"The Andy Griffith Show" was the No. 1 series during the 1967-68 season. At the peak of its popularity, Griffith decided it was time to turn in his badge. He had played wholesome Sheriff Andy Taylor for eight seasons on the gentle CBS comedy series and wanted to return to the feature film world.
But CBS didn't want to call it quits on Mayberry, N.C. In the fall of 1968, the network premiered the sequel, "Mayberry R.F.D.," which now airs weekdays on TNT.
On the first episode, Andy and Helen (Aneta Coresau) got married and moved away with son Opie (Ron Howard) in tow. Whereas many sequels falter--remember "AfterMASH"?--"Mayberry R.F.D." was an instant hit. The series still exuded the homespun charm of the original and "Mayberry" retained several characters from "Andy Griffith," including Aunt Bee (Frances Bavier), Goober (George Lindsey), Howard Sprague (Jack Dodson) and Emmet Clark (Paul Hartman).
The star of "Mayberry" was Ken Berry, fresh from his two-year stint as the befuddled Capt. Parmenter on ABC's "F Troop." Berry played Sam Jones, a genial widower with a young son, Mike (Buddy Foster, Jodie's brother), who had recently moved to a farm just outside Mayberry. Sam soon found himself elected to the Mayberry Town Council. Though he had no experience, Sam did his best to perform his duties and tend to the Mayberryites.