(Sung to the tune that opens “The Andy Griffith Show:”)
♫ Well now, take, down, your fishin’ pole, and meet me at The Fishin’ Hole,
We may, not, get a bite all day, but don’t you rush away.
What a great, place, to rest your bones, and mighty fine for skippin’ stones,
You’ll feel fresh, as, a lemonade, a-settin’ in the shade.
Whether it’s hot… whether it’s cool… oh what a spot… for whistlin’ like a fool.
What a fine, day, to take a stroll, and wander by The Fishin’ Hole,
I can’t think, of, a better way, to pass the time o’ day. ♫
The name of that song is “The Fishin’ Hole,” and those were the words to the whistling theme you heard every time you saw Sheriff Andy Taylor and his son Opie walking toward Myers Lake in Mayberry. Of course Myers Lake didn’t exist, so the title openings of the show were shot here.
And just like the music in “The Andy Griffith Show,” cars also played an important part. In fact, several of their best episodes were written around them and the people who were driving them. So let’s take a gander at a few of these machines… some of them might even surprise you a bit!
Probably the most-recognized vehicle in the series is the Mayberry patrol car. Andy and Barney drove this 1961 Ford Fairlane Town Sedan with a whip antenna. They started the series with a 1960 Ford Fairlane Fordor Sedan, and later on, Andy would update the patrol car to a 1962 Ford Galaxie, a 1963 Ford Galaxie, a 1964 Ford Custom 4-Door Sedan (Uncle Ollie drove this one as well), a 1965 Ford Custom 4-Door Sedan, a 1966 Ford Custom 4-Door Sedan, and a 1967 Ford Custom 4-Door Sedan. I guess Mayberry got enough revenue off of jaywalkers, moonshiners, and cow thieves to pay for a new car every year.
This car was sold to “Mr. Independant Wheels!” (aka Barney Fife) by auto swindler “Hubcaps” Lesch (Ellen Corby, who later played Grandma Walton). Immediately after the sale, according to Wally and Gomer, this 1954 Ford Customline sedan needed, “Plugs, points, bearings, valves, rings, starter switch, ignition wires, water pump, fuel pump, oil pump, clutch, clutch bearings, clutch plate, brake lining, brake shoes, brake drums, radiator hose, and a radiator hose cover.” And it could use a good wash as well.
Bought at the war surplus auction over in Mt. Pilot, Barney added a 3-wheeled vehicle to Mayberry’s police force and nearly ran over everybody in town. This 1925 Harley-Davidson JD was finally retired to the Mayberry National Guard armory after Andy read that it was used in the battle of Chateau Thierry in 1918. But… that was seven years before this cycle was made… Oh, the wonders of Hollywood! Trivia note: The American flags on Barney’s handlebars each had 48 stars. Also, that’s Don Knotts’ stunt double on the motorcycle.
Barney Fife left the show after the first five seasons (All in black & white), but Don Knotts returned as a guest star for five episodes in color. The first one was titled “The Return Of Barney Fife,” in which he drove into Mayberry in his 1958 Edsel Pacer. Barney incorrectly called it a 1960 model with a ’61 grille, so maybe he was swindled again, this time by a used car dealer in Raleigh. The episode also won Don his 4th of five Emmys from “The Andy Griffith Show.”
After a few years on the show, Aunt Bee decided she needed her own transportation. So she bought a 1955 Ford Fairlane Sunliner convertible from Goober, and promptly backed it into a tree. Of course in real life, Ms. Bavier drove a 1966 Studebaker Daytona before some kitty cats made it their home.
“It was a be-yootiful thing to watch… just beau-tiful!,” said Floyd the barber as he watched Goober Pyle place a 1960 Rambler American inside the Mayberry courthouse, one piece at a time. Which is also how he had to remove the car… one piece at a time.
In “A Black Day For Mayberry,” the friendly folks were amazed when the “gold truck” passed through. Of course this 1959 International Harvester B-Series was a decoy, packed with sand, not gold. Shazam!
This episode, “Man In A Hurry,” frequently gets voted “Most Favorite Episode” by fans of the show. Malcolm Tucker’s 1963 Lincoln Continental gets a clogged fuel line on a Sunday, and learns to relax in Mayberry… whether he likes it or not.
That scene was basically re-written a few years later with the same actor (Robert Emhardt) in a similar car. This time, it’s Willard Foster who’s had car trouble. The newer episode featured a novelty… a car phone.
Deputy Barney Fife gives a 1961 Cadillac Fleetwood 75 limousine a parking ticket, then finds out that the car is registered to the Governor of North Carolina. Soon, Barney finds out that the Governor is going to make a special trip to Mayberry just to meet him. A little trivia here… the Governor’s driver was played by Rance Howard, the real-life father of Ron and Clint Howard. Rance appeared in several other episodes in minor roles.
A Lincoln… then a limousine. How about a 1967 Lincoln Continental Executive Limousine by Lehmann-Peterson? Andy drives Aunt Bee’s car to pick up Opie at a friend’s house… and what a collection of other Lincolns are there as well.
