Video Vault: Happy Birthday Andy Griffith

Vintage WEWS: The Morning Exchange

CLEVELAND - Happy 85th Birthday Andy Griffith!

Andy Griffith was born in Mount Airy, North Carolina, on June 1, 1926.

Clevelanders who traveled south before Interstate 77 was finished may have gone through the small town of Mount Airy on US 52.

Ours was one of those families that did exactly that and stayed in Mount Airy on our way to Florida in 1974. The motel where we spent the night had a picture of Griffith in the lobby. They were hometown proud of their American legend, and why not?

Griffith drew on his small-town North Carolina upbringing, both in his early performing routines and his wildly popular Andy Griffith Show.

It’s his folksy charm that has endeared him to millions of television viewers, whether you know him from The Andy Griffith Show or Matlock.

Folksy charm also describes Fred Griffith. Fred grew up in West Virginia and hosted our Morning Exchange on WEWS for decades.

Mix Fred Griffith and Andy Griffith and you have the wonderful combination in our video player.

It is a very relaxed interview that runs 13:34. I watched it twice before readying it for our website and wish there were more of it to show.

The exact date of this interview is unknown, as it was part of Morning Exchange compilation tape, but Andy Griffith mentions his son is 14. An Internet search showed his son was born in 1957 and the Morning Exchange went on the air in 1972. Fred Griffith began hosting in July 1972. If Andy's son had a late-in-the-year birthday, then late 1972 would be the time frame for this interview.

Andy Griffith talks about his comedy routine What It Was, Was Football. He praises the writing the Andy Griffith Show and Fred gets Andy to talk about the brilliant writing on one of the episodes, Barney’s First Car.

Fred Griffith reveals he went to college with Don Knotts at West Virginia University and saw Don Knotts perform in The Man Who Came To Dinner.

There is a break in the tape and the interview picks up with Andy Griffith talking about great chemistry and I can only assume he’s referring to Don Knotts. Andy then goes on to run down what some of the cast members were up to and finishes with Aunt Bea.

The interview moves to Andy Griffith’s movie career and his outlook on life but the tape abruptly ends before the interview is over.

Enjoy a look at Andy Griffith on his birthday and the very easy pace of a television interview that is allowed to breathe.

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