Definitions

Mayberry

Mayberry

Mayberry is the name of a fictional town in North Carolina which was the setting for two American television sitcoms, The Andy Griffith Show and Mayberry R.F.D. Mayberry was also the setting for a 1986 reunion television movie titled Return to Mayberry. It is also the nickname of Mount Airy, North Carolina where Andy Griffith is originally from.

Introduction

Mayberry, population 1,800, was a small, conservative rural community which is remembered as much for its slow-paced life as it was for the unique characters that inhabited it.

The name Mayberry

The television show's community of Mayberry was apparently named for fictional founder Lord Mayberry. Historically, the word Mayberry is of ancient Anglo-Saxon origin and is a locational name, a dialectical variant of the placename Maesbury in Shropshire. Purportedly, Griffith himself chose the name of the fictional community.

Specific features

Mayberry had one traffic stop and little in the way of indigenous crime save moonshining and bootlegging. Out of town bank robbers, scam artists, escaped convicts, and vagrants occasionally found their way to Mayberry. Since sheriff is a county office/appointment rather than a civic position, and since the badge on the squad car is simply labeled "Sheriff - Mayberry", presumably the county and the town share the same name. 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.

Mayberryites

Archetypal small town

Real-life models

Many towns in North Carolina have been proposed as "the original Mayberry," but many assume Mayberry was loosely based on Andy Griffith's hometown of Mount Airy, North Carolina. Griffith has also indicated that nearby Pilot Mountain, N.C., also in Surry County, North Carolina, inspired him in creating the town. However, it is more likely that Pilot Mountain 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. In one of the episodes they also mention Galax, VA which is a town just up the mountain from Mt. Airy, NC. One episode has a fictional nearby location-"Pierce County".

Becomes a generic term

Due to the success and notoriety 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). For example, in an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Mister Trick says that the high death count in Sunnydale "makes D.C. look...like Mayberry."

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 movie Return to Mayberry. Although the county seat of an agricultural county, black people were rarely seen in the original series, but occasionally seen on RFD.

Eponymous real life community

Mayberry is also the name of a real community that was located in Laurens County, Georgia, around the time of the Great Depression and World War II. It was situated between Rentz and Dexter, Georgia on what is now Mark Wood Road, and had its own railroad stop. The tracks are now gone, and trains no longer pass through the area. The population of the area has increased greatly, but it remains a rural location, at least three miles from the smallest nearby town.

Town landmarks

Public Buildings

  • The Mayberry Courthouse — Where Sheriff Andy Taylor and Deputy Barney Fife maintained law and order. It also contained the county jail—all two cells. Aside from Andy Taylor's home, this was the main setting for The Andy Griffith Show.

Adjacent to Court House

  • Taylor House - A humble yet handsome two-storey frame house, only a short walk from the courthouse. Notable features include a front porch with a swing - perfect for conversation and guitar playing, a back porch with an extra refrigerator, and a living room with a high ceiling and rough hewn (rusticated ashlar) stone fireplace.

Public Entertainment Venues

  • The Grand Theatre — The movie theater where Andy and Barney often took their girlfriends (Helen Crump and Thelma Lou, respectively) on dates.

Commercial Buildings

  • Walker's Drug Store — This was the town drug store and soda shop owned by Fred Walker. His niece Ellie, also a pharmacist worked there for a while and was Andy's first girlfriend (played by Elinor Donahue) on the show. In the early episodes, characters often talked about "going to Walker's Drug Store for an ice cream soda."
  • Floyd's Barber Shop — Run by the scatterbrained Floyd Lawson, it was the main center of action in Mayberry. On any given day, it was not unusual to see many of the town's important figures, including the Mayor and the Sheriff, gathered here.
  • Foley's Grocery - Run by Mr. Foley. where Aunt Bee and her friends shop.
  • Emmett's Fix-it Shop — Handyman Emmett Clark's business replaced Floyd's when Howard McNear left the show.
  • Weaver's Department Store — Run by the miserly Ben Weaver.
  • Wally's Filling Station — The town's only known gas station, it employed cousins Goober and Gomer Pyle. It also served as the town's auto repair garage.

Places to eat

  • Bluebird Diner — This was the restaurant where Barney was often seen calling to talk to his secret love, the enigmatic waitress "Juanita".
  • Snappy Lunch — A Mayberry diner named after a real eatery which still serves lunches in Mount Airy, North Carolina.

To eat and stay

  • Mayberry Hotel — Where out-of-towners often stayed, the Mayberry Hotel was also where choir director John Masters was employed.

Physical landmarks

  • Myer's Lake — As seen in the opening credits of The Andy Griffith Show, it was the place Andy and Opie Taylor went fishing, and where Barney often drove with Thelma Lou for their "romantic getaways".

References

  • Behind the Scenes of the Real Mayberry A behind the scenes look at The Andy Griffith Show and the real Mayberry, includes filming locations, the stars made on the show, and Mayberry trivia.

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