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Mayberry, North Carolina is a fictional community that was the setting for two popular American television sitcoms, The Andy Griffith Show (1960–1968) and Mayberry R.F.D. (1968–1971); Mayberry was also the setting for a 1986 reunion television film titled Return to Mayberry. Mayberry is said to be based on Andy Griffith's hometown of Mount Airy, North Carolina. Mount Airy is also known as Mayberry and called by both names by its residents.

The name "Mayberry"

According to show episodes, the community of Mayberry was named for fictional founder John Mayberry. Purportedly, Andy Griffith himself chose the name of the fictional community. Griffith, however, told Larry King in 2003 that Artie Stander is the person who thought of the name Mayberry; Stander was one of the show's creators and writers.[1]

"Mayberry" is mentioned many times in television shows such as Cheers, House, M.D., Criminal Minds, Supernatural, How I Met Your Mother, Buffy, and Scrubs.[citation needed] According to the episode "The Battle of Mayberry", the town was almost named Taylortown in honor of Colonel Carleton Taylor, who was one of the first settlers in the town.

Specific features

Mayberry had one traffic light and little in the way of indigenous crime with the exception perhaps of moonshining and bootlegging. Speeding was also mentioned in the area, like that on Highway 6 in the fourth season episode "Barney's Sidecar". Out-of-town bank robbers, scam artists, escaped convicts, and vagrants occasionally found their way to Mayberry. The county and the town share the same name and jurisdiction. In episode 44 "Sheriff Barney", the mayor of nearby Greendale relates that Mayberry County has had the lowest crime rate in the state for two years in a row under Sheriff Taylor. The town only had one long-distance telephone line, as referenced in the episode "Man in a Hurry", that two old ladies shared each Sunday preventing others from using the telephone.

In the opening scene of season 8, episode 30 (the last episode), a sign at the railroad station lists the population and elevation of Mayberry:

Population: 5,360
Elevation: 671

However, this conflicts with the comment made by choir director John Masters to Andy Taylor, that "there's got to be a decent tenor in a town of two-thousand people" in the episode The Song Festers - season 4, episode 20. And, in season 7, episode 23 ("The Statue"), Howard Sprague refers to a population of 1,800.

Mayberrites

Andy does his part for the Mayberry town band.  Barney and Gomer are not sure he's helping the cause.
Andy does his part for the Mayberry town band. Barney and Gomer are not sure he's helping the cause.

Archetypal small town

Real-life models

Many assume Mayberry was loosely based on Andy Griffith's hometown of Mount Airy, North Carolina, but actually, Griffith has indicated that nearby Pilot Mountain, also in Surry County, North Carolina, inspired him in creating the town. Pilot Mountain likely was the inspiration for the fictional town of "Mount Pilot", a nearby larger town in relation to Mayberry, often referred to and occasionally visited by the characters in The Andy Griffith Show. The county seat of Surry County is in Dobson; thus, this is the location of the nearest courthouse to Mount Airy. One episode has a fictional nearby location - "Pierce County". Another episode has Barney Fife referring to Sheriff Taylor and himself as "the law west of Mount Pilot".

Other place names used in the show refer to actual places in North Carolina, such as Raleigh—which was also often called "Capital City" – Siler City, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Chapel Hill, Stokes County, Elm City and Charlotte. One of the stars of the show, Frances Bavier (who played Aunt Bee) retired to Siler City in real life. (Betty Lynn who played Thelma Lou retired to Mount Airy.)

In episode 248 "A Girl For Goober", the towns of Manteo and Toast are mentioned. Andy Griffith owned a home in Manteo (on North Carolina's Atlantic coast), and Toast is about two miles outside of Mt. Airy in Surry County. Stokes County, which borders Surry County to the east, is mentioned as the location of Myers Lake in episode 140 "Andy And Helen Have Their Day".

