Mayberry R.F.D.

Mayberry R.F.D. Information

Mayberry R.F.D. (R.F.D stands for "Rural Free Delivery", a quaint postal depiction of the rural Mayberry community) is a spin-off and direct continuation of The Andy Griffith Show under a new title, for the same sponsor, General Foods. When Andy Griffith decided to leave his series, most of the supporting characters returned for the new program, which ran for three seasons (78 episodes) on the CBS Television Network from 1968-1971. During the final season of The Andy Griffith Show, widower farmer Sam Jones (Ken Berry) and his young son Mike (Buddy Foster) are introduced and gradually become the show's focus. Sheriff Andy Taylor takes a backseat in the storylines- thus establishing the sequel series. The show's first episode, Andy and Helen's wedding, had the highest ratings in recorded television history (up to premiere date in 1968). Sheriff Taylor and newlywed wife Helen make guest appearances on RFD until late 1969, and are then written out. Mayberry RFD was popular throughout its entire run, but was canceled in CBS's infamous "rural purge" of 1971.

Plot and characters

Father and son stories involving Sam and Mike Jones are reminiscent of the parent series. Both characters are introduced in the last season of The Andy Griffith Show (TAGS), beginning with Sam's election as head of town council. Most of townfolk from the Griffith show reprise their roles in the sequel. Loyal Mayberry citizens Goober Pyle (George Lindsey), Clara Edwards (Hope Summers), Emmett Clark (Paul Hartman), and Howard Sprague (Jack Dodson) are seen regularly. Sheriff Andy Taylor and his sweetheart, Helen Crump (Aneta Corsaut), marry in the sequel's first episode. Both make additional appearances (mostly Andy), then leave the series in late 1969, with a move to Raleigh as the explanation. Aunt Bee (Frances Bavier) becomes Sam's housekeeper but leaves after the second season to be replaced by Sam's cousin, Alice Cooper (Alice Ghostley). Don Knotts and Ronny Howard, as Barney Fife and Opie Taylor (respectively), appear in the first episode. Actress Arlene Golonka (who plays Howard Sprague's sweetheart Millie Hutchins in the Griffith show) becomes Sam's love interest, Millie Swanson, in the sequel. A recurring black character named Ralph (Charles Lampkin) lives with a teen daughter and pre-teen son next to the Jones farm. Episodes include Andy's wedding ("Andy & Helen Get Married", episode #1); the christening of their infant son Andy ("Andy's Baby", episode #27); Aunt Bee getting engaged, ("Aunt Bee and the Captain", episode #16); friction over a parade ("Mayberry's Float", episode #39); and a visit from Goober's rocket-scientist brother ("Goober's Brother", episode #44).

An NBC reunion movie, Return to Mayberry, was produced in 1986 and featured many original performers from The Andy Griffith Show. Ken Berry, Buddy Foster and Arlene Golonka do not appear in the movie, nor do The Andy Griffith Show regulars Frances Bavier, Elinor Donahue, and Jack Burns. Nevertheless, Return does share continuity with the R.F.D. storyline, by maintaining that Andy and Helen are married. The Taylors' son Andy Jr., however, is never mentioned despite his nephew's birth to brother Opie.

Reception and ratings

NOTE: The highest average rating for the series is in bold text.

Season Rank Rating
1) 1968"1969 #4 25.4
2) 1969"1970 24.4
3) 1970"1971 #15 22.3
The social upheaval which occurred during The Andy Griffith Show's final 1968 season, (including the Vietnam stalemate, street protests, the slayings of Martin Luther King, Jr and Bobby Kennedy, and racial riots) had much of the nation wistful for a more stable, idealistic America. The final episode of the Andy Griffith Show was titled, "Mayberry RFD", which added an Italian-American family to the Sam Jones homestead. The series bowed-out as the number one rated show. The producers, however, chose to forego a big overhaul, and instead stuck with the winning premise of a widower, his son and the matronly Aunt Bee. Therefore, the series was much the same as, "The Andy Griffith Show", absent Andy Taylor and son Opie.

The series was number four in the Nielsen ratings the first two years of its run. While show's ratings were strong enough for renewal at the end of its third season, (finishing at 15th place for the year), it was canceled despite public complaints. That year CBS, seeking a more urban image, canceled all its rural-themed shows including Green Acres, Hee Haw and The Beverly Hillbillies, in what became known as the "rural purge".

Unlike The Andy Griffith Show and Gomer Pyle, USMC (both owned by CBS Television Distribution), Warner Bros. Television Distribution holds the rights to the series. There are currently no plans to release this series on DVD.

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Mayberry_R.F.D." and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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