.  You will be missed. 

~TEC

What was your favorite episode of The Andy Griffith Show?  Mine has to be (and I think my dad would agree) the one where the goat ate a box of dynamite . . . what's yours?

6 comments:

  1. Well done Brother. Very nice tribute to a great man.

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    1. Thanks. So what's yours? I know you have a favorite episode...

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  2. Nice job Todd. I always liked the episode where Barney sang "bass" and who could forget Citizen's Arrest.

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    1. "Citizen's arrest! Citizen's arrest!" That was a classic, too. Were there any bad ones?

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  3. As a new EA Mason, I was hoping him to be. He was my childhood hero always fair and of good nature. Andy was what I looked to as a role model of what a good man should be. He is truly loved and missed.

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    1. I hear you. Me too. Even enjoyed him as Ben Matlock.

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