Dose of Truth
What do Elinor Donahue, who achieved national fame as Betty Anderson in the 1950s sitcom, Father Knows Best, and 66-year-old actor and director Ron Howard have in common? Both were regulars on the beloved Andy Griffith Show.
Donahue played Griffith’s girlfriend in the show’s first season, and Ron Howard played his son for the show’s entire eight-year run. They are also the only surviving regular cast members of the show since actress Betty Lynn, who played Thelma Lou for five seasons, died recently on Oct. 16, 2021.
The Andy Griffith Show is my favorite comedy of all time. It ran from Oct. 3, 1960, to April 1, 1968, for a total of 249 episodes. During its eight years on the air it never was ranked lower than number seven in the Nielson ratings. It is one of only three television shows to end their runs as the most popular show in America. The other two were I Love Lucy in 1957, and Seinfeld in 1998.
According to Wikipedia, in 1998, Andy Griffith reruns were watched on 120 stations by more than five million people each day. In other words, the Andy Griffith show was enjoyed weekly by more than 35 million Americans. Interestingly it was watched by half that number each week when it went off the air in 1968. In 2009, TV Guide ranked the show as the ninth best series in American television history.
As a 61-year-old, it is easy for me to look back at this much-loved classic show and wish we could go back to the “good old days” or to reminisce, “they just don’t make them like they used to.” It is hard for me to imagine any of today’s shows having twice the viewers 30 years from now. I know we cannot go back to the way things were 60 years ago, and I must also remember the 1960s were a very turbulent time.
In scripture King Solomon described life this way, “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-4, NLT)
Despite how much we may want to go back to the kinder, simpler times portrayed in the Andy Griffith Show, it is not possible. Solomon was right, there is a time when it is completely appropriate to tear down, to cry and grieve. However, God more frequently wants his people to bring healing, laughter and dancing to our world. We must never allow our focus on the past to prevent us from making a positive difference in the present.
has been a pastor for 37 years, serving five churches, including his current church, The Refuge in St. Louis, which he founded. He and the congregation minister to those who are hurting and do their part to expand God’s kingdom. Tim and his wife Kelly have five children. “A Dose of Truth” which he has written for more than 25 years appears in 13 newspapers. His book, “Thriving in the Storm: Discovering God’s Peace and Perspective in Turbulent Times,” is available from Amazon. Feel free to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Photography is another of his skills. Pastor Tim’s photos may be viewed at https://flickr.com/photos/pentaxpastor.