Ron Howard’s Opening Scene In ‘Andy Griffith’ Took Some ‘Old School Cinematic Magic’


A new revelation has come to light about the opening credits of The Andy Griffith Show in which actor Ron Howard, who starred as Opie Taylor, was seen following his father, Sheriff Taylor, with no shoes to a fishing site, and the young Opie throws a stone over the river while the trademark whistling tune plays in the background.

Although the scene appeared flawless,  Bruce Bilson, an assistant director of the show, revealed that the production team had to do some editing on the shot because Howard, being a child actor at the time, was unable to handle things perfectly.


Bruce Bilson explains why they had to work on the scene

THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW, from left: Ron Howard, Don Knotts (blowing up balloon), Andy Griffith, 1960-1968.

In a guest lecture that he gave at the New York Film Academy in 2016, Bilson disclosed that the scene was shot six times, and the future American Graffiti star could not nail the bit, thus he had to resort to a little creativity so that things could continue.


RELATED: Andy Griffith Had To Prove Himself As An Actor All Over Again Following ‘The Andy Griffith Show’

He explained that for the scene to be shot, a prop man had to sit behind a boulder and throw a rock, while the currently 69-year-old only made the throw gesture. Bilson explained that viewers who pay close attention to the scene will be able to notice that the timing of the throw was a bit off.

THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW, Andy Griffith, Ron Howard, 1960-68. photo: Richard Hewett/TV Guide/courtesy Everett Collection

Howard also stated in a 2019 interview with The New York Times that that bit was not the only thing in which he got help. He admitted that some of the show’s fishing scenes were also faked, because fishing activity never took place. “The prop man had to wade in and put a catfish on the line,” Howard said. “That was Franklin Canyon, and we were only allowed to put two fish a day in, because it was actually the drinking water for Hollywood.”

Ron Howard reveals that he now knows how to skip rocks perfectly

Even though the Academy-award winning director could not land the rock-skipping skill perfectly on the 1960 set of The Andy Griffith Show, he has now figured it out.

In 2019, he took to Instagram to share a video honoring the illustrious opening credits. The clip showed Howard showcasing his rock skipping skills at a calm Creek, which he referred to as a “swimmin’ hole,” and his rock hits the water thrice before it crashes into the land. “This is me, skipping stones,” he said to the camera.

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