In episode 62 "Cousin Virgil", the bus picks up Barney's cousin in Currituck. A Currituck County is located in eastern North Carolina.

In episode 17 "Alcohol And Old Lace" while looking for moonshine stills, Barney suggests looking into Fancy Gap, Virginia, a town just across the state line from Mt. Airy.

In episode 60 "Bookie Barber", Aunt Bee states that Floyd's Barber Shop has received phone calls from as far away as Morehead City.

In episode 136 "Opie's Fortune", a man from Bannertown lost $50. Bannertown is a few miles from Mt. Airy in Surry County.

In episode 68 "Barney Mends a Broken Heart", the towns of Harnett and Yancey are mentioned. Both a Harnett County and a Yancey County are in North Carolina. In episode 3 "The Guitar Player" played by James Best, who later played Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane on The Dukes of Hazzard, Best's character Jim Lindsey buys his guitar picks in Winston-Salem, which is actually the nearest big city to Mount Airy (37 miles).

In Season 4, Episode 3 of Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., (“Corporal Carol”) Gomer tells the corporal (played by Carol Burnett) that he is from Mayberry, North Carolina, “just a little bitty town about 30 miles outside of Raleigh“.

Origins and expansion

Mayberry originated in an episode of The Danny Thomas Show and was the setting for The Andy Griffith Show, Mayberry RFD, and the 1986 reunion film Return to Mayberry.

Eponymous real life community

Mayberry is the name of a real community in Patrick County, Virginia; located 22 miles northeast of Andy Griffith's hometown of Mount Airy, North Carolina. The Mayberry Trading Post, home of the Mayberry, Virginia post office until it closed in 1922, told local TV station WGHP-TV that Griffith and his father made many trips to the Mayberry Trading Post.

Town landmarks

Public Buildings

Houses

Entertainment/Religious Venues

Commercial Establishments

Places to Shop

Places to Eat

Lodging

Physical Landmarks

In popular culture

Due to the success and fame of the television show, "Mayberry" has been used as a term for both idyllic small-town life and for rural simplicity (for both good and ill).

In a song by Rascal Flatts titled "Mayberry", the town is mentioned: "Well I miss Mayberry sitting on the porch drinking ice cold Cherry Coke where everything is black and white."

In the Lynyrd Skynyrd song “Simple Life” (from the album “God & Guns”), there’s a line in the lyrics: “…put my feet up, watch a rerun on TV, Laughing with Ole Barney, Andy and Aunt Bee…”.

In the song called "Grandpa's Interview" on the Neil Young album Greendale: "Shows with love and affection, Like mama used to say, A little Mayberry livin', Can go a long way."

Home, the second episode of the fourth season of the television show The X-Files, makes frequent references to Mayberry because of the size of the town in which the investigation takes place.

In the song "High-Tech Redneck" on the George Jones album of the same name, the town is mentioned: "He's a high-tech redneck, Mayberry meets Startrek."

In the fifth episode of the seventh season of Desperate Housewives, Doug refers to Wisteria Lane as ‘Mayberry’ due to the apparent idyllic suburbs where the show is set.

References

  1. ^ CNN.com - Transcripts - CNN LARRY KING LIVE - A Mayberry Reunion With Andy Griffith and Don Knotts - Aired November 27, 2003 - 21:00 ET
  2. ^ "The Haunted House". The Andy Griffith Show. Season 4. Episode 2. October 7, 1963. CBS.
  3. ^ "Barney's Replacement". The Andy Griffith Show. Season 2. Episode 2. October 9, 1961. CBS.
  4. ^ a b "Ellie Comes to Town". The Andy Griffith Show. Season 1. Episode 4. October 24, 1960. CBS.
  5. ^ "The Country Boys". Burrito Brother. May 18, 2020.
  6. ^ "The Original Dillards". Burrito Brother. May 18, 2020.
  7. ^ Jonathan Hole at IMDb
  8. ^ "The Mayberry Band" at IMDb