Bobby Fleet And His Band With A Beat rode into Mayberry in a 1948 Cadillac airport limousine. It was too long for just one parking space, so old “Reliable Barney Fife” gave them a ticket. Naturally.
There’s nothing like the lovable town drunk buying his own car. As Barney said, “Well it’s bad enough having a plain old town drunk, but now we got a mechanized one!” In “Hot Rod Otis,” Otis Campbell bought this 1933 Ford V-8, drove it while sober a few times, then sold it to Charlie Varney. Whew!
Whenever Briscoe Darling brought his clan to town, they arrived in this 1929 Ford Model AA. Music was bound to ensue, as Briscoe (Played by Denver Pyle… you may remember him also from “The Dukes of Hazzard“) always said, “Got time to breathe, got time for music!” We might also note that the Darlings’ truck was the only vehicle to be featured in both the original series and 1985’s “Return To Mayberry.”
Only in Mayberry would you find a man who walks in the treetops, wears a silver hat, has twelve extra hands, blows smoke from his ears, and jingles when he walks as if he had rings on his fingers and bells on his toes. But it’s when he gives Opie a quarter that Andy gets suspicious.
Andy thinks Opie is making all of this up (Except for the quarter), and this short dialogue gives a sample of the excellent writing on the show:
Barney: “Yeah, but how can you explain it all?”
Andy: “I can’t.”
Barney: “But you do believe in Mr. McBeevee?”
Andy: “No… no… no. I do believe in Opie.”
It turned out that Mr. McBeevee was a lineman who drove a 1957 Ford F-Series pickup with flashing lights and a service bed.
Sports cars made a few appearances on the show. Here at an auto show, Aunt Bee checks out a 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/4. It’s too bad the Taylors didn’t buy that car, because it’s worth tons now!
In “A New Doctor In Town,” William Christopher (Who also played Father Francis Mulcahy on “M*A*S*H“) arrives in Mayberry driving a 1955 Jaguar XK 140. He later removes Opie’s tonsils.
And Jim Lindsay, played by James Best (Who was also Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane on “The Dukes Of Hazzard“), arrives in style in a Mercedes-Benz 190SL.
A Mercedes-Benz look-alike, this 1965 Excalibur Series 1 wheels into Wally’s gas station. Not only is this car quite the “looker,” it has an interesting Studebaker connection as well. The pump says “Super ACME,” and I’ll bet a gallon cost less than a quarter back then.
People in the background of scenes are known as “extras” or “background actors,” so here are a couple of “background cars” that made frequent scenery along the streets of Mayberry. The white 1961 Ford Falcon and in the lower picture, a 1959 Chevrolet Biscayne and the Falcon, were frequently seen in the backgrounds.
And finally, I should mention that in the 1986 TV movie “Return To Mayberry,” Acting Sheriff Barney Fife drove a 1981 Chevy Malibu. This mid-size car was a departure from the larger Fords of yore, but seemed to serve the town and citizens of Mayberry very well.
Ah, there are plenty more, but you have to stop somewhere. So my hat tips to whomever all was involved getting the cars for the show. As Sheriff Andy Taylor might have said, “They did a out-STANDIN’ job. And we ‘preciate it!”
Now, where’s my fishin’ pole?
Image And Other Credits: The Andy Griffith Show opening image is from BasementRejects.com. The theme song lyrics came from LyricsOnDemand.com, though I added a few commas for “inflection.” The Mayberry patrol car picture was found at IMCDB.org. Barney’s New Car’s photo is from IMCDB.org. Barney’s sidecar and Harley-Davidson JD image is from IMCDB.org. Barney’s Edsel picture was found at IMCDB.org. Aunt Bee’s car’s photo is from IMCDB.org. The car in the courthouse image was found at IMCDB.org. The Mayberry gold truck photo is from IMCDB.org. The disassembled car in the courthouse picture came from IMCDB.org. The “Man In A Hurry” 1963 Lincoln Continental photo is from IMCDB.org. The 1966 Lincoln Continental image was found at IMCDB.org. The Governor’s limousine picture came from IMCDB.org. The Lincoln Continental Executive Limousine photo is from IMCDB.org. Bobby Fleet And His Band With A Beat’s Cadillac image came from IMCDB.org. Otis’ jalopy photo was found at IMCDB.org. The Darlings’ truck picture was found at IMCDB.org. Mr. McBeevee’s truck image came from IMCDB.org. The Ferrari 275 GTB/4 photo is from IMCDB.org. The Jaguar XK 140 picture was found at IMCDB.org. The only credit I can find for the Mercedes-Benz 190SL image is that it came from “The Andy Griffith Show.” The 1965 Excalibur Series 1 photograph is also from IMCDB.org. The 1961 Ford Falcon photo is from IMCDB.org. The 1959 Chevrolet Biscayne picture was found at IMCDB.org. And finally, the “Return To Mayberry” Malibu patrol car image is from IMCDB.org.